It turns out that planning a 50th reunion for the first graduating class of Enloe High Shool takes quite a few long-distance phone calls.
Reunion organizers have been busy placing calls and sending letters to 166 members of the 1964 senior class who now live everywhere from Utah to Maryland and Hawaii to Japan.
But plenty still can be found in North Carolina or even in Raleigh.
Chip Donnald, the reunion’s co-chair, said that each time he connects with another classmate, the past five decades melt away.
“For me that’s been the biggest surprise: We just picked up where we left off,” he said.
Enloe, named for former Raleigh Mayor William G. Enloe, opened in 1962 with 910 students but no senior class.
The class of 1964 spent two years as the school’s top dogs. They helped build Enloe’s traditions, picking the school colors of green and gold and the eagle mascot that have lasted ever since.
“We were really blessed being part of a new school,” said Bruce Washburn, another graduate and reunion organizer. “There were just opportunities for anyone.”
Of the 166 students in the class, the organizers have found all but 15. They’ve discovered that 26 have died since graduation.
Both Donnald and Washburn have a strong interest in finding one student in particular: Bernice Johnson, one of two black students in their graduating class and the only one still living.
Enloe was of the first integrated schools in the area, and Donnald and Washburn say they didn’t realize at the time how difficult the transition must have been for black students.
“I just would like to see her and tell her how much I respect her,” Washburn said.
The organizers also are looking forward to connecting with George Kahdy, the first principal of Enloe. Washburn said his leadership was essential to the school’s success.
Kahdy, who still lives in the Triangle and plans to attend the reunion, credited the school’s success to a supportive community and mutual respect between students and teachers.
“There’s great camaraderie with those students,” he said. “I loved those students. They were a great group.”