Ken­nard grads hold 50th re­union

Record Observer - - Front Page - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­times.com

CEN­TRE­VILLE — On Saturday evening, Oct. 8, the re­mains of Hur­ri­cane Matthew did not dampen the spir­its of mem­bers of the Ken­nard High School Class of 1966 as they held their 50th re­union. The event was held at a very spe­cial lo­ca­tion —in­side the re­cently ren­o­vated former high school in Cen­tre­ville, home to the new Ken­nard Cul­tural Her­itage Cen­ter.

Ken­nard’s 1966 class was the last to grad­u­ate from that high school as seg­re­ga­tion ended in Queen Anne’s County Pub­lic Schools the next school year. The class grad­u­ated 65 se­niors; 19 of them were able to at­tend the re­union.

The 1966 grad­u­a­tion pro­gram was reprinted in­side the evening’s pro­gram, re­mind­ing the class mem­bers what hap­pened on that spe­cial grad­u­a­tion

day 50 years ago, who the speak­ers were, and the school choir singing. A spe­cial note of those was made of those who were not able to at­tend, ei­ther due to ill­ness or those who had died.

A prayer and bless­ing was of­fered and din­ner served. DJ mu­sic of pop­u­lar tunes of the 1960s era was played, and later danc­ing took place.

One uniden­ti­fied mem­ber of the class of 1966 who now re­sides near Har­ris­burg, Pa., com­mented, “We were well pre­pared ed­u­ca­tion­ally to meet the chal­lenges of our times.”

Of those who at­tended, re­marks of sat­is­fac­tion with their ed­u­ca­tion and ac­com­plish­ments were ex­pressed.

Class mem­ber and re­union plan­ning com­mit­tee mem­ber Lee Washington, now Se­nior Pas­tor of Reid Tem­ple AME Church, which has three dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions for Sunday ser­vices in the Washington, D.C. area — Glenn Dale, Sil­ver Springs, and in D.C., near Howard Univer­sity — and a mem­ber­ship of over 17,000 paris­hon­ers, is among most noted of the Ken­nard 1966 class. He said, “I’ll be preach­ing to­mor­row (Sunday) at two dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions.”

Wil­liam “Biil” Green and Bev­er­ley Ming proudly dis­played their hands as they were both wear­ing their Ken­nard H.S. se­nior class rings. Green said, “I never take it off.”

1966 was the last year smaller seg­re­gated high schools in Queen Anne’s County Pub­lic Schools ex­isted. There were then four seg­re­gated high schools in the county: Sudlersville, Cen­tre­ville, Stevensville, and Ken­nard (which is lo­cated in Cen­tre­ville, on Lit­tle Kid­well Road). Ken­nard (built to serve African Amer­i­can stu­dents) was orig­i­nally con­structed in the mid-1930s un­der Pres­i­dent Franklin D. Roo­sevelt’s New Deal work programs. Un­der the lead­er­ship of Queen Anne’s County Su­per­in­ten­dent of Schools, the late Dr. Harry Rhodes, of Queen­stown, seg­re­ga­tion ended in 1966.

The ver y next year, Queen Anne’s County High School opened and all high stu­dents in the county, be­gin­ning with the Class of 1967, at­tended the same school. A lit­tle known fact, in 1966, 30 per­cent of Queen Anne’s County’s pop­u­la­tion was African Amer­i­can. To­day that num­ber is only 8 per­cent.

In 1966, the larger African Amer­i­can pop­u­la­tion worked in the seafood and farm­ing in­dus­tries in the county. In the im­me­di­ate years that fol­lowed, those two fields of em­ploy­ment de­clined. African Amer­i­cans in the county moved to Dover, Bal­ti­more and Washington, D.C., look­ing for more gain­ful em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, not to re­turn to the county.

In­te­gra­tion of schools was slow in Mary­land fol­low­ing the U.S, Supreme Court’s rul­ing in the Brown v. Board of Ed­u­ca­tion of Topeka, Kan., case in 1954. How­ever, Queen Anne’s County was one of the lead­ing coun­ties in Mary­land, es­pe­cially on the Eastern Shore, to achieve in­te­gra­tion of schools with few prob­lems. Many in the com­mu­nity at­tri­cuted the suc­cess­ful tran­si­tion to the ef­forts of Rhodes, as he per­son­ally vis­ited each com­mu­nity and many churches ex­plain­ing how the tran­si­tion would take place when com­bined high school was to open.

Rhodes at­tended and spoke at the Ken­nard High School com­mence­ment in 1966.

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

Mem­bers of the Ken­nard High School Class of 1966 gather for their 50th an­niver­sary class re­union. The event was held in­side the newly re­stored Ken­nard H.S. build­ing in Cen­tre­ville, Saturday evening, Oct. 8. The Class of 1966 was the last class to grad­u­ate from Ken­nard High School.

PHOTOS BY DOUG BISHOP

A buf­fet meal was pro­vided for mem­bers of the Ken­nard High School Class of 1966, Saturday evening, Oct. 8, dur­ing their 50th class re­union. The event was held in­side the newly ren­o­vated build­ing that once housed the school.

Just part of the crowd that turned out for the 50th class re­union of Ken­nard High School 1966 — the last class to grad­u­ate from Ken­nard be­fore seg­re­ga­tion ended in Queen Anne’s County Pub­lic Schools.

This re­pro­duc­tion of the 65 mem­bers of Ken­nard High School’s Class of 1966 was pre­sented to each class mem­ber who at­tended the school’s 50th re­union, Saturday evening, Oct. 8.

Proudly wear­ing their Ken­nard High School 1966 class rings, Bev­er­ley Ming, left, and Wil­liam “Bill” Green.

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