PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — The Rosenwald High School Alumni Association met today in front of the school to celebrate a landmark, honoring the school which closed in 1967. The school was open from 1937-67, before closing as the school system integrated.
Alumni present at the celebration were alumni from 1951-1967.
“I tried to look around to see if any of my folks were here,” Emma Glover Harley – a 1951 alumni said. “But I don’t see nobody. I don’t see nobody here who finished school with me.”
Glover Harley was brought to the event by her nephew, Warren Rodgers Jr. who attended the school in the 1960s before it was closed. He then transferred into the integrated school system. Rodgers was one of the main planners of the marking, which took four years of preparation with the state of Florida, to implement.
Rodgers traveled from Chicago, Illinois to attend the event. There, he spoke alongside former classmate and college roommate Henry Charles Goodwin Jr.
““We had some great memories here,” Goodwin Jr. said. “Great memories. And we learned a lot, we did a lot, and we shared a lot. Both in the community which raised us as well as this school which was the incubator.”
The Rosenwald Alumni Association paid for the sign honoring their former school. Around 30-40 former students attended the event to celebrate the commemoration and take pictures in front of the sign. The gathering also served as an opportunity for the former classmates to reconnect, Rodgers Jr. said.
“Even when you left here, you were still writing to friends,” Rodgers Jr. said. “We were Facebook before Facebook existed. I mean you know we did it the hard way we would write letters to each other.”
While Rosenwald closed in 1967, it has reopened and is serving as an alternative school for students in grades 6-12.