Reunion planned for all T.W. Martin alumni

By JENNIFER COHRON
Posted 9/30/18

Several generations of T.W. Martin graduates will get together in October to reminisce and celebrate their school pride.The Martin High School Reunion is planned for Saturday, Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. to …

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Reunion planned for all T.W. Martin alumni

Posted

Several generations of T.W. Martin graduates will get together in October to reminisce and celebrate their school pride.

The Martin High School Reunion is planned for Saturday, Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Jasper Civic Center.

There is no cost to attend, and the reunion is open to anyone associated with the school — former students, graduates, teachers, coaches, support staff and community members from 1949 to 2006, when the school was closed. 

More than 1,200 people attended the last reunion for all Martin alumni in 2011. 

The gathering was held at a park near Gorgas Steam Plant. The school, named for former Alabama Power President Thomas W. Martin, had already been torn down after being vandalized and burning several times in the years after it closed.

Though losing the school building was a blow to alumni, it was the close-knit community housed within it that made Martin special. 

"It was just like a family," said Beckie Martin, a member of the class of 1964.

Martin's mother taught third grade at the school and retired from there. One of her many students was Daryl Custred, now an optometrist in Jasper. 

"When I started, every one of my teachers was either related to me or I went to church with them or something like that," Custred said.

Custred's grandmother worked in the lunchroom throughout his years at Martin and ended her career as head dietician.

Custred estimated that the average total enrollment for grades 1 through 12 at Martin was around 400 students. There were 23 people in his graduating class in 1974.

Martin's last graduating class was in 2000. Approximately 90 students attended Martin during the final year, when it included only lower grades.

A committee began planning the current reunion, which was originally scheduled for June, in February.

Martin graduates from the mid-1950s onward as well as the widow of Hub Dotson, a beloved Martin football coach and principal, are expected to attend.

Custred said the committee has discussed paying the transportation costs of some alumni who live in assisted living facilities to make the trip to the reunion.

Members of Martin's later classes have been slower to sign on for the reunion. 

"They don't think about getting in touch with people because they still see their friends. When you get older, you slow down and things mean more to you,"" Martin said.

Custred, a former school photographer, is compiling a slide show of pictures that will be shown during the reunion.

Custred also has reels of Martin vs. Parrish football games from 1966, 1968, 1975 and 1976 and Martin vs. Oakman in the 1980s as well as footage of the school's band playing the alma mater and performing at pep rallies.

Tables for each class will be set up for the reunion. Alumni are encouraged to bring any photos, mementos or artifacts from the school that they would like to display at their class table.

Class photos will be taken at 2 p.m. 

Though there is no charge to attend the reunion, donations are being accepted to cover the cost of food.

Hatt Hill BBQ will be serving lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Donations should be made payable to Martin High School Alumni Fund and can be mailed to Ruby Amerson Brown at 2511 Gilley Court, Jasper, AL 35504 or given to Debra Gant Parra at Hatt Hill BBQ, located on Highway 269 in Parrish.

Alumni can also support the reunion by purchasing a Martin 2018 Reunion shirt. The shirts are $15 and are available now at Hatt Hill BBQ and at Custred's office on Airport Road. Shirts will also be available the day of the reunion.

Those interested in attending the reunion are asked to RSVP to twmartin.warriors@yahoo.com by Oct. 15.