Central High alumni reunite to honor classes of 1965, 1966
Published 3:00 am Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Dozens of Spartans filled the seats in the Central Elementary School auditorium Friday afternoon as they prepared to kick off another weekend of catching up, telling stories and replaying high school’s greatest hits.
Since 1985, graduates of Central High School, the city’s pre-integration African-American high school, have been reuniting in Bogalusa. The school opened its doors in 1929 and closed in 1972 when integration merged all the students at Bogalusa High School. However, although the school is gone, pride remains.
“As long as there is a breath of life in any and each of you, we should be proud to be called Spartans,” Roosevelt Peters said, as he welcomed everyone from the stage. Peters, class of 1960, is the director of the mass class reunion, and he has been organizing them since 1984, a year after the tradition started.
Each reunion celebrates two classes, and this year the reunion honored the classes of 1965 and 1966.
The mass reunion kicked off with a parade around old African-American communities. Bogalusa Schools Superintendent Willie Breaux was the grand marshal for the class of 1965 and her brother-in-law, Frederic Breaux, was the grand marshal for the class of 1966.
This year, the reunion was honored with a proclamation from the governor’s office as well as from the city of Bogalusa. Councilwoman Gloria Kates, who did not attend the school but said she’d been made an honorary alumna, read those proclamations.
Peters said the mass reunions bring people to Bogalusa from across the United States. Peters himself lives in Baton Rouge, but he said he comes to Bogalusa “nine or 10” times each year to plan the celebrations.
Peters said he believes it is important to keep up the Spartan spirit.
“It was a togetherness,” he explained. “Not only from the Centralites, but from the teachers and administrators who propelled us to stay the course.”
That spirit was evident Friday as the reunion kicked off after the parade with a roll call that called on any members or relatives to stand and be recognized, as Peters called out each of the years the school was open.