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9th grade class of 1943 first to wear cap and gown

<p>SUBMITTED PHOTO</p><p>9th Grade Graduation, 1943.</p>

SUBMITTED PHOTO

9th Grade Graduation, 1943.

She was my 9th grade school teacher.

Anna Basinger Adams. We called her Miss Ann.

She was born in the Mount Zion community west of Greenwood. She attended school in Greenwood and Ouachita Baptist College in Arkadelphia where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree, later teaching and becoming principal of Jenny Lind Jr. High. She was sponsor of our 9th grade class.

Miss Ann was popular and well liked. I’m sure she was partly responsible for the May 1943 9th grade class making history, the first to wear caps and gowns, graduating from the 9th grade.

No doubt, we (that year’s 9th grade graduates), were just as responsible, agreeing with Miss Ann, deeming the whole idea was much wiser than planning a class trip or forming a committee to make plans for constructing a sidewalk with our names permanently inscribed for the public to see for years to come.

Graduating from the 6th grade in 1940 is not very memorable. I do remember what we as a class wore, and my memory is still good of Mr. J.H. Dunn as teacher and principal, my penmanship teacher.

Several ladies in the community were asked to make the dresses for the girls of the 6th grade graduating class. Margaret Tookey, Wanda Sue’s mother, made mine…shirt-waisted with full skirts and cut from royal blue dotted-Swiss material, a style not suited for everyday wear for later, so mine became my Sunday dress to wear to Sunday School where Mr. and Mrs. J.A. Webb taught classes in the old Central Office building the rest of summer.

Memories of attending 7th and 8th grades at Jenny Lind Jr. High are vague. Those two years seemed to whiz by, but then came 9th grade in 1943, sadly my last year.

Seventy-five years is a long time to hold onto memories of some happenings in life, but when it comes to graduation, that’s a different story, when each one takes on a different meaning. As I wondered what the next three years in Greenwood would bring, and what my 12th grade graduation would be like…but now I continue to remember Jenny Lind Jr. High and Miss Ann.

Miss Ann’s personality (as I remember) was sometime unpredictable. She wasn’t severe on discipline, but she did know how to “keep us on our toes” and we knew she meant business when she instructed us to read so many books and make so many book reports each semester. Others might remember her for her skills as a basketball coach. All in all…Miss Ann…a fine teacher.

I’ll never forget how I felt walking across the stage to receive my diploma, decked out in my cap and gown. It’s been said “sometime clothes make a person.” It had to be the cap and gown. I know one thing for sure…I felt wiser and as my mama would say…”older beyond my years.”

On that day, back in May, 1943.

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