‘Banks Girls’ gather for second reunion

Published 10:30 pm Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The lovely home of Mr. and Mrs. J.D. Barr Jr. on Highway 29 in Banks was the gracious setting for the second reunion of the “Banks Girls” on Saturday, June 30.

The “Banks Girls” is a group of ladies who lived in or near Banks and attended Banks Junior High School around the same general time as Mrs. Barr’s daughter, Suzanne Clemmons.

The first of these gatherings was held about three years ago when a group of 10, including Jean Barr and Wilda Steele, a former Banks teacher, met at a Troy restaurant for lunch. This year, Mrs. Barr insisted that the party be held at her home.

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For nearly three hours, the group of almost 20 former Banks students, enjoyed re-living shared memories of the “good old days” at Banks school, getting re-acquainted and bringing one another up-to-day on the last half century of their lives.

Mrs. Barr, always the perfect host, served delicious refreshments from her beautifully appointed table to the ladies in attendance.

Most of the former students still live in the general vicinity of Banks and Brundidge but Toni Dorrill Stetson came from Panama City, Carolyn Rhodes Singleton came from Union Springs, Glynnis Raines Ward came from Wetumpka and Sue Thompson came from Montgomery.

Others there for the party were Elaine Sheppard Golden, Annette Sheppard McLendon, Christine Sheppard Burton, Bobbie Jean Burton Ellsworth, Linda Burton Leatherwood, Cathie Brantley Steed, Martha Brantley Fleming, Suzanne Barr Clemmons, Sara Beth Dorrill Ballard, Edna McLendon Jordan, Gail Dubose Copeland, Nancy Dubose Livingston, Grace McDaniel Senn and Diane Mathews Johnston.

All enjoyed the lively afternoon and started making plans for another reunion, perhaps one to include husbands or all former students from Banks Junior High School.

The old brick Banks Junior High School building built in 1936 is still in use today. The “Banks Girls” attended classes in this building through the ninth grade and, at that point, they primarily transferred to either to Pike County High School in Brundidge or to Charles Henderson High School in Troy.

Banks, Alabama, originally named “Wiley’s Station,” was founded in 1890 when the Alabama Midland railroad was constructed through the area, but the name was shortly afterward changed to Banks, Alabama, in honor of the Banks family, one of the first families to settle in the vicinity.

Most of the students who attended Banks school were from the town of Banks but, when the school consolidation movement started in 1919, students from Harmony, Monticello, Josie, Enon, Ebenezer, Union Hill, Saco, Bethel and other small community schools wound up attending the Banks school.