MEMBERS OF the final graduating Clarksville High School class met for a 50-year reunion Saturday to share memories and celebrate their lives. The small group of alumni has gathered every five years since graduating.
The school, which opened in 1938 and served all 12 grade levels, moved the high school students out in 1952 when Howard High School opened in September that year.
Some people brought their yearbooks and other memorabilia to Ten Oaks Ballroom, where they talked about this milestone in their lives. Class pictures were posted on easels, along with personal photos and other mementos.
"Everybody in the class has been successful," said Jean Warfield, the senior class secretary. To Warfield, success means being a responsible citizen, raising a family and being financially sound.
"People look at this little country school and think we didn't know anything back then," she said. "We didn't always have the best of things, but it all turned out very well."
Those who attended the reunion proudly boasted of their years working and raising families. Sharmaine Tetlow of Dayton has lived in this area all her life. "I never moved out of state," she said. Tetlow worked at a factory after graduating. Then she quit work to raise her children.
"People graduated and got married, went to work or joined the family business," she said.
Louise Smith of Clarksville married in 1953 and stayed home to raise her four daughters. "I was privileged to stay home and raise my children," she said.
Like her parents and grandparents before her, Smith lived in Howard County all her life. "I was raised in Glenelg when there was nothing there except two stores," she said.
Furthering one's education wasn't as commonplace when the Clarksville High School alumni graduated as it is today. Warfield was the only one of 23 graduates who went directly to college, attending Western Maryland College.
Like her mother and aunts, she became a teacher. "It was a family tradition," she said.
Warfield said Donald Douglas, the class president, became an engineer, and Joyce Monroe became a registered nurse. Monroe moved to LaPlata after graduating from nursing school and worked as a nurse while she raised her five children. "Nursing was good to me," she said.
Monroe noted the changes in Clarksville over the years. "I could hardly even find my way around," she said of her return for the celebration.
Guests ate potato salad and ham as they chatted and caught up on news. For dessert, a cake was decorated with a picture of the old school, now known as the Gateway School. The building, which served as an alternative learning facility until recently, is on Route 108.
Teacher Lorraine Hardison of Fulton taught history and English before taking a break from teaching to raise her family. "When I had my children, I figured it was time to stay home with them," she said. "Somehow we managed financially."
Dick Jones of Sparks taught shop at Clarksville High School, and later was the principal at the vocational technical center on Route 108. "I have very fond memories of all these students," he said.
Kangaroo Kids Michaela Rogers, Elizabeth Butterfield, Emily Butterfield and Colleen Brookfield were part of a group that traveled to Sidney, Australia, this month.
Adviser Kathy Rogers of Clarksville said members of the Australian Rope Skipping Association invited the Kangaroo Kids to visit their country to put on exhibitions and workshops. "It seems to be called `rope skipping' everywhere but the USA," Rogers said. She and the four children had met the Australian team at jump-rope camps held in the United States.
"We were excited at the opportunity to see Australia and to promote our beloved jump rope," Rogers said.
The girls performed in 12 shows and participated in a few workshops. They stayed at the homes of fellow jump-rope enthusiasts.
"The families were nice, and to celebrate our Independence Day they made a barbecue for us and gave us sparklers," said Colleen, a resident of Dayton.
"It was interesting to meet Australian jump-ropers because we all still shared a common interest of jump rope, so that brought us together in a sense," said Elizabeth, who lives in Highland.
The group also did some sightseeing. "My favorite part of the trip was visiting the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns," Elizabeth said. "It was so pretty, and it was so much fun swimming with the fish and seeing the reef up close."
Michaela, who lives in Clarksville, has been with Kangaroo Kids for five years and traveled to Disney World, Texas, Canada, Virginia and Colorado with the group. "Being on this team has been a great experience, and I don't plan on quitting any time soon," she said.
Shepherd of the Glen Lutheran Church is seeking donations of books, compact discs, videos, records, cassettes and computer software for its seventh Media Sale on Sept. 6 and 7. Items can be left in the blue wooden box outside the church at 14551 Burntwoods Road, Glenwood. Tax contribution forms are available inside the box.