TARPON SPRINGS — The first graduating class from the current Tarpon Springs High School on Gulf Road is coming back to town.
The Class of 1963 is getting together for its 50th reunion this weekend. About 50-60 people are expected to attend Friday’s meet and greet at Paul’s Shrimp House in the Sponge Docks. Reunion organizers said they are expecting about 90 people, including spouses, to attend Saturday’s Big Banquet Celebration at the Tarpon Springs Yacht Club.
Even more monumental than being the current high school’s initial graduating class, Tarpon Springs’ first black graduating student, Sandra Roberts, has “Class of 1963” on her diploma, as well.
In the early 1960s only a handful of black Pinellas County secondary students were attending integrated schools. Despite a 1965 federal court desegregation order, the Pinellas School Board did not vote to formally integrate until 1971.
A small group of Class of 1963 alumni have been working since last year to begin organizing this milestone moment, including the formation of an E-Committee in April.
The entire reach-out effort was conducted via email, phone or standard mail, the group said in an email.
“Everybody is so excited,” said one of the organizers during a phone interview. Another member stated a preference for all individuals to remain anonymous for this write-up after initiating contact with The Suncoast News for coverage. “We started out thinking nobody would come to this reunion and now we have 90 people.”
Part of the weekend’s scheduled events is a wreath tossing for the 26 classmates who have passed away.
Many 1950s- and 1960s-themed activities, sights and sounds will be incorporated and some guest teachers and coaches are expected to attend.