For only the third time in the school’s history, the alumni of Greenbrier East High School will hold an all-school reunion this summer. The event will also mark the golden anniversary of GEHS’s first graduating class in 1969.
During that 50-year span, between 15,000 and 16,000 people have graduated from the Fairlea school, according to reunion organizer Jeanie Porterfield Wyatt.
Reunion activities will begin on Thursday, June 27, with a golf tournament and alumni basketball games.
Friday, June 28, is reserved for tours of the high school and individual class get-togethers.
“This will be the first time many of our older alumni will have seen the school as it stands today,” Wyatt noted.
Greenbrier East has changed over the years — from the three separate buildings linked by bare (later covered) outdoor walkways and steps originally built in the late 1960s to today’s sprawling structure that encloses five acres of space under one roof.
Most reunion-related activities will take place Saturday, June 29, in very familiar surroundings — the West Virginia State Fairgrounds, just a stone’s throw from the school. The gate will open at 1 p.m., with opening ceremonies commencing at 2:30.
After a couple of hours of mingling and catching up with old friends, grads will find the buffet line in operation from 4 to 7 p.m. Catering will be provided by Hog Wild Bar-B-Que, owned by GE alumnus Billy Level of Organ Cave. The menu will include pulled pork, pulled chicken, brisket, baked beans, cole slaw, potato salad, buns/rolls, brownies, condiments, sweet tea, lemonade and water.
In addition, the State Fair will be selling alcoholic beverages in the West Virginia Building from approximately 4 until 11 p.m. GEHS student organizations will sell concessions (light snacks, soft drinks and bottled water) and T-shirts throughout the day.
Country music icon Trace Adkins will provide a large measure of the evening’s entertainment, as he offers what he has termed a “personal concert” in the Grandstand from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Adkins’ road manager, Greg Baker, is a GEHS alum.
Dancing to tunes provided by a DJ in the West Virginia Building will round out the evening.
Child care/sitting services on Saturday night will be provided by students and a teacher from the GEHS Early Education Department.
Other GE organizations/classes involved in the reunion include the JROTC, the volleyball team, the Spartan Foundation and ProStart class.
“We wanted to make this something that East could benefit from,” Wyatt said. “Any East group can participate.”
In addition to Wyatt, the reunion committee includes more than 30 alumni, representing classes from 1969 into the 1990s.
More information about the reunion can be found on the gehsalumni.com website and on the Greenbrier East All School Reunion page on Facebook. Many individual classes also have Facebook pages.
The deadline to secure reservations for what is being called the “Main Event” — Saturday’s reunion festivities on the fairgrounds — is just around the corner. In order to provide firm numbers to caterers and other vendors, organizers require that all registration forms (complete with payment of $65 per person) be received no later than May 3.
Those eligible to register for the Main Event are graduates and former students of Greenbrier East, “whether you marched across the stage or were part of a class throughout your high school years,” as described on the GEHS All-School Reunion registration form. Each registrant may bring only one adult guest for an additional charge of $65.
Those planning to attend can register online on the reunion website (gehsalumni.com) and pay via PayPal, download a registration form, or pick up a form at the Greenbrier Valley Visitors Center in Lewisburg and mail the completed form and a check made payable to GEHS All-School Reunion to P.O Box 1159, Lewisburg, WV 24901.
Schedule of reunion activities
Thursday, June 27
• 10 a.m. - GEHS Alumni Scramble Golf Tournament: Participation is limited to the first 88 players/22 teams who register. Cost is $75 per player or $300 per team. Register and pay online (gehsalumni.com). Venue is the Lewisburg Elks Club.
• 7 p.m. - Alumni Basketball Games: Women’s game will begin at 7:15 and men’s game at 8:30. Preceding each game will be introductions and a historical highlight video. Days of Glory prior to the games will showcase alumni band members, cheerleaders, majorettes, flag corps, Golden Girls, Spartan Spirit and fans. Admission is $5.
Friday, June 28
• 2-5 p.m. - Tours of Greenbrier East High School
• Times vary - Individual class get-togethers: See gehsalumni.com or class Facebook pages for details and registration.
Saturday, June 29
• Time TBA - 5K Run
• 10 a.m. - Parade lineup on Lee Street in Lewisburg
• 11 a.m. - All-School Reunion Parade through Lewisburg
• Time TBA - Alumni Baseball Game at GEHS
Saturday, June 29, Main Event
(See registration information above.)
• 1 p.m. - Gate opens at State Fairgrounds: Attendees will pick up Reunion Event Packets upon entry through main gate tunnel.
• 1-8 p.m. - GEHS Memorabilia Hall will be set up in the Gus Douglass Building.
• 1-7 p.m. - Silent auction will be in the Gus Douglass Building.
• 2:30 p.m. - Opening ceremonies: JROTC will conduct flag-raising, with national anthem, followed by GEHS alma mater. Thereafter, various classes will conduct meet-and-greets throughout the grounds.
• 4-7 p.m. - Dinner: A buffet will be provided by Hog Wild Bar-B-Que in the West Virginia Building and outside picnic area.
7-8:30 p.m. - Concert: Grammy Award-winning country musician Trace Adkins will entertain from the Grandstand stage.
8:30-11:30 p.m. - DJ and dancing in the West Virginia Building.