Some graduates of a racially divided school system say adversity brought them together and shared memories continue to keep them close-knit. This weekend about 300 alumni from Pascagoula's Carver High School celebrated their class reunions together. The graduates say despite the hardships of segregation, decades later, they can't help but smile.
The men and women of Carver High are all grown up now, but their memories of a difficult period in history are still very clear.
"You really didn't think of it as a black or white school because that was the way of life. Maybe we didn't have quite the equipment that white schools had, but we had teachers that took the challenge of making us better people," Class of 1969 graduate Jaffus Holloway said.
Having a worship service at Union Baptist Church wasn't unusual, because during school, they often had to use the church for events and assemblies.
In 1970, school integration changed their school to what is known today as the Pascagoula Annex. But it will take more than a name change to shake the bond between classmates.
"I'm very proud of Carver High. We have people who have become great leaders, great people. And I think a lot of that came from the teaching at Carver High," Holloway said.
They say coming back together every three years becomes more meaningful each time.
"It's a sense of bonding, because you never know who will be here next year," Beverly Hodges said.
The bond these classmates share is deeper than race, and it's something they vow to never forget.
"We've been through some challenges, but that's why we get back together. We can persevere through anything. Anything that life challenges, we can get through it. And we have," Class of 1968 graduate Judy Randall Coffey said.
The reunion was a three day event packed with parties, picnics, and a reunion ball. Organizers say they had so much fun this time around, they're going to plan to have the reunions every two years, instead of three.