Keith High School celebrates 100 year anniversary

Published 6:45 am Monday, July 10, 2023

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Keith High School has been a staple in the Orrville Community for years. On July 1, Keith celebrated its 100-year anniversary at the school with a prom to commemorate the event.

Alumni from throughout the 100 years of Keith High School flooded the halls once again to celebrate the school that did so much for them in their childhood.

Pictures of the different classes from Keith’s history were taken all the way back to the early 1950s.

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Different eras of Keith Bears shared memories that they had during their time at the school and while they talked the difference in the eras became apparent.

“I graduated when Mr.Caldwell was principal,” 1972 Keith Graduate Deborah Crumpton said. “He instilled in us the value of going to college and getting an education. That was already instilled in my family as well. We were a small school we didn’t have the resources of some larger schools but we got the foundations. I graduated from the University of Alabama and got two degrees there.

“I went on to Texas and got a master’s degree from TCU and Southern Methodist Divinity School. One of the things I learned from my time here was in the days of integration at school and bussing we didn’t do the bussing but what Mr.Caldwell did was brought in white faculty and that was my introduction to the world of integration.”

In 1965, Keith High School looked very different when Crumpton graduated in 1972 despite only being separated for seven short years.

“We were taking busses from here and going to marches in Selma,” 1965 graduate Minnie Mosley said.

Despite the outside world not being together Mosley said that Keith was a different story

“The school was great,” Mosley said. “The teachers were great. We had no problems in the schools whatsoever. The principal at the time was Issac McCoy. He was a great principal.”

The one thing that everyone kept saying was just how much Keith meant to them and how much they enjoyed being back. A lot of the Alumni had come from out of town to be back for the 100-year celebration and listening to the conversations going on despite the school being small the success of the students was not small at all.

“I came here as a fifth grader,” 1980 Keith Graduate Cassandra Crumpton Moorer said. “I was here seven years. I had a great experience playing in the band and playing basketball. The history of Keith and the things that the teachers instilled in us and that started with our principal Mr. Caldwell. He was here for 15 years. When I left he left in 1980… I went on to graduate from the University of Alabama and played basketball there. I went on to have a career in Europe as well as the WNBA. I think all of that started here with the community and this school. I went on to coach and mentor young people as well. Coming from this small school most people would think wow you have all those people? We have people from all walks of life that came from here and went on to go to these places and become doctors, lawyers, and everything.”

Overall the day and evening was a success. The night ended with a prom that showed pictures of the classes and the families of the Keith High Alumni.

One of the main coordinators of the event, former Judge Maggie Drake-Peterson, said she was extremely proud to see come to fruition.

“I think this is a fantastic event,” Peterson said. “Obviously I’m not the only one who felt that way because of the turnout. We are looking forward to garnering support for this school. This school has a long illustrious history and we want to maintain that history.”