P.S. Jones alumni celebrate biennial reunion

Published 7:53 pm Monday, August 12, 2019

A swarm of yellow jackets, clad in maroon and gold, gathered this past weekend for a celebration of memories, friendship and the ties built at P.S. Jones High School. For the alumni of P.S. Jones, the biennial reunion of classmates brought together nearly 275 former students from as close as Washington and as far away as Georgia.

“The school itself, P.S. Jones High School, when it was operating as a high school back until the late 60s, meant a lot to a lot of people,” said Wali Saleem, 2nd Vice President of the P.S. Jones Alumni Association. “We’ve seen a number of the graduates from there go on to be very successful, and we attribute that to the lessons we learned at P.S. Jones and with the teachers we had at the school.”

The reunion kicked off with a Friday afternoon meet and greet at the Washington Civic Center. Later that evening, festivities continued with a social during which alumni enjoyed a meal together and heard from Peter S. Jones III, the grandson of the educator for whom P.S. Jones High School was named.

“Those of us who participate in this think we should try to preserve the legacy of the school,” Saleem said. “In particular, Peter Simon Jones himself. We called him ‘Professor Jones.’ I never knew him, because he left before I was a student there. But he was the one who established the school and established the culture of the school and it just carried on throughout the years.”

On Saturday morning, members of the broader community joined in the celebration during a parade that stretched down Seventh Street, featuring smiling alumni and the sounds of the Elizabeth City State University marching band. A memorial ceremony for departed alumni followed the parade, and alumni enjoyed a luncheon at the Beaufort County Ed Tech Center afterwards, which houses the P.S. Jones High School Memorial Museum.

That evening, the alumni gathered for a formal event replicating the enchanted evening that is prom night. Featuring good food and music, the event made for a memorable evening.

For the P.S. Jones Alumni Association, however, honoring the legacy of the school is not only about reminiscing. While it has been nearly five decades since the last students attended P.S. Jones, the group has a mission of reaching the next generation of scholars.

“To the people who come, they’re looking to relive some of the old memories we have and also preserve the legacy,” Saleem said. “One of the things we do as an alumni association is give scholarships. We’ve given 100 scholarships to students right here in Beaufort County in the last 25 years.”

Currently, the alumni association is establishing an endowment fund that will allow them to continue bestowing these scholarships for years to come, and is working with the city to develop a community park on the campus of P.S. Jones High School. For more information on the P.S. Jones Alumni Association, visit www.psjonesalumni.com.