Historical Southside High School celebrates 50th reunion

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, August 9, 2023

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Greenville Training School (GTS)/Southside High School (SH), the historical Greenville school educating African American students before desegregation, held its biennial and 50th reunion celebration Aug. 4-5. The two day event was hosted for graduating classes from 1950 to 1970 to share memories and rekindle friendships. 

Carrie Carter-Perdue, chairperson of the 2023 GTS/SH school reunion and a 1960 graduate, said the weekend was wonderful. 

“It was really exciting,” Carter-Perdue said. “We just enjoyed ourselves. It was really beautiful to share in the memories we still had. I always say that if I had to go back in time, I would choose my high school years to go back to, and I would want the same people to be there.”

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The festivities began Friday for the 25 attendees, starting with an evening fish fry at Beeland Park Community Center. Saturday morning the group hosted a graduation ceremony reenactment honoring the classes of 1969 and 1970 at the Butler County Board of Education room. 

That same evening alumni rejoined for their reunion banquet at Beeland Park Community Center. 

Lamuriel Peagler Adams, a GTS graduate of 1965, said the occasion was truly a joy, a chance to reunite with old friends and teachers. 

“The reunion gave many of us the chance to return home to Greenville where it all began and to visit the GTS campus,” Adams said. “Tears started rolling down our cheeks as we recalled the experiences at the school. The weekend was incredible and we were able to reconnect and share achievements, retirements, the transitioning of friends and families while spending valuable time together. The GTS classmates are considered family and have become a part of our life story.”

Carter-Perdue explained that GTS teams were known as the Rams, with colors blue and gold. The Rams had well established athletic programs in baseball, softball, and basketball with a football team that won many championships. 

The school had anywhere between 400 and 500 students, Cater-Perdue said, and added she is very grateful and proud of the teachers she had while at GTS. As a student, she was very inspired by them to go do anything she desired to do.

“The teachers were excellent,” Carter-Perdue said. “They knew their subject matters well and they made sure that we were taught well. They had high expectations for us. A lot of us went on to college to further our education, or to trade schools. We have medical doctors, engineers and a good number of educators from GTS. Now we’re all over the world, trying to make the world a better place for us all. We’re very proud of the students who graduated from Greenville training and Southside High School.”

Carter-Perdue said the reunion committee plans to give a scholarship to a Greenville High School senior next year, and will select an applicant whose family member attended GTS, so they can continue their post high school education. 

The next GTS/SH reunion will be held in 2025. Adams said she is excited to continue to create memories filled with laughter, good food, dancing, and celebrating the GTS classes.

“As Casare Pavese stated,” Adams said. “We do not remember days; we remember moments.”