Graduates From First Black High School Celebrate 75th Reunion

Graduates from the Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C., recently reunited for their 75th reunion.

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Twenty classmates from Dunbar High School, the country’s first black high school, celebrated their 75th-year reunion last week in Southwest Washington. Graduates from the class of 1936 took part in the annual event along with more than 100 friends and families.  

What started as a way for graduates to stay in touch has now evolved into a fundraising event that helps raise scholarship money for Dunbar students heading to college and also recognizes former classmates' accomplishments.

Dunbar High School began back in 1870 in the basement of the 15th Street Presbyterian Church. The school employed black teachers during a time when most schools would not. "It was a very renowned high school, because we had well-educated teachers," said Yvonne M. Simkins, a '36 graduate. Historians say that Dunbar students excelled because of the high standards set by principals and teachers. One of Dunbar’s earliest principals was the first black graduate of Harvard University.

Simkins, 90, said that the reunion was somewhat bittersweet for her and other classmates because they all show signs of aging. “Otherwise we are just all happy to be together one more time,” she said.

It's amazing how these graduates are still around to celebrate and share their monumental achievements. Hats off to them.

Read more at the Washington Post.

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