Mass Reunion held for Wesley Ray High School graduates

Published 8:24 am Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hundreds of Wesley Ray High School graduates gathered at the campus, now an elementary school, for a Mass Reunion July 4-8.

Wesley Ray High was attended by black students in the Angie, Live Oak and Varnado communities during 1941-74.  

“This school was the pillar of the community and stills holds much prestige in the hearts of many within the community,” said Kewanda August, faculty coordinator at Wesley Ray Elementary. “Every three years the mass class reunion returns to the campus of now Wesley Ray Elementary School to celebrate/reminisce upon the many memories made at Wesley Ray High School.”

Wesley Ray High was a first through 12th grade school from the 1941 until 1974, said Annie Moses, secretary of the mass reunion steering committee. As she said during the reunion, this was a group where everyone came from nothing.

“It’s great to get together and talk about those days,” she said.

Moses said the reunion began 15 years ago. This year’s event had approximately 210 attendees, including family members.

The reunion, which had the theme “We Are Winners,” kicked off Thursday, July 4 with a meet-and-greet night and registration. Moses said that night’s festivities included a ceremony during which attendees introduced themselves. After that, a dance and reception took place.

Friday, an alumni banquet was held. Wesley Ray High graduate Leander Peters was guest speaker, and the sole living member of the class of 1941, Julie Harry of Angie, was recognized. In addition, a plaque was presented to Wilton Moses, the first head football coach at Wesley Ray High.

A family picnic was held Saturday afternoon, and a Golden Graduation took place that evening, Moses said. The class that graduated 50 years ago, the class of 1963, got another chance to don a cap and gown. Since the reunion takes place every three years, the classes of 1961 and 1962 were also recognized.

Sunday morning, a worship/memorial service took place, and the classmates who have passed away since the last reunion were recognized. The reunion concluded Monday morning with a breakfast and business meeting, Moses said.

Moses said the alumni donated a sign for Wesley Ray Elementary at the end of the reunion, and some attendees contributed to the school’s playground fund.

The event was organized under the leadership of Chairman Freddie Jefferson, a graduate of and former teacher at WRHS. He is the former maintenance supervisor and a past School Board member for the Wash-ington Parish School System.

Other organizers were Moses, a former teacher and administrator at WRHS and a 1968 graduate of the school; treasurer Ora Williams; a graduate of and former teacher at WRHS; and vice chairman Levi Lewis, a WRHS graduate.

Also instrumental in the formation of the event was the late Dor-othy Burrell Young, a WRHS graduate and former principal at the school. She was the former vice chairman of the steering committee for the reunion.

Moses said the 2013 reunion was one of the better ones that has been held.

“The response was great,” she said. “I don’t remember us having 200 people in attendance before.”

Those who participated also had great things to say about the event, Moses remarked.

“People who had never attended said they didn’t know what they were missing,” she said.