On April 28, over 450 alumni, parents and friends of East Mecklenburg High School gathered in celebration of 60 years of eagle pride and in support of the All Star Teacher Initiative (ASTI), which works to attract, reward, train and retain excellent teachers for every classroom of East Meck.
Among the crowd were members of the class of 1955’s “Nifty 50” meet-up group. Each month, nearly 30 of them come together to reminisce about their high school days. “We were the fourth class to enter the school,” said Jerri Thompson. “It makes you feel so proud to be with people who share your school,” added Betty Flowe.
Several graduates made memorable contributions to the event, including a harmonizing trio from the Class of 1953 comprised of Sam Biggers, Charlie Crabtree and Verner Jordan. The emcees for the event were Sonja Gant, Class of 1983 and anchor at WCNC, and Moira Quinn, Class of 1973 and senior vice president of communications and chief operating officer for Charlotte Center City Partners. School Board Chairperson Eric Davis enjoyed the celebration alongside Vice-Chairperson Reverend Tom Tate, who led the invocation.
Student testimonials, performances and a showcase of classroom technologies gave the supporters a first-hand view of the impact their financial and time investments have made at the school. “East Meck is our home,” said East Meck senior Tyrus Threatt. “It’s nice to see the supporters recognize our hard work and talent. They set the pathway for us right now.”
Special moments, like a taped greeting from the school’s former principal, Pop Miller, brought tears to the eyes of those in attendance. “My time at East Meck was the most enjoyable time of my 91 years,” said Pop. And fun moments, like a sketch demonstrating how teachers have improved instruction through technology, made the crowd laugh.
From the Foundation Update to a special ask by Bob Silver, Class of 1973, to “keep the dream alive,” the energy in the room expanded as the program moved forward. The highlight of the event was a gift to the school in honor of its 60th anniversary—the presentation of a new eagle mascot!
What began as an ambitious, but simplistic, fund drive by Bob Silver not so many years ago, has evolved into an awesome campaign of generosity and pride. The vision of one man has grown to the passion of a crowd and the school is better because of this movement. “We have a history and continue to remain tied to our history,” said Pam Smith, President of the East Meck High School Foundation. “History is priceless. The tradition, legacy and pride of being an East Meck eagle will continue to the future.”