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Willow Hill School Reunion Celebrates the Past and Prepares for the Future

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Posted: August 30, 2007 5:28 p.m.
Updated: September 14, 2007 5:00 a.m.
    Alumni and friends of Willow Hill School in Portal will be gathering on the grounds of Willow Hill Saturday and Sunday for a reunion.
    The theme of the reunion and community homecoming is “From Slavery to Success – A Dream Not To Be Forgotten.”  The Willow Hill School, which was founded by freed slaves in 1874,  served Bulloch County students for 125 years at its closing in 1999.
    The reunion events are sponsored by the Willow Hill Heritage and Renaissance Center.  This non-profit organization, whose 12 directors
are direct descendants of the original founders, purchased the Willow
Hill School in 2005 to develop it into a museum and community center.
    Over 100 students from classes dating back to the 1930s are expected
 to attend the reunion. The events start Saturday morning (9 a.m. – 1
 p.m.) with registration, genealogy-related workshops for adults and
 children, and a tour of the museum exhibit “A Dream Not to Be
 Forgotten.”
    Alumni and friends of Willow Hill are encouraged to  participate in the oral history recording workshop and bring pictures  to be copied for the museum archives. The Saturday night banquet (5  p.m. – 9 p.m.) can be attended for a donation of $25. One of the  highlights of the banquet will be a presentation by living history performer, Amir Jamal Toure of Savannah.
     A gospel concert will  be held Sunday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., and is free and open to the public.
    The Willow Hill Heritage and Renaissance Center will recognize and
 honor teachers, alumni and community people at the banquet.  Legendary
 rhythm and blues singer and Grammy winner, Joe Simon, now Bishop Joe
 Simon, will be one of the first recipients of the “Humanitarian Award.”
      He will be recognized for his invaluable contributions to music
 history and his world-wide ministries.  In 1999, Simon received the
 Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Award.  He presently  holds the office as the Second Presiding Bishop of the Mission  Consortium of Churches International. He will be present at all  Saturday events to meet people.
     All who are interested in attending this event or would like more
 information please contact Mrs. Sarah Lee at (912) 865-2658, Dr. Gayle
 Jackson at (419) 307-3871 or check the Web site www.willowhillheritage.org.
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