Central Heights/Eastern Wayne alumni enjoy parade, picnic, tradition, fellowship
By Matt Caulder
Published in News on May 25, 2014 1:50 AM
Qumahrie Futrelle, 4, Raymeir Bryant, 7, and Qushawn Futrelle, 3, watch the Eastern Wayne High School flag team during the Central/Eastern Wayne Alumni and Friends reunion parade Saturday. Raymeir takes photos using a cell phone.
Marichal Matthews, Eastern Wayne High School class of 1980, grills hot dogs and ribs at Eastern Wayne Middle School during the Central/Eastern Wayne Alumni and Friends reunion Saturday afternoon.
For those attending the Central/Eastern Wayne Alumni and Friends celebrations Saturday, the excitement was not just in the annual parade. It was what came after.
After the parade, which kicked off at noon, was the annual homecoming picnic held each year at Eastern Wayne Middle School on Central Heights Road.
There was food, friends and fun to be had with plenty of barbecue, hot dogs and other treats to enjoy.
The earliest graduate in attendance Saturday was Eva Corr, a 1948 graduate of Central High School.
"You meet friends here," she said. "I can't say classmates because none of them are here today. There are only five of us left around."
Ms. Corr will turn 83 Monday but still makes it a point to come back each year for the weekend. And she has been at every single one of the reunions for the 42 years the organization has been active.
"I am trying to inspire the younger classes to continue on with the celebrations," she said. "You hate to start something and keep it going only to have it fall by the wayside. It would be a real shame."
When Ms. Corr attended Central High School, it was still a wooden schoolhouse with outhouses for bathrooms.
"When I came, it was the plank school," she said. "The bathrooms were down in the woods and we played basketball on an outside court."
She remembers practicing in the W.A. Foster Recreation Center when the weather would get too cold or if it was raining.
"I think it was good for the children when Eastern Wayne opened," she said. "The schools, when we had integration, they were better for the kids."
Central High School was repurposed in 1970 as a middle school when the high schools integrated and Eastern Wayne High School was created.
The joint alumni group began two years after the first classes graduated from Eastern Wayne High.
Returning again this year to meet up with old friends and to reconnect with classmates was Joe Kornegay, a 1956 graduate of Central High School.
Sitting under a tent with a few of his friends is just the way he likes it.
"I like seeing old friends, and it has definitely grown out here," he said.
Zebedee Spruill, a classmate of Kornegay's, was caught up thinking about how the building had changed over the years since they had been in school.
"Everything is new but the gym," he said.
Kornegay said the gym was new, too, because when they started it was still an outdoor basketball court.
Spruill drives down from Maryland for the celebration each year.
Warren Barnes thought friends and new buildings were nice, but he had a different way to pass the time.
"I live about four miles down the road but I like to come out here and look at all the pretty young girls," he said.
Barnes graduated from Central High School in 1965.
One of those girls, April Delcour, Class of 2001, served as this year's Miss Purple and Gold for the Omega Psi Phi fraternity.
"I like being able to be with friends and have a good time with the classes," she said. "Great food and community."
Ms. Delcour's mother, Rhonda, declined to give her graduation year but said, "It's in the '70s."
"I like the fellowship, friends, fun and family that comes with this," she said.
Paul Thompson, Class of 1977, said he has been cooking for the picnic for a long time and that he has the process down to a science.
"I have been doing this for years, and we make good food," he said.
Sandra Cox was in the first class to graduate from Eastern Wayne having been at school during the switch.
"I keep coming back for the food and the fellowship," she said. "We are just having fun."