A reunion for the ages

Published 9:17 am Wednesday, August 11, 2010

FRANKLIN—Herman Charity came to Franklin High School in 1970 — the start of mixing white and black students in the school system.

A U.S. History and sociology teacher, Charity claims it was Franklin’s students from the ‘70s and ‘80s who made integration work.

“They did what they were supposed to do, and that was the peak of academic excellence,” said the 68-year-old, who retired from Franklin in 2003 after a 37-year career that included serving as assistant principal and guidance counselor.

Saturday, Charity will meet up with many of those same students during the first-ever Franklin High School/Hayden Mega Reunion. Nearly 440 alumni from the classes of 1970 through 1980 and their guests plan to attend a Saturday, Aug. 14, dinner at Paul D. Camp Community College’s Regional Workforce Development Center.

Among guests will be at least four teachers, including Charity.

“I was really humbled that they had thought about me, and it was wonderful to be thought of,” he said. “You don’t make a lot of money in education. My reward was the people.”

Holland Ricks of Hampton, who graduated from Franklin High School in 1971, came up with the idea for the reunion.

“I was thinking about trying to do a reunion for the class of 1971, but then I thought let’s do a mega reunion,” Ricks said.

Things snowballed into a two-day event that begins with a car show from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Friday in the parking lot across from Fred’s restaurant in downtown Franklin. Registration begins at 2 p.m.

A meet-and-greet will be held at Fred’s from 7:30 p.m. to midnight Friday followed by midnight bowling at Franklin Bowling Alley.

Saturday opens at 8 a.m. with the Classic Challenge Golf Tournament at Cypress Cove Country Club. The tournament is full, but those who wish to play a round of golf can tee off at 1 p.m.

The country club will be open to reunion attendees and their families from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The pool will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with lifeguards on duty.

There will be a buffet lunch from noon to 3 p.m. at $13.95 per person.

A wine and cheese social will be held 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the country club. That event is also booked.

The dinner will be held from 7 p.m. to midnight.

The reunion committee invited as many teachers as possible to the dinner.

“They had a direct impact on our lives,” said committee member Kathy Worrell, a 1975 graduate of Franklin High School. “We tried to find the ones that were still here. We’ve been out of school for a long time.”