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Kenly High class of 1950 members reunite

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KENLY— Members of Kenly High School’s class of 1950 gathered for a day of fun and fellowship in celebrating their 59th class reunion on April 27 at Lowell Mill Restaurant.

Even though it was known as Kenly High School, the school actually consisted of all 12 grades and had no kindergarten.

There were 37 seniors who graduated in the class of 1950 and of those, 17 are still living with 10 able to attend the reunion.

John Ed Davis, senior class president, was among those on hand. Davis said he drove the Kenly school bus for four years and later went in the Navy after graduating.

He joined the Wilson Police Department in 1955 and stayed until retiring in 1985.

“I liked seeing everybody, but I miss the ones that are no longer with us,” said Davis. “We had a lot of good folks.”

Another classmate who seemed to be enjoying the event was Jean Baggett Holland, who still lives in Kenly.

“It was interesting to see everybody again,” said Holland. “I wrote in my journal after our reunion last year that we all we had been to a reunion with a bunch of old folks.”

Holland said probably the biggest change from 1950 until now has been advances in technology.

“We did have telephones, though,” said Holland.

Holland said her favorite memory of school was playing basketball.

“I thoroughly enjoyed it,” said Holland. “We were not really good, but at least we were competitive.”

Among other highlights of the day was a copy of the 1950 edition of The Galleon, the Kenly school yearbook, that class member Bobby Barnes, who organized the reunion, brought along for classmates to peruse.

Jerome Rhodes was listed as editor of yearbook, Hilda Grey Scott was head cheerleader, Janyce Winders was valedictorian and Jerome Rhodes was salutatorian. The latter two were also chosen as most likely to succeed.

Barnes, the oldest member of the class at 89, said he wanted to play baseball in high school but was unable to do so.

“I had to stay home and follow the mule,” said Barnes, referring to his job operating a plow in family tobacco fields. “I think things were better back then. There were some hard times but most of us wouldn’t trade them for anything.”

Harold Hinnant of Kenly, 88, who served as Kenly fire chief from 1970-75, was in attendance at the reunion although he was not an officially a class of 1950 member.

Hinnant was a classmate with the group for several earlier years and despite not graduating with the class, he did graduate in 1951 and later married 1950 class member Janyce Bass, who passed away in 2004.

Considering Hinnant had attended so many 1950 class reunions through the years with his late wife, Bobby Barnes said the class decided to make Hinnant an honorary class member and invited him to pose in their group photo.

“The reunion went great and everybody had a good time, and that was our goal,” said Bobby Barnes. “Everyone talked about old times and we plan to have another one next year on the fourth Saturday in April. I told them we would be back and we have already made reservations.”