1991 Reunion Committee
This picture is the first Reunion Committee and includes Mary Render Acree, who first envisioned the Reunion idea. The combined gathering has allowed Fair Street and Butler High alumni to reminisce, reflect, and fellowship since 1991.
While researching for this article–meaning: I asked my wife–we found a pamphlet on the history of the Fair Street- Butler High School Reunion.
Here are some highlights to save you from the boring details. The Fair Street-Butler High Schools Reunion began in 1991 as the dream of Mrs. Acree. She envisioned ” someday seeing classmates, teachers, and staff of the two schools from near and far unite and reminisce about school days and friendships.”
“For most of the twenty years, I lived in Cleveland, Ohio,” said Acree in the ninth biennial Reunion program. “I often thought of the fond memories and good times of my years at Fair Street. I wanted to relive my memories so much that I finally packed my bags and moved back to Gainesville. Upon returning home, I invited a few of my high school friends to my place. I showed them an outline of my idea for a reunion and asked if they would help make this dream real.” And from Mrs. Acree’s foresight, the first Fair Street – Butler Reunion was born.
The first committee members were: Dora Nell Randolph Cantrell, Charrie Morrow Goudelock, Barbara Jean Price Grant, Patricia Brown Hudson, Linda Rucker Hutchens, Betty Ivory Hailey, Thomas Hailey, Wanda Ann Smith Hale, Robert Lee Hale, Berlinda Turner Lipscomb, Deborah Keith Mack, Alton Mattox, Frances Jenkins Meadows, Alma Jane Hunter Shelton, and Blondine Summerour.
Mrs. Acree stated, “We had no funds to start with, so we paid approximately $25.00 dues each month. We had a couple of fundraisers to help fund the event. The Reunion was remarkably successful, with over 500 Alumni from all across the country attending. What a fantastic group!”
Mrs. Acree had a dream and moved back home to make it a joyous reality. It is remarkable that her aspirations continue to evolve and touch many lives. The Reunion existed for 28 years, or 14 biennial events through 2019. Due to the Pandemic, we had a one-day outing in 2021 and will establish a two-day format on September 3-4, 2022.
Thomas Hailey, who has held nearly every position, including President, is currently the Parliamentarian and Leader of the Fundraising team.
Deborah Keith Mack, President from 1993-2001, was appointed President Emeritus at Reunion 2019 and now serves as a member of the Executive Leadership Team.
Linda Rucker Hutchens remains our historian and custodian of memorabilia.
Barbara Price Grant led the Metro Atlanta-Gainesville Connection Organization, supporting us until the organization dissolved. Some individual members continue to assist us by participating and contributing financially, and Barbara still advises us on many issues today.
The Fair St-Butler High School Alumni Association, Inc. has changed in many ways. We are now a corporation with a 501(C) 3 Charter that supports the Gainesville-Hall County area in many ways. The Reunions are smaller than the first one as members age. However, younger people like Patience Lyle Jackson, Cynthia Randolph, Angela Hughey, Gwenell Brown, and Barese Watkins-Hope serve on the BOD. They encourage those who did not attend the historically Black High Schools to help keep the flame burning.
We trust that Mary Render Acree and other deceased members would approve of what the organization has become and how the Tiger Nation still comes together to reminisce and enjoy each other as she dreamt.
Nathaniel Shelton, CFO
Teacher & Mentor at E.E. Butler