Scott County Historical
Scott County, Virginia
Mildred McConnell's Scrapbook Articles
450 Gather To Celebrate First All-Class
Nickelsville High Reunion
Leta Bond Fleenor (seated) was the oldest graduate from the class of 1922 to attend the Nickelsville High School reunion last September. Fleenor is pictured with reunion chairperson Joann Kilgore Penley, class of 1954.
No matter where we go, no matter what we do, there's always home.
Nickelsville High School was home again for 450 graduates, their families and school friends Saturday, Sept. 27,1997, for the first all-school reunion.
It had been a long time coming.
You could tell by the size of the crowd and their enthusiasm. Tears and hugs and shrieks of joy were plentiful throughout the day, which began shortly after noon. The well organized and full day didn't end until late into the night. Though age had caught up with many of them and it was past their bedtime, they didn't want to leave. For one day, they felt young again. Though age was gaining ground, their memories were as young as the days they roamed the halls and frolicked as nimble teens.
A look at the parking lot told part of the story. Some came in campers; one would assume to spend the night. Others came in vans equipped for the handicapped. And inside, several were in wheelchairs or leaned on canes or crutches.
They brought old pictures, newspaper clippings and tales to share. And they came looking for old friends. Some were lucky and found them. Others were saddened to learn that their old friend was too sick to come, or, worse, deceased.
In some cases, old friends saw each other for the first time in more than 50 years, when they parted ways on graduation night. Years change people, and for some it was difficult to pick old friends out of the crowd.
Such is the hold that school friends and fond memories have on us.
Nickelsville High School is home to hundreds of graduates. Its first class graduated in 1920. The last class graduated in 1968. It was never a big school. The largest class was in 1963, when 48 graduates crossed the stage.
Though you can't repeat the past, it never hurts to try. And that's what the Nickelsville High basketball team of 1953 did. That team was the first and only Nickelsville team to be crowned state champs. They defeated heavily favored Sunnyside-McKenney High of Dinwiddie County to win the Group III crown, 38-31.
Seven players, the team manager and coach posed for a newspaper photograph holding their trophy following the game way back then.
To the delight of the reunion crowd, six of them struck the same pose and held the same trophy. Present were Wayland Isaacs, Ronald Dougherty, H.K. Dean, Paul Robinson, Bobby George and Paul George. Coach Glen Addington is deceased; Gary Vicars and Jimmy Francisco were unable to attend.
The oldest graduate was from the class of1922-Leta Bond Fleenor. She came in a wheelchair.
"It was an exciting event because the class of 1943 never had a class reunion and I saw classmates I had not seen in 54 years," said Betty Wayne Culbertson Godsey.
Dale and Jean Dougherty of Radford, Va., attended. He graduated in 1933. Mrs. Dougherty came in a wheelchair.
"Just four from my class of 1937 were there but it was a true joy to chat with those girls for a little while. I'm sure I'll never see them again," Bryce Gibson wrote to the Nickelsville reunion committee that devoted more than a year to help organize the event.
One Nickelsville High graduate - JoAnn (Kilgore) Penley--an Eastman employee in Kingsport, Tenn., enlisted some of her coworkers to help make the day special. For her, helping plan the reunion involved more than a year's worth of hard work and love for her school and friends.
There was food, a formal program, prizes and, above all, an ample opportunity to share memories, feel young again and to get reacquainted.