To the THS Class of 1973 ...
Forty years ago, students in the Thomasville High School Class of 1973 walked out the doors and into a new life. For this class, time and distance never took its toll on friendships.
A two-day extravaganza, held Sept. 13-14, reignited friendships as well as a desire to help those in need.
The celebration centered on the 40-year reunion, but most of them have known one another for more than 50 years — from Church Street School, Colonial Drive, Turner Street School, Kern Street School and Main Street Junior High and Thomasville Senior High School.
Robert M. Gillmore led the class’s most recent unified effort — to provide Thanksgiving meals.
Working with social worker Tasha Wall of the Davidson County Social Services, classmates raised money to purchase the Thanksgiving gift cards and to provide a night’s stay for a homeless family.
“It was an effort to give back to those in need,” he said.
After 40 years, this effort would have been difficult for most classes, but not for the Class of 1973.
“The Class of 73 maintains a unique relationship that never once has been so connected in the history of Thomasville’s City Schools,” the class wrote in a legacy statement. “Deeply rooted, the seed of love is planted in their hearts and transcends them throughout the community.
“Although students of this era went their separate ways, they continue to maintain a connection with each other. The Class of 73 is so unique because they have an agape love embedded in their hearts which stems from coming through the Civil Rights Movement and school integration which will be with them forever.
“The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King stated. ‘We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.’
The Class of 1973 is a recognizable institution in the community, Gillmore believes.
“Rarely will you find in a class, if you can find a class, so well connected and bonded that if you mention the Class of 73 in Thomasville, people identify them by saying, ‘That’s the Class of 73.’
Social movements of the time may have fueled their steadfast connection, but a little fun — then and now — strengthened the bond.
During the reunion events, classmates danced to the music of 1970s, shared stories, cut a cake with a machete and even laughed with one another while photos of school days rotated on a DVD.
During a formal dinner at Colonial Country Club, Donnie Holt acknowledged the passing of fellow classmates with a moment of silence.
Two classmates earned distinction.
Melietta Craddock Gordon was awarded a plaque for her outstanding leadership, dedication and commitment to maintain contact with fellow classmates and coordinate class reunions.
Steve B. Price earned an award for his community efforts on behalf of the class — the donation of back-to-school bags, fundraisers for scholarship funds, maintaining a booth at Everybody’s Day, coordinating a Mother’s Day event and raising money to provide financial assistance for fellow classmates in short term crisis.
Gillmore added thanks to all who endeavored to bring the Class of 73 together for its 40-year reunion: Bobbie Jones, Teresa K. Gilmore, Shentile Wilson, Savada J. Gilmore, Roneisha M. Gilmore, Rarikanichie S. Brooks, Clifton Davis Jr, Sharon Dula-Davis and Willie Cannon.
A toast by Janice Johnson-Hunter embodies the commitment:“To the Class of 73 whose love, dedication and commitment will never die.”