Spirit of Mount Airy High preserved by tireless efforts of alumni group leaders SOUTHWEST--Mount Airy* Woodbine * Taylorsville * Winfield

NEIGHBORS

September 24, 1993|By KATHY SUTPHIN

Each September, Mount Airy High School alumni representing more than a half-century of graduating classes gather to recollect, reminisce and thank the Mount Airy Alumni Association.

The school closed in 1967, but secretary Pat Topper Norwood and treasurer Travis Norwood have carried on the leadership of the alumni group for many years. The duo has the task of organizing reunions for classes from 1914 to 1967 down to an art.

Mrs. Norwood, who is not related to Mr. Norwood, explained that one meeting is usually held each summer to plan the reunion with the association president, who represents the class that will celebrate its 50th anniversary.

The menu for the banquet is changed each year "so it doesn't get in a rut," said Mrs. Norwood. The association "regularly" hires the local band, the Twilight 3 Plus 1, to entertain.

Mrs. Norwood said she spent "one whole summer on the telephone" updating the association's address file when she took office more than seven years ago. She maintains two boxes of address cards as a backup for the list that is now in a data base. "I enjoy it," she said.

Mrs. Norwood estimated that 1,200 invitations were mailed to alumni in August in preparation for the 81st annual banquet and meeting that was held Sept. 18 at Mount Airy's American Legion Post. Tickets for the dinner-dance, catered by the legion's auxiliary, were $13 each.

Annual dues of $1 per person are also charged, which creates a cushion to ensure all expenses are paid in full, said Mrs. Norwood. The surplus -- $400 from this year's reunion -- is traditionally donated to either Mount Airy Elementary School or Mount Airy Middle School. Both buildings once housed the high school, which became a memory when South Carroll High School opened.

Mount Airy High School's Class of 1943 celebrated its golden anniversary at this year's banquet. Fred Hooper, association president for 1993, said 17 of the 25 living members attended the festivities, which also included a dinner Sept. 17 and a picnic Sept. 19.

"We had a wonderful time," he said.

Participants came from all over the nation. Alumnus Catherine Mallory traveled from California, Mrs. Norwood said.

At Saturday's banquet and meeting, Mount Airy High School graduates looked to the future by re-electing Mrs. Norwood and Mr. Norwood and electing Class of 1944 alumnus Jack Smith as association president for the coming year.

The group of 251 also looked back by honoring Naomi Spurrier for her work with the association. Mrs. Spurrier explained that her late husband, Walter Spurrier, was instrumental in keeping the organization going. "He assured that we had a meeting every year," she said.

Mrs. Spurrier, from the Class of 1916, said she was the oldest alumnus at age "98 and 6 months." She said she is two months older than Olive Mount, who graduated in 1914 and represents the oldest graduating class with a living member.

The oldest Mount Airy High School alumnus credited the popularity of the annual event to the friendship and fellowship enjoyed by the association's members. "I think they enjoy it so much; some of them love to come back," Mrs. Spurrier said. "We just have crowds every year. I have only missed one of the alumni meetings since I graduated."

*

It took 16 hours on the road, one overnight stop, and donations from many generous Carroll County residents to enable Winfield residents Wanda and Ron Legore to travel to Winfield, Mo.

The 921-mile mission of compassion began Aug. 30 in a small dump truck with an 8-by-12-foot bed loaded 3 feet high with donations of nonperishable food, personal hygiene items, school supplies and cleaning necessities, Mrs. Legore said. Use of the truck was donated by R.K. Warner Construction of Winfield, Md.

Vernon Sharp, who had been Winfield's mayor for only three months when the Missouri town's levee gave way to raging flood waters, met the Legores upon their arrival. Mrs. Legore said she was amazed to see things still under water.

"The water was still 2 1/2 miles out of the banks when we were

there," she said.

The contents of the truck were unloaded by church volunteers who are coordinating the distribution of donations. These volunteers are making sure that people in need receive assistance through identification cards and computer records, said Mrs. Legore. "It's very organized."

The Legores delivered to Mayor Sharp a $5,000 check that represented donations to the Winfield Relief Fund. Mrs. Legore said the account at Westminster Bank and Trust remains open for a continuing flood-relief effort, although another trip to Missouri is not planned.

Everyone -- individuals, service organizations, churches and businesses in the Winfield area -- deserves a big thank you for their generosity, said Mrs. Legore. "Everything was greatly needed and appreciated," she said.

*

Mount Airy's annual Fall Blood Drive will take place from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at the Mount Airy Firemen's Activities Building on Twin Arch Road.

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