07/09/12 — Southern Wayne alumni gather for weekend of activities

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Southern Wayne alumni gather for weekend of activities

By Kelly Corbett
Published in News on July 9, 2012 1:46 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Jacquetta Stringfield keeps in touch with her Southern Wayne High School classmates by attending the reunions each year.

Plus, she also communicates with them through social media outlets on her computer at home.

On Sunday, when the Southern Wayne High School alumni weekend was coming to a close with a family fun day in Westbrook Park, Mrs. Stringfield said she was still hoping to see some people she had not seen in a long time come out to the event.

But, even if her other classmates with the Class of 1989 chose not to brave the heat like Mrs. Stringfield and her family, she will most likely bump into them sometime soon at a store nearby.

"I run into them at the mall and at Walmart," she said. "And we Facebook."

So no matter where her classmates live now, whether it is down the road or across the country, she is able to reach them from the convenience of her own home, located only about five minutes from Westbrook Park.

In fact, the 40-year-old still lives in the same house where she lived when she was a student at Southern Wayne High School in the 1980s.

"Same address....same phone number," Mrs. Stringfield said.

The former flag squad member said that is one thing she really misses about high school is being a "flagger."

She said she has spoken with some of her former classmates about creating an alumni flag squad to recreate old times -- only with different uniforms.

Mrs. Stringfield, a nurse at the O'Berry Center in Goldsboro, has not had as much time to keep up with her former classmates lately, because she is back in school and taking classes to become a registered nurse.

She said she stays up late completing schoolwork for her 4-year-old daughter, Joslynn McNair, who will continue to serve as her inspiration until she graduates in May 2013 from Wayne Community College.

Each year since 2009, President Cent Jones and a committee of eight people work to make the alumni weekend bigger and better for alumni, such as Mrs. Stringfield, who attend.

"This year, we decided to branch out and do some more things," Ms. Jones said.

She said the group added several inflatables to the family fun day in the park this year to help focus the event more on the children.

And overall, she said the weekend was a success.

"We had a pretty good turnout at all of the events," Ms. Jones said. "I think we had a little more class participation this year."

The softball game, scheduled for the first time, was canceled because of the heat, but Ms. Jones said about 200 people showed up for both the men and women's basketball games on Friday and the annual alumni party Saturday night.

Robyn Pullen, a 1990 graduate, said she stayed at the party until about 2 a.m.

But she was also working.

Mrs. Pullen, sporting a camera around her neck, was using the reunion as both a freelance opportunity and also a time to catch up with old friends.

"My older brother graduated three years before me, so I've gotten to see a lot of those grads," she said.

Mrs. Pullen, who now lives in Pikeville, travels back and forth to Mount Olive to see her parents regularly.

"So much has grown since I have been here and left," she said. "It's kind of funny how much Mount Olive has changed since I've been here."

Mrs. Pullen remembered back to her first job at Roses down the street from the park while taking a break from the sun under the shade of a tree.

She began high school at SWHS in 10th grade, after finishing up ninth grade at the old Mount Olive Junior High School, now Mount Olive Middle School.

Mrs. Pullen's oldest son, Jordan Smith, recently graduated from her alma mater and is now stationed at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.

To keep up with Southern Wayne alumni updates, visit Facebook/SouthernWayne.