Walking the halls of their high school alma mater, D.F. Walker High School, on North Oakum Street, Edenton, members of the Class of 1965 debated whether one room, now used for storage, was a math class or English class.
A little further down a bright corridor flanked by golden brown wooden doors and windows, they peaked into the art room.
“Remember when this classroom was Mr. Newsome’s office?” one of them chimed in, recalling Assistant Principal B.C. Newsome.
Four members of D.F. Walker High School’s Class of 1965 toured the old school, which now is home of the Boys and Girls Club of the Albemarle/Edenton Unit, on Thursday, April 29.
The main classroom part of the school facility had remained shuttered, in a state of disrepair for several decades, until Chowan County and the Boys and Girls Club worked on an agreement for the nonprofit to utilize the first floor.
Since opening in 2020, the halls have been ringing once again with the sound of children’s shoes hitting floor tiles and the sometimes faint buzz of after school chatter of homework, home and other things kids love to discuss.
During the tour led by Club members D’ziayah Demps and Iyona Raynor, the classmates – Charlie Boyce, Robert Elliott, Norma Simpson and Gertha Bond-Thomas – noted how open the rooms looked due to windows placed in the hallway and bright paint schemes. Executive Director Elizabeth Mitchell and Board President Roland Vaughan gave them information about how the renovation was done and what changes were made to the building.
For example, one doorway which once led to an office, now leads outdoors, offering the Boys and Girl Club participants a way to get to the D.F. Walker Gym, which can not be directly accessed through the club’s facility.
During the tour, the Class of 1965 stopped in a few classroom doorways, saying hello and waving to children they know.
At the cafeteria, they met Edith Green, who was working on putting together meals for the Boys and Girls Club participants. She also went to D.F. Walker and was a classmate of a few of the siblings of either those on the tour or their classmates.
The Class of 1965 also stopped by the current meeting room, in which houses a collection of D.F. Walker photos. They went through photos of administrators, composites of the graduating classes and other school-related images.
Mitchell noted that they planned to repair some of the artwork that had damaged matting or frames and have all of it hung in the conference room. Elliott noted that in the past, the D.F. Walker High School Alumni Association replaced old wooden frames with the metal ones and matting they currently have. He delivered the photographs to Edenton Office Supplies himself, he proudly said.
The tour participants paused for a moment, looking at a photo of then-principal and school namesake D.F. Walker.
“He had the most unusual handwriting. No one in class could ever get it quite right to fool the teachers so we could get out of class,” Boyce said, as they exited the conference room and continued the tour. A few within earshot laughed at the collective memory.
Besides the tour, the members of the Class of 1965 were there to make a $250 donation to the Boys and Girls Club. Earlier in the week, they visited the Edenton-Chowan Food Pantry to drop off a donation in the same amount.
The D.F. Walker alumni, who meet with about a dozen others in their class, on the last Tuesday of every month via tele-conferences, believe that perpetuating the cycle of giving makes the world a better, more humane place in which to live, said Bond-Thomas.
“The Class of 1965 is pleased to be part of both organization’s continued success in providing support for the adults, children and families of this community,” a press release said.