The 1948 graduating class of Statesboro High School will hold its 62nd annual class reunion at R.J.'s Steakery and Seafood on South Main Street in Statesboro beginning at 11 a.m on Saturday. Some 25 to 30 class members are expected to celebrate the occasion. The class graduated on May 31, 1948 under the leadership of S. H. Sherman, the superintendent, and Alvin L. McLendon the principal.
In the general time period following the end of World War II, a number of changes took place in the schools of Georgia and especially in Statesboro. For the first time, the four year high school curriculum was expanded to five years, allowing a student to graduate as a 12th grader.
The 1947 class was the first afforded the opportunity to expand the extra year, making their 12th year as part of the graduating class in 1948. It was a choice for them, not mandatory, and a few of the students did take the option, mostly for the opportunity of an additional year to play football. Coach Ernest Teel was head of football activities for SHS in that time period. In subsequent years attending through the 12th grade was made mandatory for all students.
The Board of Education that supervised the city school system and inaugurated the extra year of school was chaired by Horace Z. Smith, with members Bonnie Morris, F. Everett Williams, Mrs. V. F. Agan and Mrs. Grady Attaway.
In the high school, Mary Lou Carmichael was dean of girls and sponsor of the Criterion yearbook, while Lillie Deal was boys' counselor, as well as sponsor of the school newspaper, The "Hi-Owl." George Marion Shearouse was director of the band and musical activities, and Shirley Lanier (Daugherty) was drum major.
Some 19 students made up a group known as "The Original Club," where membership honored those who remained together all the years since entering elementary school up to graduation. The members were:
Charlotte Boyd, Fay Anderson, Shirley Lanier, Jan Murphy, Dot Jarrell, Jerona Anderson, C. J. Williams, Bobby Taylor, Betty June Olliff, Tallulah Lester, Lane Johnston, Jackie Rushing, Harold DeLoach, Lougenia Wilson, Bobby Stephens, Michael McDougald, Alex Hunnicutt, Don Johnson and Geneva Pelote.
Honor graduates in 1948 included John F. Brannen, Sara Neville, Bucky Akins, Shirley Lanier, Donald Hostetler, Charlotte Clements, Lane Johnston, Shirley Helmly, Bobby Taylor and Betty Jean Mikell.
Robert Parrish and Louie Simmons were named to membership of the All Star Football Team of the East Georgia Football Association.
One feature of the year was the establishment of a special award, presented by the class of 1942, to a student, deemed the Outstanding Member of the Senior Class who 'best represented the standards of the school.' It was given as the Darley-Poindexter-Waters Cup, honoring three members of the 1942 class who were killed in World War II. Michael McDougald was the recipient of the award in its first year. The Miss SHS title went to Charlotte Clements, also named The Prettiest and The Most Popular. Mr. SHS title went to Louie Simmons, named Most Handsome and Most Popular.
During 1948, the SHS Blue Devils football team won 8 games, lost 1 game (to Dublin) and tied with Sylvania.
The yearbook, always known as the Criterion, was supervised by faculty member Mary Lou Carmichael and was edited in 1948 by Charlotte Clements (Crittenden) and associate editor Lane Johnston, while the Hi-Owl student newspaper, supervised by Mrs. Lillie Deal, was edited by W.S. Hanner and Dan Blitch.
A small ‘broadcast' studio was built into the Lilly Deal classroom from which students could make radio reports through the school public address system. This innovation was tied to the recent (1946) establishment of a local radio station, WWNS and a new phase of journalism entered the curriculum.
As the group gathers for the 62nd reunion, tribute will be paid to 30 members of the class who are now deceased.
Class planners for this year's reunion include Charlotte Clements Crittenden and Sara Neville Bennett of Statesboro, Don Johnson of Savannah and Michael McDougald of Rome.