As Wellston nears closing, alumni return for get together

10:06 PM, Apr 9, 2010   |    comments
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By Kathleen Berger

KSDK -- The Wellston School District is closing at the end of the school year. The district will merge with Normandy. So on Friday night, the district's high school alumni were invited to say to reminisce and say their goodbyes.

There was one thing the Class of 1965 gals wanted to do 45 years ago, but school rules prohibited: wear their sneakers inside the building.

"That was the thing; you could not come in here with street shoes on," said alum Louise Landsbury-Overbey.

Louise's former classmate and lifelong friend, Sharon Zeltman-Chiesa, took NewsChannel 5 cameras to the scene of one almost scandalous memory.

Pointing to the principal's office, she said, "Then we were called into the office because they said we were smoking, which we weren't. Nobody smoked, nobody could smoke, seriously."

The buddies in the Class of 1965 have never been back until now. Lost memories resurface in the cafeteria.

"We could smell the food cooking and we knew," Louise said.

"Always baked cakes," Sharon added.

The ladies are sad because their school, now known as Eskridge High School, is closing its doors. The Class of 2010 will be the last to graduate.

"I look around and think, wow, 'What's going to happen to this building?'" Louise said.

Harvey Cloyd said he feels for Wellston's students, who will go to Normandy.  Cloyd has had to change high schools too once. After desegregation, he was one of the first black students to go to Wellston High School.  He graduated in 1957. 

"We came from Douglas with the attitude we wanted to be part of everything and we got involved as much as we could," Cloyd said.  "Pretty much the students here were receptive to the fact that we were here and we had to be."

Also in attendance Friday night: Micky Collins-Stopkey, Class of 1943.

"And my husband, Richard Stopkey, graduated in 1942," Micky said.  "We met in high school and married in '45. So we're married, how many years?" 

"64 years," Richard answered.

And after school, life goes on. They all reunite on the floors, now worn by time.  And the clock is ticking to its last dance. 


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