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Alexander High School alumni back for reunion

It’s more than 1,600 miles from Los Angeles to Brookhaven – along, tiring, expensive trip that requires a good reason forgoing.

For Brookhaven native but California girl Jessie Williams, thisyear’s Alexander High School reunion was reason enough.

“Whenever they say come here, I’m on the plane every time,” saidWilliams, a member of Alexander’s Class of 1968. “I love my class,love my city.”

Williams is one of an expected 300 people who will come topresent-day Alexander Junior High School this weekend for the 11thAlexander Homecoming Reunion. The celebration begins Friday nightand will take the entire weekend, running until midnight twice andnot stopping until late Sunday afternoon.

“Back in the day, we were taught pride, and we look out for oneanother,” said Wilma Showers, member of the Class of ’68 and thisyear’s reunion chairman. “We haven’t forgot that, and we cometogether and remember it.”

Registration for the festivities begins at 3 p.m. Friday atAJHS. Showers said 242 classmates have registered so far, and atleast 60 more are expected.

The first mingling of the former students begins at 8 p.m.Friday at the Lincoln Civic Center. The event lasts untilmidnight.

Alexander veterans will return Saturday morning to kick off theday with a parade.

The classes will divide up into vehicles and floats and rollfrom the post office on Cherokee Street down to AJHS beginning at10 a.m. An assembly will follow the parade in the AJHS auditorium,and a three-hour afternoon picnic at the Lincoln Civic Center willfollow at 3 p.m. A dance in semi-formal attire begins back at AJHSat 8 p.m.

On Sunday, the final day of the reunion, classmates will returnto AJHS for a worship service at 10 a.m., followed by dinner at theLincoln Civic Center at 1 p.m.

For the Class of 1970, the largest and last class to graduatefrom AHS before the school was desegregated and became a juniorhigh school, this year’s reunion will mark their 40thanniversary.

“It’s a blessing to be here to see 40 years, to see all thefriends come home and get together to reminisce about the good oldtimes and the bad,” said Karen Henderson, reunion secretary andmember of the Class of 1970. “This is something special to us.”

While the core of the reunion is composed of classes thatgraduated prior to desegregation in 1970, Showers said anyone whoattended the school after that year is most welcomed to thereunion.

After all, eventually those classmates will be the only onesleft carrying the torch, she said.

“Someone has got to keep it going,” Showers said. “The onlyrequirement is that they went through Alexander. This ain’t aboutwhite or black – there isn’t a black heaven and a white heaven.Lower classmates are welcomed to participate in all the events.This is for Brookhaven.”