Valdosta Daily Times

March 24, 2014

VHS’ 1954 graduates meet for 60th anniversary

Adam Floyd
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta High School Class of 1954 met for its 60th anniversary this weekend, and alums came from all over the country.

In 1954, 132 students graduated from Valdosta High School, and while 46 have passed away, alum Marty Bethune King said 42 graduates and 26 spouses attended the reunion at the Holiday Inn on West Hill Avenue, along with special guest Betty Bazemore, the girls’ physical education coach in 1954 and wife of famed VHS coach Wright Bazemore.

The Class of 1954 is a close-knit group and has met quarterly since 1980. Most of the attendees have known each other their whole lives.

“Since elementary school. We all went to first grade at the old Central Grammar Elementary School and then the junior high school across the street from the Carnegie Library,” said Joel Dampier.

The members said they understand it is unusual for a group of students to stay in contact with each other for so long, but they attribute it to a shared core of values instilled in them by their parents and teachers. As the first class to attend the newly added 12th-grade requirement, King said that the extra time together contributed to the strong ties.

Dampier had a slightly different theory and suggested that looks may have played a large role in former students wanting to stay in touch.

“There was one thing about the women in our class – they were beautiful,” said Dampier.

“We thought the guys in our class were pretty nice, too,” said King.

Whatever the reason, the Class of ‘54 plans to continue meeting four times a year and is extremely grateful for the experiences at VHS.

“It was a privilege to live in Valdosta and attend Valdosta High School with the love that everyone shared,” said Dampier.