BY LANITA WITHERS Staff Writer  Greensboro News & Record

EDEN - It's been 64 years since the Leaksville High School class of 1937 graduated. When the group gets together, there's still laughter from old friends catching up on good times. Members of the class, now 81 years old, flip through their purple and gold yearbook, The Pilot, to remember how everyone looked at 18. They sing their alma mater, praising their school on the city's eastern border, though no one remembers who first wrote the words or music to the song. The alumni pass around pictures of their school. Photos and memories are all they have left since the school was torn down years ago.

In short, they enjoy themselves and each other. So much so, that in 2000 they decided to get together every year instead of waiting the customary five-year increment for high school reunions.

As class member Lucille Stone Alley put it, ''At our age, you don't wait another one year or two years to get together.''

Thus began the new tradition of mini-reunions for the class of '37. Every year, Dan Squires, the reunion organizer, and his wife of 58 years, Hazel, contact classmates from across the nation. Many live only a couple of blocks from Squires while others live as far away as Dallas or Washington state.

Some decide to come only to the big shindig every five years, but about 20 to 25 of the graduates from near and far came last year for a night of fun at the Eden Golden Corral restaurant. This year's mini-reunion will be held Aug. 8 at 5 p.m., again at the Golden Corral.

Of the 109 graduates in the class, 67 are still living, 27 of them in Eden. Twenty-two classmates survived action in World War II. When America joined the war effort in 1941, they were 21 years old, the prime age to be drafted. ''We're fortunate. No doubt about that,'' Alley said.

There's also no doubt about the influence members of the class have had on the community. Graduates include the late James Fair, former president of Fair Funeral Home; the Rev. Robert Turner, a local minister; Lois Frazier, professor at Meredith College in Raleigh; and Squires, who served on the Draper City Council from 1965 until Eden was formed in 1968 and also served on the Eden council from 1975 to 1991 and from 1995 to 1999.

Then there's the class's mascot, Richard Thomas - then five years old - now the mayor of Lexington.

Through all of their successes, class members remember they were prepared for life with the instruction received at Leaksville High. Turner has fond memories of his high school Latin teacher, Helen Jones, who made him stay after school for a month to practice the language.

''She saw college in me instead of digging ditches,'' he said. After Turner finished his studies at Davidson College and Union Theological Seminary, he called his former teacher to thank her.

While the bricks and mortar of Leaksville High School are no longer there, the memory of the school stays in the graduates' hearts. Turner and Squires both keep a drawing of the school hanging on their walls, and Alley has her 1937 yearbook in easy reach.

''I'd drive up there (where the school was) once in a while and stop and remember,'' Turner said. ''Just shut my eyes and imagine.''

Leaksville High School

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