GHS Class of 1976 holds reunion
The bicentennial class of Germantown High School proves that 60 just may be the new 40.
This was certainly the case when dozens of members of the Class of 1976 came together to celebrate their collective 60th birthdays. They decided to do this at the Marco Polo Restaurant at 8080 Old York Road in Elkins Park, which was centrally located for the alumni who live in throughout Northwest Philadelphia and the adjacent suburban communities.
Among those noticeably absent from the celebration was state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-201, of Germantown, who was on the committee for many of the bicentennial class’s previous reunions. Kinsey was unable to make the autumn celebration because he had to attend a family funeral.
For George Oliver, a deacon at the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, the reunion brought back many memories. He said the thing he remembers most is learning about African-American history at the school. He singled out the late Dr. Edward Robinson, the uncle of the late state Rep. David P. Richardson, who gave history lectures at the school that was located at Germantown Avenue and Haines Street.
“I also remember Mr. Hicks, who had all these books about African-American history,” Oliver said. “We didn’t just have books, but we had many who lived through some of the historic moments. Now it is exciting to come here and see your classmates who you can still recognize after all these years. We can talk about remembering the things Mr. Hicks said.”
“This is exciting and rejuvenating,” said Darlene Roberson, a planning committee member. “We had such a great time in 1976 because it was the bicentennial year. How often do you get together with a historic high school class? We had many events because we were a close class, and I think being the bicentennial class had something to do with it.”
Darlene Roberson was quick to point out that many who came out of Germantown High School have done well. She said some owned their own enterprises. Others went on to college and graduated, which led them to interesting professional lives.
This included Mike Murrell, who was the class president of Germantown High’s Class of ‘76.
“It’s an extreme blessing to be here,” Murrell said. “I have to thank God that so many are here who are happy and healthy. Some of us didn’t make it to 60.
A few could not make it. Yet when you look around, this is still a good showing for a class that graduated 1,200 students from Germantown. This is historic, and that is why I feel blessed and grateful.”
Murrell said his only disappointment is the closure of Germantown High School in 2013 as it was on the brink of turning 100. He and others said they were looking forward to celebrating the school’s 100th birthday.
“It’s sad that some thought that the school that paved the way for so many of us was just expendable,” Murrell said.
Alumnus Alan Singletary gave kudos to the planning committee. He said they have been diligent in making sure that his graduating class regularly came together.
“Everyone here has a story, but what we all share is that camaraderie. This [gathering] just brings back so many good memories,” Singletary said.