CRANE HILL, Ala. – The yearly reunion of Dowling Junior High School students was held Saturday in Crane Hill at Dowling Memorial Park, the site of the old school. Former classmates came out to reminisce about their times at their junior high school and catch up with one other.
Dowling Junior High School, home of the Indians, was lost to arson in 1996, but the lunchroom was separate from the main school building and was unharmed. Shortly after the fire, the alumni of Dowling began organizing the yearly reunions that take place every year on the first Saturday of November. The former cafeteria also houses a small museum exhibit of memorabilia from the school.
Dolores Williams Lott and her brother Ruben Williams attend the reunion each year and laugh about the many wonderful memories they share.
“Basketball was king at Dowling,” Williams smiled.
This is evident, as the trophies and championship photos of past teams are displayed proudly on the walls.
Lott, who finished Dowling in 1946, remembers the teachers as smart, dedicated and understanding of the students’ responsibilities at home.
“Most of us grew up on the farm and we had to miss school to gather cotton, but our teachers were kind and tried to help me and the others who lived on the farm,” she said. “We made it. They say going through hard times is a (character) builder.”
Alumni spanning multiple decades attended this year’s reunion, reminiscing over a potluck lunch. They also took a moment to pay respects to those they’ve lost over the past year.
Perry Eddy, who attended Dowling for several years in the late 1950s before moving to Helicon, shared, “Churches and schools are the heart of a community. It’s their identity. Dowling was a huge part of Crane Hill’s identity.”
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