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Susie Gibson reunion

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By John Barnhart

Last week, Bedford Mayor Skip Tharp signed a proclamation honoring the sixth all-class reunion of Susie G. Gibson High School.

Now the Bedford Science and Technology Center (BSTC), Susie G. Gibson High School was built in 1954 as the Bedford Area's segregated black high school. It graduated its first class in 1955 and its last in 1970. It produced a total of 852 graduates during its 16 years.

"We always give credit to our only principal, John I. Jones," said Harriet Hurt, Class of '65.

Ami Watson, Class of '61, recalls meeting Jones some years after graduating.

"I know who you are," said Jones. "You're Ami Scott."

Jones remembered her by her maiden name.

"It was a close school," commented Rosa Carson, Class of '65.

That, according to Hurt, is why they do an all-class reunion Everybody knew everybody. They hold these reunions once every three years. Hurt said that the school was a success and the number of graduates increased every year.

This year's reunion, which also includes former faculty, will be held from Nov. 23 through Nov. 25 at the Forest Recreation Center. As always, the reunion will conclude at BSTC's Susie Gibson auditorium on Sunday morning.

"We always conclude our reunion with morning worship service at Gibson Auditorium," Hurt said. "We always have a graduate of Gibson High School to give the morning message."

Hurt said that there are a number of pastors among the school's graduates. This year, Elder Frederick Hurt, Class of '62, will preach.

Desegregation came to the Bedford area in the '60s. Although Gibson remained a black high school, its class of 1965 contained children who had attended Otter River Elementary School, formerly an all white school. Gibson students, in turn, had the option of completing their high school years at Susie Gibson or transferring to Liberty High School. Some, like Mary Flood, a member of Bedford City Council, made that move. Flood was among the second group of Susie Gibson students to transfer.

The high school was named for Mrs. Susie G. Gibson, who served as superintendent of education for the Bedford area's black students 70 years ago.