The academic school year of 1958-59 brings back fond memories for both Denzil Adams and Kenny Crabb.
In 1958-59, both became principals at new schools located in Clay County, as Adams became principal at East Side and Crabb at Meridian.
"It seems like it was only yesterday," Adams told The Brazil Times recently. "The thing that stands out in my mind is that we were expecting 360-365 students and 406 showed up.
"I opened the building when it was brand new," Crabb said, reflecting on his time at Meridian. "I enjoyed it very much. I was there for eight years. It was a great time, but it was the largest situation I had."
Prior to 1958, Crabb had served as principal at Jackson Street Elementary School, where he also taught sixth-grade.
Likewise, Adams was principal at Pinckley Street Elementary, where he also taught half of the day.
Adams said when East Side opened, students from Alabama and Zeller elementaries made up the new school, while Crabb said students from Jackson and Meridian Street elementaries attended the new Meridian school.
"The four of us would sit down and do it," Crabb said.
"That was a real new experience," Adams added.
In a little more than a month, the two former educators will get to relive some of those memories as 50 years later, these two schools have planned celebrations marking a half-century of service in the community.
Both schools are in the planning stages for the celebrations, which are scheduled to take place in May.
East Side Principal Mary Ray, who has been in her position since 1992, said the school's Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) has scheduled a carnival and car show for May 1, from 6-8 p.m.
"We've talked about trying to do something at the carnival," Ray said.
She added a time capsule that was buried on school grounds several years ago might be unearthed at the event.
Adams is the only other principal the school has known, serving from 1958-92.
Current Meridian Elementary Principal Karen Phillips, who has been in her position for 15 years, said school officials and teachers have been planning their celebration.
Prior to Phillips coming to Meridian, the school has had only two other principals, including Crabb and Mauri Modesitt.
The birthday party is scheduled for May 11-15.
Kindergarten Instructional Assistant Susie Howard, who has been at Meridian for 31 years, is also helping set up the celebration.
"I knew it had to be done," Howard said.
Students will kick off the event in an assembly and will sing Happy Birthday for the school while enjoying a birthday cupcake.
The students will also be involved in a 50's-style sock hop, door decorating contest, picnic, 50 physical education activities, dances that reflect the 1950's, a writing activity to share memorable moments at the school and drawings of the past, present and future of the school.
In addition, Phillips said students would have a birthday hat contest.
"The staff is planning everything," she said.
According to Phillips, a special reception is being planned for retirees and alumni at the school, tentatively set for Friday, May 15, at 3 p.m. All retirees and alumni are invited to attend and, as part of the celebration, school officials are encouraging all alumni and past staff to bring any written recollections, photos and memorabilia to share.
A time capsule was also buried many years ago at Meridian as well and it will be dug up and shared with students and all that attend the Friday, May 15 event.
Phillips said invitations would be mailed to retired staff members.
Those planning to attend the celebration are asked to RSVP to the school by calling 448-8560, Ext. 2600, by May 1.
Adams said his recollection of time spent at East Side gives him plenty of reason to want to attend a celebration.
"I have many, many fond memories," Adams said of his time at East Side.
Crabb echoed Adams' sentiments, and added he was unaware it had been 50 years.
"I never even gave it a thought," Crabb said. "That's going to be something."