The Times West Virginian

Local News

July 6, 2014

Last planned Dunbar reunion ends with mixed emotions: PHOTOS

FAIRMONT — The last planned reunion of Dunbar School ended with mixed emotions.

Dunbar was closed after schools were desegregated in 1955. The reunions for Dunbar High School began in 1972. The theme for this year’s reunion was “Let’s Just Say Goodbye.”

Alumni and their families ate dinner and listened to speakers before taking to the dance floor. Two former Dunbar cheerleaders recited the cheers from decades ago. A tearful singing of the school’s alma mater took place during the evening as well.

Nadine Ezelle is a graduate of Dunbar from the Class of 1945. She is a founding member of the association that planned the 16 reunions.

“It’s about time to go,” Ezelle said. “It’s hard to say ‘goodbye’ to yesterday, so to speak, but sometimes you have to let go.”

Ezelle was one of the speakers during the event.

“I have enjoyed the ride, all the way. For 42 years, I’ve enjoyed it,” she said.

Pastor Wesley Dobbs joined the Dunbar Homecoming Association to be a part of history. He said he had “mixed feelings” about this being the last reunion.

“The people are great and it’s just a great time but, like everything else, every good thing has to come to an end,” Dobbs said. “I hate to see it end, but it’s just something that had to be done.”

Dobbs and other speakers asked younger people to help continue the reunions.

Erma Dozier attended Dunbar. Although she lives in California, she has attended about 10 reunions.

“I feel like it should go on. I feel like it should never die because there were people that were younger than me that went to the school,” she said.

The Dunbar building is currently in need of repairs.

“I think that everyone needs to know where they came from, their background, their roots, people that were in their lives that helped to make them what they are today,” Dobbs said. “We have lots of graduates that have went on and done well in life. It’s just good to know the roots, where did they come from, and this way, if we can preserve this, then they’ll know.”

The Dunbar School Foundation Inc. is in the process of making various repairs to the school.

Houston Richardson is part of the foundation. He attended Dunbar and was in attendance at the reunion. Dunbar needs a new roof, a new water system and a repaired boiler system.

“You start from the top. You’ve got the roof, then you’ve got the boiler and the water ... and sanitation,” he said. “There’s four things that’ll have to happen on the same timeline and with that, we’ll be in pretty good shape.”

Richardson said that alumni were asked to send the school “all the information they had about Dunbar.” Richardson would like to preserve that information.

Email Richard Babich at rbabich@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @rbabichTWV.

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