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Historic Southside class celebrates 50 years

A lot can change in 50 years.  Just ask the Southside High School Class of 1967, which celebrated its semi-centennial reunion Saturday at Cambrian Ridge.

Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. had yet to be assassinated, and Neil Armstrong hadn’t quite yet taken one giant leap for mankind.

But, as is often the case, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Rich Lewis, president of the Southside High School Class of 1967, said that Saturday night was one filled with memories of lives lived a half-century ago.  It was a historic night for an already historic class.

“The Southside High School Class of 1967 is historically the first class to graduate from Southside High School,” Lewis said. “Prior to that, it was Greenville Training School.  They changed the name after the ’66 class, and so when we entered the 12th grade we entered as Southside High.”

Southside’s Class of 1967 saw 105 students graduate, and 23 of them are now deceased. But a large majority of the remaining class made their way from various points of origin around the country to gather at Cambrian Ridge to remember the times they shared, as well as those who were unable to return.

“That was the most gratifying part of the whole thing—seeing people that we knew as teenagers and then, two and a half generations later, seeing them again,” Lewis said.  “That was the highlight of the whole weekend.”

As for the turnout, it was about what he expected.  After all, he remembered his class quite fondly for its ability to come together.

“It really was about what I had expected because we had received such great interest,” Lewis added. “Our class was always very cohesive.  I just knew that most of the people would want to see their classmates again after all this time.”

It was a weekend that was nearly a year in the making for Lewis and the other members of the committee responsible for organizing the reunion.

It’s not a feat that happens in just a month or two, Lewis said.  The committee began monthly meetings in September 2016.

The group met once each month, and twice in June and July, to fully prepare.

The biggest challenge of all was simply contacting everyone.  Address changes and name changes complicated matters, and the Southside High Class of 1967 is perhaps a bit less embracing of social media than today’s graduates.

But by all accounts a good time was had by all in attendance; such a good time, in fact, that the Southside Class of 1967 would prefer not to wait another 20 years for their next reunion.

“Most of the people who were here the other night said they wanted to come back for the 55th in 2022,” Lewis said. “I said that, if we’re able and here, then we’ll see what we can do.”