Ken­nard din­ner hon­ors alums in ren­o­vated school

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

CEN­TRE­VILLE — The Ken­nard Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion held its ninth annual din­ner dance gala Satur­day even­ing, Nov. 12, this year for the first time at the for­mer Ken­nard High School build­ing. The gala orig­i­nally be­gan as a ben­e­fit to as­sist in gen­er­a­tion funds to help ren­o­vate and re­store the for­mer school build­ing that was orig­i­nally con­structed in 1936 as one of thou­sands of school built across the na­tion as one of the New Deal pro­grams of Pres­i­dent Franklin D. Roo­sevelt. The build­ing closed in 1966, and was left in dis­re­pair fol­low­ing the open­ing of Queen Anne’s County High School in 1967, the year seg­re­ga­tion ended in the county. Ken­nard High School was one of four seg­re­gated high schools in the county up un­til 1966. Ken­nard was the only “col­ored” high school. The other three, Stevensville, Cen­tre­ville, and Sudlersville high schools, were for “white” stu­dents.

Com­ply­ing with the di­rec­tive is­sued by the U.S. Supreme Court rul­ing in land­mark Brown vs Board of Ed­u­ca­tion of Topeka, Kansas (1954), schools across the na­tion were to de­seg­re­gate “with all de­lib­er­ate speed.” Be­gin­ning in 1967, all high school stu­dents in Queen Anne’s County at­tended the same in­te­grated school in Cen­tre­ville.

Con­cerned Ken­nard alumni hoped to some­day ren­o­vate the build­ing and turn it into the Ken­nard High School Cul­tural Her­itage Cen­ter and African Amer­i­can His­tor y Mu­seum.

Ken­nard grad­u­ate Clay­ton Washington of Grasonville, pres­i­dent of the Ken­nard Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion, has led the move­ment to have the build­ing ren­o­vated.

Satur­day even­ing at the gala, as he wel­comed all who at­tended, Washington said, “Watch this, I’m about to jump for joy!” His feet never left the floor, but he made the mo­tion of jump­ing and laughed, say­ing, “That’s about as high as I can get at my age.”

“Be­ing able to be here in this build­ing is a spe­cial mo­ment and what we have worked for over the years,” he added. “A dream is about to be­come a re­al­ity. The project is not to­tally com­pleted yet. We want this build­ing to be­come a great re­source for ed­u­ca­tion. Many of you have gone above and be­yond the call to make this hap­pen. I haven’t done this alone.”

Washington pre­sented two Larry S. Jones Help­ing Hands Awards on be­half of the alumni as­so­ci­a­tion. One award went to Joe and Ros­alee But­ler, both grad­u­ates of Ken­nard, who now re­side in Burling­ton, N.J. Their daugh­ter Taneisa, of Wake For­est, N.C., stood in for her mother Ros­alee, who was un­able to at­tend.

The sec­ond award went to James “Jimmy” Pauls and his wife Dorothy “Dot­tie” Pauls, of Cen­tre­ville. Their daugh­ters, Sharon and Janet, along with grand­son, Clarence, were present to wit­ness the award. Both cou­ples have made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to the restora­tion and ren­o­va­tion project, Washington said.

The Rev. Alice Hutchins gave a bless­ing on the even­ing and food. Her words were, “Dear God, It’s amaz­ing how the Lord pro­vides …,” con­clud­ing with an au­di­ence “Amen.” She thanked God for see­ing the ef­fort to re­store the Ken­nard build­ing and all who had hoped to see this day come about.

The din­ner was by Helen Todd Cater­ing of Cen­tre­ville. En­ter­tain­ment was pro­vided by lo­cal DJ Mau­rice Wright, and pro­fes­sional ven­tril­o­quist Ken Huff and Mr. Good­wood per­formed. Huff’s per­for­mance lasted more than 20 min­utes and topped the even­ing off with great laugh­ter.

A grand open­ing and ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony for the build­ing are planned for some­time in the next year. There will be a Donor Wall of Fame list­ing at Ken­nard for all those who have helped and will con­tinue to help with fur­ther fund­ing do­na­tions. The ren­o­va­tion has been funded through nu­mer­ous fundrais­ers, pri­vate do­na­tions and his­tor­i­cal preser va­tion grants thus far.

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

Long­time Queen Anne’s County school teacher, ad­min­is­tra­tor and for­mer school board mem­ber, Made­lyn Hol­lis stands inside her class­room at the for­mer Ken­nard High School. The class­room his 8 feet wide and 35 feet long. She said the largest class she had inside the cramped class­room was 25 stu­dents. The black board and book shelf re­main the same.

PHO­TOS BY DOUG BISHOP

Dorothy “Dot­tie” and James “Jimmy” Pauls, cen­ter, were pre­sented the Larry S. Jones Help­ing Hands Award by the Ken­nard Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion. With them, from the left, daugh­ter Sharon Mayo, grand­son Clarence Brown II and daugh­ter Janet Pauls.

Guffie Smith of Calvert County points to pic­tures of his wife’s class­mates who pre­vi­ously at­tended Ken­nard High School in Queen Anne’s County. The school, built in 1936, closed in 1966. Smith and his wife at­tended the Ken­nard Alumni As­so­ci­a­tion gala Satur­day even­ing, Nov. 12, inside the ren­o­vated school build­ing.

With his daugh­ter Taneisa, Ken­nard alum­nus Joe But­ler of Burling­ton, NJ, hold the Larry S. Jones Help­ing Hands Award pre­sented to him and his wife Ros­alee, who was not able to at­tend. They were thanked for their out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions to the restora­tion and ren­o­va­tion of the for­mer Ken­nard High School. Both Joe and Ros­alee grad­u­ated from Ken­nard.

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