St. Stephen’s Class of 1972 reunites in Savannah, Georgia | Community News
Still connected after half a century, alumni of one of South Carolina’s first black public high schools will have the chance to “relive the good old days” later this fall.
The St. Stephen High School Class of 1972 will celebrate its 50th reunion Friday, September 30 through Sunday, October 2, 2022 at the Hilton Garden Inn Midtown in Savannah, GA.
Classmates will enjoy three days of camaraderie, music, great food, sightseeing and shopping.
A reunion banquet will be held and will include a keynote address by the Reverend Dr. Julius Barnes – Dean/Professor at Cummins Memorial Theological Seminary and former Chemistry teacher at St. Stephen’s High School. The banquet will also honor fallen classmates in a special memorial presentation. All St. Stephen Class of 1972 alumni – and their family and friends – are welcome to attend and can register by emailing [email protected]
“Our reunion will celebrate so many aspects of our lives,” says Reverend Dr. Elizabeth Butler (c/o ’72), class reunion organizer. “But above all, it’s a celebration of resilience. We survived the unbridled segregation, racism and economic injustices of Jim Crow. We graduated from high school and went on to lead productive lives.
St. Stephen High School began in 1924 as St. Stephen Colored School, a three-room frame building and the first African-American public school in St. Stephen, South Carolina. It opened with grades 1-7, but burned down in 1935. A brick elementary and high school with grades 1-10 replaced it. Grades 11 and 12 were added in 1936-37 and 1948-49. A nine-room brick high school was built in 1944-45. The school closed in 1954 and its students transferred to the new Russellville High School, which was desegregated in 1971.
“In 1971, when we were juniors in high school, the schools in Berkeley County, SC were integrated,” recalls Hydrum professor Middleton Weaver (c/o ’72). “The racial uprisings continued, but our parents shielded us from a lot of what was happening around us. This same prejudice still exists today, but our children did not have to experience the discrimination that our parents, some of us and family members experienced.
Perhaps what St. Stephen graduates look forward to most is the chance to reconnect, share old memories, and cherish the moment. Time has only strengthened the bond between this class.
“The reason I’ve stayed connected to the class of ’72 for 50 years is because they are my roots,” says Levi Jerome Wilson (c/o ’72). “My classmates from elementary to high school made me who I am today. Growing up at home was just my grandmother and my sister. My classmates gave me a different perspective on life. They motivated me and made me realize that there was life after high school.”
Shirley Madison (c/’72) added, “Our classmates are all genuinely good people with great home-schooling and good values. We basically grew up having love in our hearts and respect for each other’s families. Those of us who have ventured far and had more experiences and exposure to other worlds have not lost the basic philosophy of how to deal with, engage and meet people there. where they are.
Here is a summary of the activities of the 50th Meeting (subject to change):
FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 30, 2022
15:00…………………Hotel check-in begins
7:00pm – 9:00pm ……….…Meet & Greet Mixer (Buffet & Cash Bar available)
SATURDAY 1ST OCTOBER 2022
8h00 – 10h00 ………..Free breakfast
10am – 4pm….….…..Savannah Tours
4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.……..……Preparation for the banquet
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.…………..Cocktail & Photo shoot
7:00 – 11:00 p.m.………….50th Class Reunion Banquet
SUNDAY OCTOBER 2, 2022
9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.…………Free breakfast
1pm – 2:30pm……….Brunch & Riverboat Tour (boarding starts at 12pm)
2:30 p.m. – Until..……..Alone to enjoy and explore Savannah
For more information, email [email protected]