J.C. Price High’s reunion next weekend in Salisbury

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 13, 2014

SALISBURY — Geraldine Wallace finds it difficult to believe it has been 50 years since she graduated from J.C. Price High School, but she can’t wait to see some classmates she hasn’t been with since graduation in 1964.
The Class of 1964 will be featured next weekend as alumni from across the country come to the J.C. Price High School Reunion.
All the reunion-related events will be held at Hotel Salisbury.
To alumni such as Wallace, who now lives in Charlotte, the reunions are all about the past, present and future. At first, Wallace says she went to the reunions mostly to have a good time and see old friends.
She still does that, but “the older I got, the more I realized how significant the whole event was,” Wallace says.
Keeping the history of Price alive is important, she says, and Price alumni are especially proud they can give scholarships to deserving youth. Wallace herself nominated two young people from Charlotte who will be among the nine scholarship award recipients next Saturday night.
Still standing on West Bank Street, Price High School closed because of integration after the 1969 school year.
It’s unusual, but this high school, which hasn’t had a graduation in 45 years, has a national alumni association and individual alumni chapters in places such as Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Cleveland, Charlotte and Salisbury.
Thomas Morgan of Salisbury is the current national alumni president.
Annual reunions for all alumni are held in Salisbury, and every other year, the Price Alumni Association holds what it considers a bigger gathering — a convention, which includes the Scholarship Awards Dinner.
This year’s reunion begins with a down home fish fry and social at 6 p.m. Friday.
Saturday is full of events, starting with a 9 a.m. Prayer Breakfast, where the guest speaker will be Price High Class of 1964 graduate Major Leonard Clark III of Fort Washington, Md.
A general alumni meeting will be held at 11 a.m.
A trolley tour is scheduled for 1 p.m.; the Scholarship Awards Dinner, 6 p.m.; and an “Old School” dance with live music by the Buff Dillard Band, 8 p.m. Saturday.
The Salisbury Chapter will host a hospitality room at the hotel.
A full registration package including all events and national alumni association dues is available for $85. Tickets also will be available for individual events.
There will be souvenir bags and door prizes. For more information or to pre-register, contact Deja Morgan-Spann at 704-797-0002. If she is not available, leave your name and number, and the call will be returned.
Wallace, Josie McKenzie and Betty Yarborough of Atlanta made special efforts to contact the surviving members of their Class of 1964, which had a total of 57 students.
They discovered that 16 of their classmates have died, so they were encouraged that 22 have signed up to attend next weekend’s activities.
“I was just overwhelmed,” Wallace said of the response. Some of the classmates she has not seen since graduation 50 years ago.
Other Price alumni in Wallace’s family include her sister Lou Rippy and brother Vernal Coleman, both living in Cleveland, and another brother, Bobby Coleman, who lives in Maryland.
Bobby Coleman is a past national alumni president. Geraldine, who heads the Charlotte chapter, also has been national secretary in the past.
After graduating from Price High, Wallace attended Livingstone College and is now retired from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, where she had a 30-year career as office manager for exceptional children.
Every year in November, several Price alumni and friends also take part in planning meetings, which are organized by Geraldine’s nephew attorney in Cleveland, Derrick Rippy.
Derrick just became “fascinated with the whole concept” of a national alumni association for a high school that no longer exists, Geraldine says.
Geraldine’s husband, Walter, whom she met while they were students at Livingstone, has become “wrapped up in it, too,” she says.
Clark, Saturday’s Prayer Breakfast speaker, is the assistant chief counsel for procurement policy in the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy in Washington, D.C.
He has held that position for the past 12 years.
Previously, he was the executive vice president for corporate development and administration at the MAXIMA Corporation.
Clark has taught as an associate professor in the Graduate School of Urban Planning at Morgan State University and as adjunct professor of the University of Maryland University College.
His primary teaching disciplines were in urban planning, law, economic development and public policy management. He earned his law degree and a master’s in urban planning from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in political science from N.C. A&T.
Clark has been a speaker and author on topics such as small business, urban development and planning, land-use law and economic development strategies.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.