Little remains of Leah High School.
Vicki Smith (left) of Grovetown and her mother, Carol Stankowsky, a 1945 graduate of Leah High School, look at old photos at the schools reunion Saturday at Whiteoak Campground in Appling for the classes of 1938-1949.
Photo by Donnie Fetter
The school closed after the graduation of its 1949 class, and students transferred to Harlem High School.
The two-story building that housed the school came down in the early 1950s. A gymnasium and archway in front of the school came down some time later.
Nearly all that remains of the school, once located on Ray Owens Road, are its graduates, who met for a reunion at Whiteoak Campground in Appling on Saturday.
"I hate that there's nothing left of any of the buildings to show that it was once there," 1948 graduate and former state Sen. Jake Pollard said. "The only thing that's weather beaten about the school now is us."
Dozens of graduates from classes as early as 1934 attended the reunion, which held every two years, to catch up with old friends and reminisce.
"It's great to see so many familiar faces," reunion organizer and 1948 Leah graduate Gary Blanchard said. "I look forward to catching up with all of these old friends every couple of years and see how they're doing."
More than 50 members of Leah's graduating classes that were represented at the reunion are now deceased, but the get-together focused as much on life today as it did about 65 years ago.
"I wanted to come to see how everybody looked," 1944 graduate Laura Story Adams said. "I wanted to see if there was anyone I could still recognize, and I do.
"After all these years, I couldn't resist the chance to catch up with everyone."
For the past 10 years, Blanchard has organized the reunions and intends to keep doing so as long as possible.
"We had a reunion some 20 years ago, and I couldn't understand why it took us all so long to get back together," he said. "We don't have a whole lot of time to waste anymore, so I want us all to see each again as much as we can while we can."
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