Academy Street reunion starts Friday (SCHEDULE OF EVENTS)

Published 8:15 pm Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A banner hangs on the former Academy Street High School. The building is a state landmark. MESSENGER PHOTO/April G aron

A banner hangs on the former Academy Street High School. The building is a state landmark.MESSENGER PHOTO/April Garon 

Have you ever wanted to crash a reunion? Here is your chance. The Academy Street High School reunion starts Friday evening and organizer Lewis Gillis says he would welcome new faces.

“The dedication ceremony is a public event. Anybody can attend that as well as the banquet (Saturday night). We don’t turn anybody away,” he laughed.

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Because it is a school reunion and many families will attend, people of all ages will take part.

The reunion is more than a big party. It is living history. Academy Street School was Troy’s school for black children long before desegregation was introduced. Alumni from the class of 1944 to the class of 1970 will be in attendance.

One of Gillis’ favorite events is the trivia bowl held during Friday’s get-acquainted event at the Colley Center on Elm Street. “We’ll ask questions about the history of Academy Street … teachers names, events that happened while the school was open … That usually will carry us into the evening,” he said.

There are other traditions that celebrate the school’s history. At each reunion, people connected to the school are inducted into the school’s hall of fame. In years past, they have inducted the teachers, principals and people involved in building the school.

The story of the school’s start dates back to May 9, 1921 when S.B. Innis, C.L. Jenkins, James Henderson, Pres Thomas and C.B. Brooks took out a mortgage to build the school on a lot owned by the city. They paid the mortgage in full in just over a year.

Upon completion, the school was turned over to the city to be used “for colored school purposes.”

This year’s reunion will commemorate the school’s designation as an Alabama registered landmark. A parade, ceremony, marker unveiling and reception are scheduled for Saturday and will feature five speakers, including Gillis and Troy Mayor Jason Reeves. The day will end with a banquet at J. Michelle Special Events near Brundidge. The Banquet starts at 7 p.m.

Sunday will include church and another of Gillis’ favorites: the fish fry. People will sit around sharing what he calls “fish tales,” stories that just seem to get bigger and better as time goes on.

“That’s always fun,” he said. “I just like hearing the different tales about persons who have been fairly successful in their endeavors.”

Gillis said schools were integrated in Troy with the 1965-66 class. Gillis belonged to the first integrated graduating class at Charles Henderson High School. Although he was not a graduate of Academy Street, he plans to continue “crashing” the reunions.

“It’s just a fun-filled time.”


Here’s the schedule of events for Academy Street High School’s reunion information:

Welcome reception at Colley: 6 p.m. – until
Parade from City Hall to Academy Street High School: 9 a.m.
Dedication: 10 a.m. reception at The Studio immediately after
Banquet: J Michelle at 7 p.m.