Showing their pride

Published 5:26 pm Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Washington will be awash in a sea of maroon and gold this weekend as alumni of the former P.S. Jones High School gather for their biennial reunion held in odd-numbered years.

Those alumni gather — fewer and fewer at each reunion — to remember what the school meant to them — a place where education went beyond reading, writing and arithmetic.

P.S. Jones High School alumni William O’Pharrow and Archie Harding note that the reunion provides the school’s alumni an opportunity to reflect on how the school influenced their lives. Each reunion includes a memorial service to remember alumni who have died since the last reunion.

The reunion reunites alumni of Washington Colored High School, which graduated its first class in 1926, and P.S. Jones High School. Washington Colored High School’s named was changed in 1950 to honor Peter Simon Jones, former principal of the school. As the result of integration, the school combined with Washington High School in 1969.

“I believe the reunion brings the past and the present together. It lets the new generation understand the importance of school and we value our history. We have many graduates that have gone on to be successful leaders in our community and in other areas of the country, said Joyce Moore, former P.S. Jones High School student. “My education started out at Mother of Mercy Catholic School, then Belhaven High, P.S. Jones and ended at Washington High. So, as you can see, I’ve been around to most of the schools during my lifetime. And I take nothing away from any of those schools. Even today, I still attend the reunions of Belhaven High because I love the people and the teachers I had. And I loved every minute of attending P.S. Jones. So, you see we are proud of the education that the teachers gave us. We valued our education and knew we wanted to go on to be teachers, lawyers, doctors and so much more. Attending P.S. Jones is an integral part of our history and our young people must learn about it. Our alma mater says. ‘Hail to our school, it is the finest in our dear land, We’ll be ever true and for her we will always take our stand, and when our work and play here must end we will carry the banner onward with us because we will forever love thee our dear old P.S. Jones High School. We’ll look to thee to be forever our constant guide for P.S. Jones High School our heart will always swell with pride.’”

The reunion begins at 11 a.m. Friday when registration for the event begins. It concludes at Saturday night with a “Denim and Diamonds” party. A formal dinner and dance begins at 7 p.m. Friday. A memorial service begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, followed by lunch from noon to 2 p.m. From 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., a Maroon and Gold Day slideshow takes place. Those events occur at the Civic Center.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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