Leachville High School Reunion 1927-1984

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Former Leachville High School students came out in droves for the 2010 reunion held Saturday, Sept. 4. The reunion is held every five years.

Memorabilia lined the stage when Leachville High School classes from 1927-87 gathered for the five-yer reunion.

This reunion was kicked off on Saturday morning as Leachville alumni gathered at the Veteran's Memorial Park in Leachville for a ceremony recognizing veterans.

Participants in the ceremony included Terry Parnell, emcee; presentation of colors by Joe Hultquist, Edward Young and Darrell Endfinger. Gerald B. Ray gave the invocation.

Speakers were Buffalo Island Veteran's Memorial Park Committee Chairman Scott Adams, Leachville Mayor Shelia Spurlock, David Wallace, Lt. Col. Retired U.S. Army, and David Fletcher, Director of Veteran's Affairs State of Arkansas.

Veterans were recognized at the Buffalo Island Veterans Park in Leachville.

Clay Turner sang the National Anthem and Blythe Selby sang God Bless the U.S.A. All veterans in attendance were asked to come forward and be recognized. Many of the Leachville classmates were seeing the new Veteran's Park for the first time.

The group gathered at the Old Leachville High School campus where Gary Buck led them in singing the first school song. Marsha Jackson led in singing the second school song. Sam and Kaye Davison were among those holding the school flag. Time was spent remembering the old school. Claude Earl Arnett remembered building fires in all of the stoves early in the mornings so the classrooms would be warm for the students and teachers.

Classmates continued on their journey down memory lane as they gathered at the former Leachville High School gymnasium. Ronnie Kennett welcomed everyone and told about the first gymnasium saying it had a good floor and Coach McKeel was their coach. The gym burned and the new gymnasium was built in 1953. Governor Cherry dedicated the gymnasium.

Ronnie Kennett and Sharon Hitt were among the performers for a variety talent show of former Leachville classmates.

The first game played in the gym was against Rector in 1954. It was 1960 when the Leachville High School basketball team won the state championship. Five of the team members, Jan Weinberg, Lloyd Thomas, Ronnie Bridges, Butch McHaney and R.C. Alexander, were present at the reunion. Kennett presented each of them a trophy with "LHS State Champs Happy 50th" engraved.

Earl Towell, class of 1959, was recognized as part of the first junior high championship team. Tommy Reed, Class of 1970, spoke of playing ball at LHS. All former Leachville basketball players, homecoming queens and cheerleaders were recognized. Cheerleaders led the group in a cheer.

Former Coach Bob White talked of how he became the coach at Leachville High School and spoke of his coaching days there.

Kennett mentioned that Claude Barnett used to dance the jitterbug on the gym floor after the ballgames when they would have dances.

Kennett also mentioned a famous person by the name of Elvis Presley had once performed at the gym in 1955. Dora Anthony Biggerstaff told of her meeting with Elvis and getting an autographed picture of him. She still has the picture.

"Memories never die, they just get better and better," Kennett said.

Leachville alumni then gathered at the school cafeteria for refreshments and visiting.

A short program was held at 1 p.m. with Mari Bridges Hayden welcoming everyone. Donal Galyean led in prayer and then a memorial for all deceased classmates was held with Moba Lee Byrd Miller lighting a candle. Words of appreciation were spoken by Barbara Hargrove Lloyd as she thanked everyone for their generous donations to help make the 2010 LHS reunion possible. She then thanked Annette Edwards Beach, Rebecca Sevier Clowers, Dorothy Wilson Goforth, Jackie Hawkins, Gary Buck, Marsha Jackson, Ronnie Kennett, Mari Bridges Hayden, Donal Galyean, Moba Lee Byrd Miller, the school system and the city of Leachville and to all those who participated in the ceremony at the Veteran's Park. She reminded everyone attending of the next LHYS Reunion in five years.

Hayden presented several awards. She jokingly presented the teacher who has been around the longest award to Billie Jack Layne, a lamp of knowledge trophy; the classmate who has been around the longest award went to Bud Selby, Class of 1936, a Leachville Lion Mascot trophy; and to Jim Forsythe Class of 1943 from Cupertino, Calif., the classmate who traveled the farthest distance, a red gas pump trophy.

A video presented by Barry Kirby featured places in Leachville with remembrances printed on the screen recalling of the good life in Leachville. Requests were made and the video was shown again. The film is also on Facebook.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent visiting and reminiscing until the "big show" started at the Melody Theater at 6 p.m.

The theater was filled to capacity, including the balcony, as classes presented a variety of talent emceed by Mari Bridges Hayden, Class of 1963. Classmates and classmate family members performed.

Clay Turner, son of Lisa Hawkins Turner, Class of 1984 and Frankie Turner 1979, grandson of Jackie Hawkins 1962, and grandson of the late Frank Turner class of 1949, began the show singing, "Friends."

Gerald B. Ray, Class of 1970, sang "A Time for Us," America the Beautiful" and "America." Gerald Church, Class of 1955, sang "Old Shep."

Tiffany Saucedo, granddaughter of Erma Wilborn Walter, Class of 1960, and Dean Walter, Class of 1961, sang, "Suds in the Bucket." Dorman Roach, Class of 1958, played the guitar and sang three songs, "Walkin on the Fightin Side of Me," "Put Another Log on the Fire," and "Stay All Night and Pull off your Coat and Throw It in the Corner."

Blythe Selby, Class of 1980, sang, "My Thanksgiving." Chester Jetton Class of 1977 played the guitar and sang a song he wrote, "Happy Corner Store."

Gary Buck, Class of 1963, then took the stage and spoke of old radio stations and sang parts of songs and asked the audience to name the songs.

Ronnie Kennett, Class of 1954, played the trumpet and sang, "Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy," accompanied by Sharon Hitt on the piano. He also sang, "I Can't Help Falling in Love with You."

James PeeWee Thomas, class of 1962, sang "Matthew 24."

Michael and Rebecca Wallace, son and daughter-in-law of Mary Hope James Wallace, Class of 1975, sang "Now You're Gone" written by Michael and "Let It Be," sung by Michael.

Ramona Van Cleve, daughter of Michael Atkeison, Class of 1961, and the late Linda Jones Atkeison, Class of 1962, and niece of the late Ronnie Jones, sang "It's too Late." Lisa Lloyd Price, Class of 1984, sang, "Me and Bobby Magee."

From the class of 1953 Shirley Newsom Mooney sang, "New York, New York."

Representing the Class of 1964 Carol Polsgrove Dement and the Crowley's Ridge Cloggers danced to "Stormin Norman," "Rocky Top" and "I Don't Need your Rockin Chair." Cloggers were Carol Polsgrove Dement, Leona Miller, Rhonda Weisenself, Shaina Morgan, Ruth Walters, Amanda Cline, and Tammy Hammett.

Following intermission, Carol and the Cloggers performed again dancing to "Little Old Lady Who."

Classmates of 1966 Ruth Ann Carter Keith, Larry Davison, Phyllis Ladd Kennett, Jim Kennett, Kathy Ray Keith, Sharon Pierce Dent, Virginia Murphy Covey, and Karen Wallace did a skit to "The Streak" bringing much laughter. Gerald Church returned playing his guitar and sang "Dreaming of the Little Cabin."

Classmates of 1966 Terry Fairchild, Larry Davison, Kathy Keith, Steve Slayton, Ruth Ann and James Keith, Shelia Bogart Spurlock, Tony Simpson, Jim and Phyllis Kennett, Karen Wallace, Sharon Dent, Virginia and Donald Covey performed a comedy skit to the "Mississippi Squirrel."

Tiffany Saucedo then sang, "You're the One." Dorman Roach entertained singing "Truck Drivin' Man" and "I Wish a Buck was still Silver."

Next Blythe Selby played the piano and sang "Twist and Shout," and "Love Song."

Chester Jetton sang and played the guitar to two more original songs, "Honeybee" and "Butterfly." PeeWee Thomas played and sang, "I'll Fly Away."

Wayne Garrison, Class of 1953, rock and rolled and sang "Blue Suede Shoes," and "All Shook Up." Then he sang "The Belly Button Song."

Ramona VanCleve sang "We've Only Just Begun." Lisa Price sang "Blue."

Pee Wee Thomas led everyone in singing "I'll Fly Away."

Mari Hayden thanked everyone and wished all a safe trip home.

"Many thanks to all for attending and helping to make our Leachville High School reunion a day to always remember," Barbara Lloyd said. "Leachville High School is a place that will live in the hearts of classmates forever."

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: