Almost 60 years to the day since becoming Brownwood High School graduates, the class of 1958 returns home for a reunion inside Senior Citizens Center.
As part of their 60th anniversary, the class of 1958 will make a sizeable donation to the Brownwood Educational Foundation, which provides funds for Brownwood ISD activities.
“From time to time we discussed that at some point we would like to make a class gift to the school or school district,” said Jerry DeHay, Brownwood city councilman and member of the class of 1958. “.. One of our class members said ‘This is our 60th. Are we even going to be around for a 70th? If we’re going to do something, then we probably ought to do it now.’ That kicked it off.”
DeHay said more than 70 members of his graduating class of 187 plan to attend the April 21 reunion, which he said is astounding considering the number of classmates that either moved or passed away.
Among those are students who gained state-wide, national or even international acclaim. Lynn Neighbors, who served for 14 years in the Texas House of Representatives and is listed as one of the top 10 legislators by Texas Monthly, plans to attend as does local restaurant owner Lynn Underwood. Former Glen Campbell and Roger Miller bass guitarist and songwriter Bill Graham will return home as well as Louisiana State University’s first female provost Carolyn Hooper and Ben Lednickey, who was recognized by TxDOT as one of the state’s premiere landscape architects.
The class of 1958 was one of the first BHS classes to integrate. DeHay said his class set itself apart from many because of an expectation instilled by parents as well as BHS staff and administrators.
“There was just an acceptance that went on here that did not happen in a lot of other places,” DeHay said. “… By the time we were sophomores, we were a force to reckon with in school elections and everything else. If you messed with one of us, then you had to deal with all of us. It was more than a speech. It was an atmosphere in our junior high and high school where you could be whatever you wanted to be. We’re going to do our best to prepare you, but you need to go out, keep your head held high and be proud of where you came from.”
It seems that pride continues even 60 years later.
“That was a big part of the cultural environment that developed,” DeHay said. “For whatever reason, there was an incredible outcome. We have people that are literally rocket scientists. You never dreamed they would become rocket scientists.”
The reunion begins at 10 a.m. and runs through 5 p.m.