ALICEVILLE, Al. (WCBI) — Some members of the Aliceville community reunited this weekend to honor a man who dedicated his life to educating African American students in West Alabama.
It was a weekend of reflection for graduates of Summerville and Kirksey High Schools in Aliceville.
Summerville Industrial High opened its doors for African American students in 1936 and in 1958, and it became Kirksey High School.
Alumni from 1936 through 1970 gathered for the reunion and say it’s a great opportunity to see old classmates.
“I just love reunions. It gives me a chance to see so many people that I haven’t seen in years. I just enjoy it. I’ve had a fantastic time so far,” says Earlean Hinton, Aliceville High School Class of 1971.
The late Otis J. Brooks, was Summerville’s first principal. His family was on hand as a marker commemorating the historic high school was unveiled.
“The Brooks family is very proud and delighted that the people of Aliceville remembered the accomplishments of our father, who gave so much to this community. he did inspire a lot of people. So to the members of teh community, we thank you,” says Brooks’ son, Janssen Brooks.
Arthur Hinton was Kirksey High’s only Assistant Principal and says things are lot different now than when he worked there.
“Whenever a child misbehave you could go ahead and spank him or what not. But you also told teh parents about it and they know they had another spanking coming too. It was much more favorable then than it is now but it was very, very enjoyable,” says Hinton.
After Alabama schools were integrated in 1970, the school was redesignated and named Aliceville Middle School. The reunion also included a reception on Friday and will host a banquet Saturday night.
The alumni group also provides scholarships to local students in honor of Principal Brooks each year.