Manila Class of 1957 celebrates 50th reunion

Thursday, June 7, 2007
Manila Class of 1957 held its golden reunion recently. Pictured are, from left: Kneeling - Linda Bassett Peters, Minnie Lou Bunch Bourland, Ada Fay Tillery Litchfield, Marilyn Harris Crews, Wanda Whitney Fincher, Dot Roach Mahan, Mary Lou Deason Litchfield, Judy Wright Davis, Monda Adkinson Oakley. Middle -- Bobby "Sonny" Johnston, Dessie Rogers, Kathryn Beal Murphree, Sue Brown Bell, Hazel Russell Kelly, Vermaline Alexander Smith, Thomy Evans Tillman, Carolyn Blake Vickers, Coty Ann Downing Cornish, Nancy Holt Williams, Danna Higgins Glass, Jane Childress Roth, Patricia Owens Davis, Bobby Howard, Bobbye Littlejohn Shanless. Back -- Junior Shrable, Kenneth Williams, Rance Perkins, Billy Wilson, Jan Mobley, Larry Flagg, Benny Powers, Jerry Caery, W.D. Newsom, Morris Dean Jackson, Odis Williams, Doyle Morgan, Dale McGrew, Jerry Flagg, Gene Reams, Donald Vance, Bobby Tucker, Buddy Jack McWilliams, Leonus Shedd. Not pictured - Garry Jolliff. (photo provided)

Town Crier News Staff

The '50s came back to life as the Manila class of 1957 celebrated their 50 year reunion on Friday night, May 25, at the Manila Depot. Approximately 100 classmates and guests were in attendance.

The reunion started in the morning as classmates gathered at the Depot to visit. A catered banquet was held in the evening as friends visited, looked through old yearbooks and pictures, reading copies of the high school newspaper dated May 10, 1957, remembered events and ball games 50 years or more ago.

Decorations in the school colors of black and gold and life-size cutouts of Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, along with other '50s memorabilia, were created by classmate Thomy Evans Tillman of Imboden. Her husband, Joe, bought the decorations as a gift to the class.

Wanda Whitney Fincher of Prescott made a special keepsake for all of the classmates creating a golden reunion book featuring names, addresses, telephone numbers and information gathered from letters she sent to classmates. It also featured a memorial section honoring the classmates who have died.

The book also included a special letter from a favorite teacher, Francys Faulkner, who now lives in Memphis. Mrs. Faulkner shared some of her unforgettable memories with the class of 1957 ending the letter by using the words of Bob Hope, "thank you for the memories," and thank you for being a part of my life.

The group especially enjoyed watching a DVD of their senior class trip to Rockaway Beach. Shooting Star photography of Manila took a group picture giving everyone the opportunity to purchase another keepsake.

In 1957 members of the board of education included B.A. McCann, O.B. Wagner, Albert Robinson, Newt Dunnigan and Milton Towles. Roy L. Ashabranner was superintendent and Dale E. Carter was principal.

Senior class officers were Danny Bourland, president; Larry Robinson, vice president; Wanda Whitney, secretary; and Judy Wright, treasurer.

Sponsors of the senior class were Francys Faulkner and Coach Deward V. Dopson.

Selected as 2007 Mr. Harmony and Miss Melody were Leonus Shedd and Ada Fay Tillery. Mr. MHS 1957 was Larry Robinson and Miss MHS was Marcia White. Dorothy Roach was 1957 Harvest Queen and Judy Wright was senior Basketball Queen. Gene Reams and Judy Wright were selected as class favorites. Jerry Flagg and Dorothy Roach were selected as Mr. and Miss Personality. Most Athletic selections for 1957 were Billy Meacham and Marilyn Harris. Selected as Most Courteous were Nancy Holt and Elton McCann and Most Stylish were Danna Higgins and Rance Perkins. Jan Mobley and Wanda Whitney were selected as Most Energetic.

A memorial table was featured at the reunion with pictures of the 13 classmates who were remembered as "friends." They included Gladys Parker, Glenda McWilliams, Nancy White, Mackie Dean Rogers, Gean Scott, Carrol Fowler, James Curtwright, Billy Meacham, Barbara Holsclaw, Glenda Shelton, Linda Story, Danny Bourland and Ralph Davis.

Attending were classmates from Arkansas -- Manila, Paragould, Imboden, Walcott, Little Rock, Corning, Mayflower, Monette, Prescott, Mabelvale, Rogers, Jonesboro, Luxora, Blytheville, Elaine, Huntington, Searcy, Fayetteville, Sherwood; Portland, Ind.; Fairfield, Calif.; Lehigh Acres, Fla.; Lexington, Tenn.; Magalia, Calif.; Steele, Mo.; Bokeelia, Fla.; Ladson, S.C.; and Broken Arrow, Okla.

Students came together from Blackwater, Lost Cane, Milligan Ridge, Sixteen, and Manila to become classmates at Manila High School forming the Class of 1957.

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