May 17 and 18 were quickly approaching when the Coats community would welcome back thousands of former graduates of Coats High School. For many of them they would be able to recall the wooden Coats …
May 17 and 18 were quickly approaching when the Coats community would welcome back thousands of former graduates of Coats High School. For many of them they would be able to recall the wooden Coats School while others attendees remembered attending other district schools such as the Gregory, Ennis, Sorrell, Penny, Oakdale, Turlington or Parker Schools before consolidating with the Coats Union School. Did some have siblings who had ridden on the old covered wagon driven by Gus Stewart to transport students from Turlington District 4 to the District No. 3 in Coats?
I do know that the last Coats graduating class had published an amazing yearbook to mark the closure of the high school. Within that yearbook, the students had not only shared their history but also included so much of the early history of the Coats Grove District No. 3.
Let’s read some of the info for the last graduating seniors in 1985 as was published in their yearbook. The students had entered Coats in 1974 — all 49 of them. Miss Buckner and Miss Kamens were their first teachers. The students enjoyed playing around the old oak tree and looking in the woods for the “green man.”
Who were some of their teachers? I do know that the classmates selected Debbie Royster and Jimmy Gaskins as the Friendliest and Wendy Gregory and Thomas Strickland as the Best Sports. Debbie Upchurch and Mickey Messer were selected as Mr. and Miss Echoing Memories. Joyce Amerson and Jerry Lee were thought to be the Neatest. Tracy Ivey and Mark Williams were the Most Original and Pam Denton and John Roberts were voted the Best All Around. Brookie Betts and Gary Meadows were the Most Likely to Succeed.
Foy Pope and Terry DiBella won Most School Spirited. Sonya Barbour and Tim Lane were the Most Talented and Michelle Champion and Michael Matthews were the Cutest. Anita Matthews and Brian Whittington earned the Most Dependable. Sherri Addison and Wayne Norris were voted Most Courteous and Karen Neighbors and Alex Turlington claimed the Most Wittiest.
Jamie Regan and Freddie McDuffie were the Most Athletic and Amy Adams and Mark Langdon – Most Intellectual. Finally Melinda Stanley and Derek Tripp were the 1985 Beau and Belle (CHS “Echoing Memories” 1985).
This graduating class had the unique opportunity to help plan and carry out the Coats Reunion Project. Many students worked diligently to collect the pictorial history of the school while Coats teacher Gayle Sorrell wrote the history of the Grove Township District Schools for the history book, “Together We Leave.”
Marie Salmon’s Photography Club worked on the photography, art and layout of that book. Those students were Sonya Barbour, Gary Meadows, Edwin Brewer, Amy Adams, Michael Stephenson, Anita Matthews, Brian Whittington, Carrie Creech, Shelton Pope, Amanda Strasser and Karen Faircloth.
Do you wonder who served on that Coats High School Reunion Project Governing Board? Do you question how they were able to locate the names and pictures of the graduates of Coats High School from 1925 to 1985. Then ponder how they were able to contact these graduates (many with new marital names) along with their spouses, occupation, number of children and current addresses in 1985 even though most lived all over the country and world and not to mention that many were deceased.
An alphabetical list of the teachers who had taught in the Grove District Schools, along with the year that each had begun to teach, took months of research. Pictures of the principals and photographs of the district schools had to be located for the “Together We Leave” book. A Timeline and Grove District School map had to be made to show locations of these old schools.
In January of 1995, the Coats Kiwanis Club was chartered and for 25 years that organization has changed the world and community one project at a time. Community sponsors at golf tournaments, hot dog and hamburger sales have enabled the club to make a difference.
In 2012, that club pledged to give $10,000 to the construction of the Coats Museum Exhibit Hall. The hard working members have now fulfilled that pledge. Thank you, Coats Kiwanians, you are a remarkable group of volunteers.
The Coats High School Class of 1956 is appreciated for their continued support to the museum. They have remembered two classmates, Faye Avery Dunbar and Alice Core Montgomery, with memorials.
Thank you, Virginia Norris Holden, for being a very efficient liaison with the museum. The large number of memorials your class has given has made a difference in the operation of the Coats Museum.