More than 700 show up to open Carr Central reunion

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 4, 2004

Peggy Allen, left, her husband, Gene Allen, center, who was the Carr Central High School football coach from 1955 to 1959, and Bill Field, class of 1954, greet each other at the Carr Central reunion at the Vicksburg Auditorium Friday night.(Jon Giffin The Vicksburg Post)

[10/02/04]Ethel Lagrone Pickens used to hear her children sing “Pass It On.” The song’s words rang true Friday night as she saw all of her hard work pay off as the main planner for the first Carr Central High School All Alumni reunion.

“It only takes a spark to get a fire going. That’s the way it is with God’s love. You’ve got to pass it on that’s what we have here,” she said, “God’s love is passing through us.”

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More than 700 people had registered in advance for the weekend event Pickens and class representatives from classes 1933 through 1959 have been planning for the past six months.

“When I read in the paper that 700 people were coming to this, I thought I better get here early,” said Mary Virginia Hunt Temple, a 1938 graduate.

As the class members streamed into the Vicksburg Auditorium Friday night, about 75 unexpected classmates registered at the door. Many had not seen each other since their high school graduations.

“I just saw Earl B. Parker this is only the second time I’ve seen him since graduation,” said Willie Hughes, a 1955 graduate.

As former students of Carr Central strolled into the Vicksburg Auditorium, Bill Field, a 1954 graduate, stood on the stairs overlooking the hundreds of people, seeing who he could spot.

“I haven’t seen some of these people in 50 years,” he said.

For many, the event was not only a class reunion, but a family reunion. Field spotted his great aunt sitting at the table designated for the classes of 1933 through 1941. He said his wife’s cousin was also a graduate of Carr Central.

It was the Waring family who sported the most classmates throughout the school’s history. Seven of the eight Waring children came from Louisiana, Florida, Jackson and Vicksburg to celebrate their alma mater together. Bobby Waring, who died last Thanksgiving, was the only one missing the event.

The Warings, who include D.P. Waring of the class of 1938, Albert Waring of the class of 1940, Silver of the class of 1942, Betty Waring Aden of the class of 1944, Mary Frances Waring Denton of the class of 1946, Jimmy Waring of the class of 1947 and Nancy Waring Redmond of the class of 1957, get together two or three times a year, but found it important to add the Carr Central reunion to the slate.

As the old Carr Central building on Cherry Street shone on a screen on stage, many talked about coming home, and some even came clad in green and white Carr Central’s school colors.

Ruth Bell Green of the class of 1953 and head cheerleader for the “Greenies” for four years sewed her old cheerleading letters onto a green shirt to show her undying school spirit.

“I had lost my letters from years of moving, but my friend from Florida had two of them,” she said, “Now we both have one on.”

Mayor Laurence Leyens, who changed his plans to attend the event, said he thought it was important to welcome the classmates back home.

“I come from another generation,” he said, “I am trying to restore the city back to how it was in the 50s, which was their heyday. My vision is their memory. I am happy to have something to show them.”