Fairhope High School will celebrate an important milestone this year, marking 100 years since the first graduating class in 1923-24. To commemorate the anniversary, the school has put together a …
Fairhope High School will celebrate an important milestone this year, marking 100 years since the first graduating class in 1923-24.
To commemorate the anniversary, the school has put together a committee of alumni and staff to plan several special events.
While most of the centennial celebrations will take place over the weekend of Nov. 3-4, the committee kicked off the festivities with a homecoming parade on Sept. 21. Lynn Tate, committee member, said the event has been in the works for over two years.
"I graduated in 1968 and worked on this with Mary Nelson who had been teaching at Fairhope since the '60s I believe," Nelson said. "She has really been the brainchild of this. Two years ago she started talking and going to the reunions of Fairhope alumni. She's big into history and wanted to maintain the history of Fairhope, so she started to get a committee together."
Tate said the committee worked with Fairhope High School Principal John Cardwell to organize the parade and invited students from the elementary and middle schools to help decorate the floats.
"Each float was decorated as a different decade starting from the '20s," Tate said. "They haven't had a homecoming parade in a while, so we were also hoping the younger kids would catch the spirit. Even the high schoolers seemed very engaged at the parade."
Tate said the students went all out to dress up and decorate the floats, ranging from 1920s flappers, to '50s rock and roll and the hippie movement of the 1960s and '70s.
"We were even able to track down three descendants of the 1923-24 graduates, and they rode in the parade," Tate said.
Tate said that in addition to the parade, the committee has four more events planned for November. These events include the Nov. 3 football game, alumni baseball game, dedication of pavers [purchased through city] and a celebration party on Nov. 4 to round out the weekend.
Tate said she expects the football game to be special, as the committee will introduce former homecoming queens during play breaks throughout the game.
"It's the last Fairhope game, and it's also senior night," Tate said. "Mary contacted just about every homecoming still living [approximately 30], and we will be introducing them by decade. We are also going to put their picture and date on the jumbotron."
In addition to the football game, Tate said the committee has worked hard to make the rest of the weekend memorable for attendees.
"We will have a tailgate party and bouncy houses at the baseball game, and we'll be dedicating pavers in front of the old high school [current K-1 center]," Tate said. "We'll end with a celebration on Saturday night, separating people by class into mini reunions, with a DJ and finger food.
"This will be a special weekend. It's 100 years, and I've grown up with a lot of these people through the '50s, '60s and '70s. It's a great way to unite and get everyone together."