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Reunion connects students of Lincoln Junior High

Mar. 31, 2013 @ 11:34 PM

They danced, reminisced and took photos. They also clamored to have their photos taken with retired coach Jim Morgan.

The all-years' reunion of Lincoln Junior High School came together Saturday night with 105 former students attending at the Knights of Columbus in Huntington.

A junior high reunion?

"It was the time of my life," said Gary Hale, reunion organizer. He attended the now closed school from 1966 through 1968.

From a posting on the school's Facebook page about a month ago, it took shape. People streamed in carrying food, yearbooks and trophies. A DJ set up on the dance floor, and the party began.

The LJHS Lions were the Cabell County football and basketball champions in 1967, and several of those teammates showed up, as did their coach, Jim Morgan, now 77.

"The best part of this is seeing kids I haven't seen in 20 years," Morgan said between photos. He was in high demand, greeting former players and students. "I never forget a face," Morgan said, admitting some of the names escaped him.

"The timing was right to do this," Hale said. It had been tried a few times over the years, but was unsuccessful. The group originally planned to meet at a local restaurant for lunch, but the interest was so high, a larger venue had to be found.

Through networking, 75 people committed to attend, and they knew the restaurant was not a good plan.

Lincoln Junior High, on 10th Avenue at 26th Street, was opened in 1924 and in 1960 had nearly 600 students walking its halls. From there, student population declined, and in 1989, the doors permanently closed and students sent to Enslow, Beverly Hills and Cammack junior highs.

"It was the best time," Mary Ann Winters McComas said. She was at Lincoln from 1967 to 1971. "We had fun. It was a more innocent time in our lives."

For Brenda Nichols Archer, 1965-1967, it was a chance to be in a different class than her twin sister, Linda.

"It was an opportunity to make new friends," she said. Until that time, the twins had been in the same classroom. When they arrived at Lincoln, the two had a common homeroom, but after that, they separated for the rest of the school day.

She also remembered feeling so grown up then. "It was the first time I got to wear stockings," Archer said.

The social life of the school in the late 1960s centered around lunch time "sock hops," dances, recalled Brenda Lam Carel, a Lion from 1968 through 1971. The girls danced in two facing lines on the gym floor in their socks or stocking feet while the boys watched from the bleachers.

At the reunion, it was pretty much the same, the girls on the dance floor, and the guys watching. Occasionally, mostly during slow dances, they ventured out to show their moves.

Time and time again, from table to table, you heard laughter, stories from the past and watched old friends embrace or shake hands.

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