Dunbar School Alumni Assoc. Gala

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 5, 2017

Approximately 200 alumni, friends and guests participated in the 2017 Gala hosted by the Dunbar School Alumni Association, on Oct. 7 at the Salisbury Civic Center. Our biennial gala is held to generate funds for scholarships to be awarded to descendants of former students, teachers or administrators of Dunbar School who are current financial members.

The highlight of the evening was the induction of three alumni into the association’s Hall of Fame: Larry Poe, Willie Jean Kennedy and Rev. Reginald Massey.

Retired Rear Admiral Larry Poe was a member of the class of 1961. He attended Livingstone College before transferring to UNC Chapel Hill, where he received a B.S. degree in science. Poe received advanced degrees from several institutions of higher education prior to enlisting in the United States Navy where he eventually earned the rank of Rear Admiral.

Willie Jean Kennedy graduated as the Valedictorian of the class of 1962. Kennedy attended Livingstone College as one of the first recipients of a Future Teacher Scholarship provided by the State of North Carolina. After graduating with a BA degree in English, she was hired to teach English at the school from which she graduated, and has since provided more than three decades of service to the students and teachers in the Rowan-Salisbury School System. She is currently completing her third consecutive term on the Rowan County Board of Education.

Rev. Reginald Massey was a member of the class of 1964. He earned a BA degree in Sociology from Livingstone College and a master of divinity degree from Hood Theological Seminary. Rev. Massey is recorded in historical records as the first African American mayor of the Town of East Spencer. During his three terms as mayor, Rev. Massey was appointed to the Intergovernmental Commission by the governor of North Carolina. After his tenure as mayor, he worked as a chaplain at the William “Bill” Heffner VA Medical Center. An ordained minister, Rev. Massey also pastored at several AME Zion churches.

According to Gala registration records, alumni representing classes from 1944-1969 were present. Etta Massey Webster, retired educator from Washington, DC, was the oldest attendee. Other out of town alumni present included William Barbour, Brenda C. Blakeney, Elva Wiley Chawlk, Carolyn and Lester Davis, Dollie Faggart, Alton Gaither, Christine Byers Green, Jimmie Hackett, Virginia Byers Hickman, Teresa Johnson, Thomas and Susan Lowe, Raymond McDaniel, Carolyn Witherspoon Paige, Doris Boler Phillips, Gerald Poe, Jean Ruffins, Phyllis Rutherford, Julia Hammond Rush, Varnetia Sims, Walter and Alice Swann, Charles Weddington, Hazeline Byers Wiley, Shirley Russell Williams, Bill and Linda Witherspoon, and Jimmy Witherspoon.

Gala committee members were Edna Davis Thomas, chairman; Sandra Corpening, Carolyn Napoleon, Hazel Kennedy, Valerie Sifford, Elaine Tate, Jimmy McCullough, Mary Lee, Jim Corpening and Linda Wylie.

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