STOKES COUNTY — Following an effort involving months of research, an extensive 400-page commemorative yearbook celebrating the 50th anniversary of North Stokes High School has been released and is now available to the public.
The large, hard-covered decorative book, suitable for display or reading, features hundreds of black-and-white and color photos from the school years of 1965-2014 along with information from all facets of school life.
Primary organizers for the book was a commemorative yearbook committee composed of original faculty member Julian McKenzie as well as former graduates Bill Hart (class of ‘66), Barney Joyce (‘71), Gayle Mabe Tucker (‘75), Tammy Collins Denny (‘76), Angela Martin (‘82) and Tory Mabe (2004).
“This took two years to do,” noted Denny. “Hundreds of hours of research have gone into this and we’re pleased with and proud of the results.”
“Different people were working on each decade, spending time in the library, going through old newspapers and talking to all our living faculty members, and we all envisioned different things for the book,” she continued. “But in the end, this is exactly what we wanted. We’re thrilled to have been able to find so much information and present it in a way that can be easily read and searched in a methodical fashion.”
Denny made note of the valued contribution of committee member Tory Mabe, who had scanned every page of each yearbook, making it available for easy research and reference.
The book is dedicated to the memory of Eugene A. Lyons, who was named as North Stokes High School’s first principal in 1964 and went on to serve in that capacity for 20 years. A dedication, entitled “The Captain of the Viking Ship,” includes tributes from numerous former faculty members. The section concludes with a copy of a handwritten letter from Lyons, previously written after a request from members of the community that he share anecdotes from his life. The school’s football stadium has been renamed the E.A. Lyons Stadium in his honor.
Lyons died on March 14.
“He was our captain,” Denny said, “and an amazing man. We are saddened that he didn’t have the opportunity to see the finished book.”
A section is given to the school’s origination and the history of each school which was consolidated to make up that first student body.
The school began to operate in 1964 as a result of consolidation, bringing together students from Nancy Reynolds, Francisco, Lawsonville and Sandy Ridge. According to book committee members, most students from these small northern Stokes County communities met for the first time at the school, which to them seemed a huge facility. But the rural school was, in fact, one of the smallest 1A schools in the state and has remained such throughout the years.
“Sometimes,” Denny said, “Stokes County hasn’t been given its due. But we were all so proud of our school and our county.”
A listing of faculty members is also provided, including features on those with longest tenures. Alumni who have returned to teach at the school are also featured.
Academic awards are noted along with sections on numerous extracurricular activities. Denny noted the contributions of committee members Hart, Joyce and McKenzie for their extensive gathering of information for the athletics section.
But the heart of the book is made up of names of the more than 4,800 graduates that make up the 1965-2014 classes, along with numerous photos from each class.
“This shows the people and the families that made this school possible,” Denny said. “It brings back so many memories of the joy and happy experiences we shared, all the things that made our school something we can really be proud of. It’s a good book.”
Also included are photos of several historical sites and landmarks within the North Stokes school district along with selected histories.
Denny voiced appreciation to Frank Lawson (class of ‘68) and Nvizion Inc. for help in getting the book to printer.
Denny said the book has been enthusiastically received, with the first edition selling out in three weeks. Second edition copies are available at a cost of $45.
The books are scheduled to be available for purchase at North Stokes High School on October 21, 22 and 23 from 3-7 pm and on Oct. 24 from 10 am–4 pm.
“We’ve already had so much positive feedback from past and current faculty members, graduates and the community,” Denny noted. “For our families, this is a keepsake for years to come.”
“From the beginning,” she said, “this school has been a combination of communities. But once we came together, we were like one family. For so many of us, these were some of the happiest days of our lives.”
Dean Palmer may be reached at 336-351-4131 or firstname.lastname@example.org.