Seventeen young scholars were in the graduating class in the ceremony held at the Fort Meade, Florida, high school on May 2, 1919. Granted, it was a small class by today’s standards, given the size of American public schools and the populations served by most school districts.
Fifty eight years later, as many as could of that original group found their way back to Fort Meade for a reunion. I know my grandmother was there—the items I’ve been sharing over the last few days were keepsakes I found among Rubie McClellan Davis’ personal papers years after her passing. This reunion was one of the highlights of her later years.
By the time of this reunion, Rubie was seventy eight years of age—admittedly, two years older than some of her classmates, as we’ve already noticed—but still quite energetic and involved in her community far to the north of her Florida hometown. This event sounded like it had the makings of the perfect road trip, and Rubie and her husband Jack Davis took the opportunity to make the drive from their home in Columbus, Ohio.
At the point of the reunion, according to the report run by the local newspaper, there were still eleven members remaining of the original seventeen graduates. However, The Fort Meade Leader noted, only six members of the class were actually able to attend the event. These six were joined, at the reunion dinner, by special guests with links to those early school days memories. Incredibly, among those honored attendees were a faculty member from the high school at that time, a member of the preceding class, and a student usher from the 1919 ceremony who graduated the following year.
The October 7, 1977, front page article—complete with photograph—was careful to list not only those in attendance, but the names of each class member from the original graduation program.
With all those details in The Fort Meade Leader, it’s no wonder that my grandmother brought back a copy of that entire edition of the newspaper!
Class Motto:Now we try a boundless sea.Class Colors: Class Flower:Emerald and Gold White CarnationClass Roll:Marie Alderman Pauline HancockNolie Bryan Joseph HudsonLucile Brice Rubie McClellanZemla Doke Elizabeth MorganClaire Davis Bernard MeekJohn Doke Patrick NugentBill Enzor James SingletonLottie Hollingsworth William WilliamsMarian YearwoodG. H. Williams, Principal of F.M.H.S.Gertrude Scott, Senior Teacher