Fred Douglass alumni to host reunion beginning Friday

Published on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 17:30 - Written by By Kelly Gooch kgooch@tylerpaper.com

Fred Douglass High School alumni will come together this weekend for a reunion.

Various activities are planned for the 14th anniversary event, which is themed “Honor Our Legacy ... Define Our Future,” according to a news release.

The Fred Douglass Alumni Association Reunion is scheduled to begin Friday morning with Golf Challenge at The Woods and go through Sunday, the release states.

Darlene McClelland Lewis, publicity chairwoman for the alumni association, said one of the biggest activities is the car show on Saturday, and winners will receive trophies.

She said there will also be a raffle, and attendees are going to dress western for the gala and dinner Saturday night. Attendees will attend church together on Sunday, she said, and the minister is always a Fred Douglass graduate who has gone into the ministry.

In the end, Ms. Lewis said, the purpose is for attendees not to forget their high school and their roots.

“All of us have at least one teacher who was a mentor and inspired us,” she said.

Additionally, the hope is that the anniversary reunion will make more people want to be a part of plans for a new Jacksonville community center and “help with what we’re striving to do,” she said.

Earlier this month, the Jacksonville City Council unanimously approved a special use permit for land around Lincoln Park, bringing the proposed community center project one step closer to reality.

Willie Howard, president of the nonprofit Fred Douglass Community Development Corporation and the Fred Douglass Alumni Association, has said the community center would help people become more self-sufficient and have programs for youth, children and adults.

Proposed services include career planning, tutoring, clothes closet, college preparation, senior activities and childcare, according to a letter from the Fred Douglass Community Development Corporation, which has a mission “to advance the social and economic well-being of individuals and families in Jacksonville, Texas and surrounding communities.”

Howard has said the community center would be built on property that once housed Fred Douglass High School and is proposed to be 7,500 square feet and cost about $900,000.

The goal as of earlier this month was to start building the community center next summer or sooner.