It began last year with a lighthearted conversation between a couple of friends and coworkers.
Established in 1940, Dorsey Attendance Center is now in its 79th year. In its eight decades, the small school has seen thousands of children run through its hallways, fill its classrooms, eat in its lunchroom. Two of those students are Dorsey Attendance Center Cafeteria Manager Natalie Blackmon and first grade teacher Lisa Christian. From time to time, the two friends would discuss having a reunion for former students of the longtime school they both attended.
A few months ago, they decided to test the waters on social media and see if any of their fellow classmates … regardless of when they actually attended the school … would be interested in a get-together.
“Natalie mentioned it to me several times, and others thought that it was a wonderful idea,” Christian said. “So, in May I told her I was going to set up a Facebook page and Natalie said ‘go with it.’”
Much to their surprise, within days the “Dorsey School Reunion” Facebook page had spiked to more than 700 members. Today, the page is just a few members shy of hitting 1,000.
“I was just floored,” Christian said. “Dorsey is such a special place to us all. I grew up here and then came back to teach here.”
After photos and memories began to pour onto the page, members started inquiring about having a reunion of former students. That interest among former students led to the planning of the first of two reunions.
“Our first reunion night is for students who attended from the 1940s to the 1980s,” Christian said. That reunion is set for Sept. 26. It’ll begin at 6 p.m. with a special dedication at the school’s old lunchroom, which now serves as the school’s library.
After the ceremony, guides will be on hand for tours through the school’s buildings. Several of the school’s oldest buildings are still in use. The old gym, now only used occasionally, still sports the color blue last worn on Bulldog basketball jerseys in 1975. In 1976, the school changed its colors to black and gold.
There will be a light reception in the school’s current gym. Reunion attendees are encouraged to bring photos or memorabilia from the years they attended the school.
Dr. Karen Gray also attended the school and now serves as its assistant principal.
“It feels like home,” she said of her childhood school. “It’s a very special place, we feel like family.”
Barbecue plates will be available for the K-4 fundraiser during the event. Tickets are available for $8 and must be purchased in advance. They can be picked up at the school or the money can be sent to Reunion, 1 Dorsey School Road, Fulton, MS 38843. The tickets will be held at the door. Proceeds will go to the school’s PTO.
The reunion for students from the 1990s forward will be held October 24. Those interested can follow the Facebook page “Dorsey School Reunion” for updates.
Former students who called Dorsey Attendance Center home are, of course, invited to attend.
“We hope everyone will come and join us,” Gray said. ”We anticipate it being a very special night.”