Memories of bygone high school days

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 4, 2003

Over the years, many souls trekked through the halls of Greenville High School (or Butler County High School or Butler Training School) and went on to be productive citizens.

Four of perhaps the oldest graduates of our local alma mater are Fred Riley (Class of 1922), Lane Harrison (Class of 1922), Annie Laura Thompson (Class of 1928) and Mary Bracken (Class of 1928). These nonagenarians grew up together, attended school together, and now reside at The Pine Needle Place together, and frequently reminisce about their high school days.

Riley, soon to be 99, remembers the day his teacher was out sick, and the school called upon Eugene Johnson and him to teach this class.

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&uot;They didn’t have money for substitutes back then, so when a teacher was out, we had to fill in,&uot; Riley said. &uot;I guess they thought we were the smartest in the class, but I’m not too sure about that.&uot;

Harrison, 99, said his fondest memory was the fact that his class had more twins in it than any class ever before.

&uot;We had three sets of girl twins and three sets of boy twins,&uot; he said. &uot;It kind of made me feel lonely because I had to go through school without one.&uot;

Mary Bracken and Anna Laura Thompson, both 91 and members of the Class of 1928, were best friends throughout their school days. The pair were born across the street from each other, and by pure chance, wound up with conjoining cemetery plots.

&uot;It has been wonderful being friends all these years,&uot; Bracken said. &uot;We also are the only living members of our class. We can have a class reunion anytime we want.&uot;

Thompson said she remembers her class being the largest to ever graduate due to a special circumstance that occurred when they built the high school that was located at the Greenville Elementary location for many years.

&uot;When they built the new school, they wanted to start it with the seventh grade, so they graduated from the fifth grade to the seventh, completely skipping the sixth,&uot; she said.