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More than 200 Indian Land High School graduates from the Classes of 1930 to 1978 gathered for lunch June 26 to reminisce about their earlier years, when the community was smaller and the schools were too.
The event is a homecoming that has nothing to do with football and everything to do with coming back to the people and the places of their youth.
As the community grows, there are fewer people who remember it as the rural farming community it once was. But once a year, you can find many of them in the Indian Land Elementary School cafeteria.
Among those who remember are Barnette Potts, 100, the only remaining Class of 1930 graduate, and Louise Yarborough, Eulene Wilson Simpson and Deree Phillips of the Class of 1937.
Several groups celebrated milestones, including the Class of 1961, which celebrated its 50th anniversary. The ’61 classmates gathered the night before at Belair United Methodist Church.
“We told stories on each other,” Linda Hill Poston said.
James LaFrage, Class of 1941, was the only one of his surviving classmates to celebrate its 70th anniversary at the luncheon. LaFrage, who now lives near Camden, traveled to Indian Land with his son and daughter.
Jimmy LaFrage said he learned something new about his father while looking through the class scrapbook. He noticed his father had been in several plays during his school years.
He said his son, LaFrage’s grandson, is a music theater major and would be glad to learn that he shared that interest with his grandfather. The family photographed the playbills and snapped other memories of the day.
The extensive scrapbooks are the work of Pat Murphy, 81, Class of 1946, who handles the invitations for the classes before 1970. Joy Neal Pettit, Class of 1973, updates the invitation list and information for the later classes.
The planning committee also includes co-chairs Gene Richardson and Trish Douglas, Nancy Lois Moore and Betty and Herb Carrouth.
The scrapbooks include a list of graduates, current addresses, yearbook photos and newspaper clippings about the graduates up to the present day. They are a time capsule of Indian Land’s history.
The event grows each year when a new class is invited to attend for the first time, 33 years after their graduation year. This year’s inductees – the Class of 1978 – were honored by getting to be first in line for the potluck lunch.
The Class of 1978 had 48 members. This was a step up from the 20 or fewer in most of the earlier decades.
In comparison, the ILHS Class of 2011 had more than 130.
Many of the attendees still live in the community or nearby, but some traveled from Colorado Springs, Colo., Tallahassee, Fla., and Atlanta.
The reunion attendees also honor the current and future students of Indian Land by collecting money to donate to the schools. Last year, the reunion raised $400 for each school’s media center. This year’s collection was more than $2,000.
Next year’s reunion will be held the last Sunday in June for graduates through the Class of 1979.
For more information, contact Pat Murphy at (803) 548-1934 or Joy Neal Pettit at (803) 547-2589.