The class that marched to the new Central

Front row, Lurlene Biggers Simmons, Doris Toatley Miller, Geraldine Jack Carroll, Florence Cook Hilton and Viola Smith Cummins; second row, Odessa Latson Olivier, Anita Keats Bradford, Betty Arnold Bailey, Catherine Ford Broddie, Ima Williams Kay, Geraldine Morris Smiley, Elizabeth Hightower Beasley; and third row, Andrew Pierce, Gene Olivier, Lee Arthur Gant, Hosea Bell Claiborne Waire, Elizabeth South Mitchell, Clara Gee Mack, Dorothy Holmes Goins and Clarence Sims.


My class, the 1954 class of Central High School, which is the first African-American high school in the state of Texas, celebrated its 60th class reunion May 29 at Clary’s Restaurant in Galveston.

It was truly a joyous occasion with 20 of our original 131 classmates in attendance. Some family members were also present at this celebration.

Ours was an extraordinary class for many reasons. Among these, we were the first graduating class to have attended classes in the new high school building, which had been completed in 1954.

Our senior class, along with the juniors, sophomores and freshmen, marched from Old Central to the new school building in January 1954, under the direction of Principal Leon Morgan and Assistant Principal Frank Windom.

It was a day that was highly organized in spit of our overwhelming feelings of excitement, pride, joy and enthusiasm.

The new building had so much to offer students, and we could hardly wait to experience having the use of a cafeteria, auditorium, home economic department, band hall and gymnasium with a swimming pool.

The vocational education classes offered were also a first for us, including a typing lab, auto mechanics shop, drafting, quantity cooking, metal and woodworking shops in state of the art facilities.

We are grateful for the education we received and the values we were taught at Central High School. They inspired us to continue to strive for excellence in all that we have done, are doing and will continue to do.

In preparing for our graduation in May 1954, we received word of the Supreme Court ruling on Brown v. The Board of Education, that would end segregation in public schools.

Finally, our Galveston Independent School District public school stadium was renamed after one of our deceased class members, Kermit Courville.

Courville was a renowned track and field coach for GISD and his accomplishments are known all over the state.

Our senior year, classmate Fred Harrell, now deceased, was elected student council president. I, Ima Kay, was elected secretary of the student council and after 60 years, I am still honored to serve my class.

Ima Kay lives in Texas City and is a proud graduate of the 1954 Class of Central High School.

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