West turns back time at 40th year reunion

Published 2:29 pm Friday, May 10, 2024

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Tunes like Cher’s “Turn Back Time” greeted more than 70 classmates from the West Stanly High School class of 1984 as classmates and their guests entered the Oakboro Music Hall on April 27.

Greeting guests were former class officers, president Gordon Huneycutt, co-vice presidents Tammy Morton Hartsell and Cherry Wright Freda, secretary Twyla Hathcock Kidd and treasurer Karla Smith Adridge, along with planning committee members Freda Smith Brattain, Dan Caddell, Carolyn Lewis Conner and Rodney Furr.

Classmates hovered over the name tag table looking for their tags while searching if former classmates had registered. Then, the smiles and familiar reconnections began as songs like Dionne Warwick’s “That What Friends Are For” and Van Halen’s “Where Have All the Good Times Gone” played in the background.

Conversations between those who stayed local and those who moved away drifted to the many changes to the communities and each community’s beloved elementary schools. Each of the feeder K-8 elementary schools from that era, Endy, Locust, Oakboro, Ridgecrest and Stanfield, were represented. Then, the conversations continued on to the existing and future changes to western Stanly County’s high school structure.

While many have different views and memories of their high school years, these West Stanly alums seemed to have had a soft spot for the school. So much so that the class officers decided it was time to get the class back together.

“Life is but a breath, we’ve lost too many school friends, so it was/is important to me to see everyone together again. Our reunion was more than I imagined,” Karla Smith Aldridge said. “Watching classmates smile, hug and catch-up was a time of joy, my heart is overflowing.”

The planning committee also decided to create a scholarship to be awarded to a graduating student at West Stanly High School. The selection and award for the scholarship will take place in May.

Rev. Gordon Huneycutt explained the reasoning by attending the reunion.

“The greatest reward for doing this is making reconciliation with old friends,” Huneycutt said. “It was good to find out that our class has made great contributions to the world around us. We became parents and neighbors but also business owners and doctors. Professors and ministers and leaders in our communities. We have recognized that we need to see classmates more often than we have. We plan to set some dates and locations to gather on a more frequent basis.”

Over the years, music and friendship has united many people. A number of classmates reminisced over their West Stanly Players productions, their proms, high school dances, band practices and cheerleading pompom routines. However, each person also remembers their classes.

This article was contributed by Zanna Worsham Swann, former editor of West Stanly High School’s newspaper, The Sage, and high school reporter for The Stanly News & Press in 1983 and 1984.