By MATT CRANE
On June 1, 1962, the graduating Starkville High School earned their well-deserved diplomas and began their journey into the working world.
Fast forward 50 years later, and the last class to graduate from the old high school, now the Greensboro Center, is ready to meet again and share stories from over the years as they reunited Saturday at the Starkville Country Club.
Planning committee member Sherrie VanLandingham said she moved to Starkville during the second half of her sophomore year and said things certainly are different in 2012 from the high school environment she remembers.
"The schools are integrated now and the current high school is much larger, both physically and in the number of students than we were," she said. "We didn't have air-conditioning, computers, cell phones or the internet. We used our libraries for research instead of Google on the internet."
VanLandingham said 128 graduated with the class in 1962 and the reunion currently has 62 class members signed up to attend.
"I feel very fortunate to be able to attend my 50th class reunion," she said. "I look forward to spending time and sharing stories with our friends and classmates."
While the prospect of reuniting with friends and classmates will be enjoyable, Layne Livingston said he could not help but think about the 15 classmates who have died over the years.
"As we've reviewed the list of names, it has stirred up memories of good times and a sense of loss," he said. "It has also made me realize that life is fragile and fleeting, and I'm blessed to still be alive and have my own health."
Echoing VanLandingham, Livingston said he does not miss the lack of air-conditioning at the high school.
"I dreaded the hot days of late spring when we would have to swelter through the classes waiting for the freedom of summer vacation," he said. "I don't miss the several levels of narrow wooden stairways filled with thundering herds of students trying to get to classes between periods."
Livingston said he has enjoyed working with the reunion planning committee and reminiscing about old times.
"Having missed most of our earlier reunions due to career and family responsibilities elsewhere, I have especially enjoyed being able to take an active part in helping make this reunion happen," he said. "I happily anticipate getting reacquainted with many classmates I haven't seen in 50 years."
Pat Cole said that above all, one of the long-term benefits of attending Starkville High School or any small town school in the long-standing friendships that are made.
"These friendships seem to transcend time and distance and can be reestablished in seconds, even after not having seen or corresponded with a former classmate for many years," she said. "Most of us will never have so many shared memories over so many years with any other group."
The SHS Class of 1962's 50th reunion will be held Saturday at the Starkville Country Club.