Emotional reunion for segregated students in Montgomery County - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Emotional reunion for segregated students in Montgomery County

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GAITHERSBURG, Md -

There was an emotional reunion for students who attended segregated schools in Montgomery County, from 1927 to 1960.

It brought together students and teachers who lived through many turbulent times together. Billy Gordon had a big hug for his kindergarten teacher, Annie Rhodes.

"Whenever I hear your voice, it takes me back to Rock Terrace Elementary," Gordon told her. It was segregated when he went there back in the late 1950's.

"I was tough on them but they know I love them them," Rhodes says. "And I am so proud now of how they succeeded.

Succeeded during those rough first years of integration.

"I went to Broome Junior high school, and there were negative experiences every day of the school."

Gordon eventually changed schools and thrived. He's now the Assistant Principal at Herbert Hoover Middle School in the County.

He credits the teachers from the segregated schools with his success, and that of so many others at the reunion.

"Just being able to recognize them is so heartwarming," Gordon says,

Sentiment echoed by keynote speaker Reverend Jane Wood--another Rock Terrace Alum.

"Miss Campbell had a sign above the clock that said time passes, will you?" Wood told the audience." That meant stop looking at the clock and learn your lessons."

Life lessons that got these students through difficult times, in school and in life. From segregated schools to an integrated society.

"I think the important lesson of all of this is to embrace the diversity, and recognize that all the different groups of people bring something unique and special to the table," Wood says.

As the students and teachers from the segregated schools get older, reunions become that much more important. Plans are already in the works for the next one.


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