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Clark, BHS set for historic event

Brookhaven High School will celebrate its first 80-year reunionOct. 7 when Jonnie Magee Clark makes her appearance.

Clark, 98, is the only surviving member of the school’s33-member class of 1925 and the first to be able to attend an80-year reunion, said Susan Chapman, principal of the school.

Clark, who was also the first lady to serve on the district’sboard of trustees, said she has never missed a homecoming anddidn’t understand what all the fuss was about.

“There’s a lot of things I don’t remember to forget,” she said.Then, after a slight pause and a grin, “That’s a rather nice turnof a phrase don’t you think?”

The 1925 class was the first to graduate from the “Little RedSchoolhouse,” Clark said. During her life, she has seen the schoolreplaced by the modern Brookhaven High School, which sits on thesame ground.

There were 33 students, 25 girls and eight boys, in the class of1925.

“The boys all had to quit school and go to work. You didn’t haveenough boys to go around,” she fondly remembered.

Regardless, the class all got along well and were often seentogether as a group, she said.

They had reason to celebrate. In 1925, the BHS football teambecame the state champions and the baseball team earned honors asthe southwest Mississippi champions. The school’s colors in 1925were purple and gold.

Several years ago, photos of those teams were among many itemsfrom Clark’s years donated to the school by her family. Alsoincluded were her class schedules, a geometry test, a physics test,a plethora of pictures of classmates and staff, programs of events,newspaper articles of sporting events and musical programs, and theonly four absence excuses Clark received in her three years at theschool. Three of the excuses were for illness and one was issued inJanuary for weather because Clark would walk from her home nearwhere Faith Presbyterian Church is now to the school.

“She kept everything,” Chapman said. “It’s quite remarkable tohave this much information on 1925. This is a wealth of theinformation that Brookhaven High School really appreciates.”

Many of the items will be on display in the school’s trophy caseat the entrance beginning early this week. They will remain ondisplay for at least a few weeks, Chapman said.

Although the items were donated a few years ago, “we just hadnot had the opportunity to display them because a reunion had notrolled around since it was donated,” she said.

Other activities are planned to celebrate the school’s first80-year “reunion” but Chapman said they were being planned by thestudents and she didn’t want to spoil the surprise.

“We’ve done a lot of research on the class of 1925 and I’m surethe Student Council officers have something special in mind,” shesaid.

As for Clark, she’s said she’s glad she’ll be able to attendanother homecoming.

“It’s been a grand old life – the only one I got,” she said witha chuckle.