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More than 200 attend Shepherdstown High Alumni Banquet

By Staff | Jun 19, 2015

Responding to the roll call of classes, Allen Mahoney (1965), whose years at Shepherdstown High School provided rich memories, included his time as a member of the Cardinal team which won the state baseball championship, defeating some of the largest schools in the state. He spoke of hearing the theme song for the show, “Happy Days” as he drove to the festivities.

“Those were the days,, ” he stated.” I would return to the school in a heartbeat.”

Mahoney’s words were echoed by 1970 graduate Gary Thomas, also a member of this long-remembered team. The baseball caps worn by the players were displayed on a large board hanging over the entry door inside the Shepherdstown Middle School gymnasium following the win and still hang there today, 45 years later.

More than 200 graduates and their guests filled the banquet room of the Martinsburg Holiday Inn on the first Saturday of June, a yearly tradition for the SHS alumni. With association president Richard Blue presiding, guests were introduced and the invocation given by Mr. Mahoney.

Organization vice-president Donna Weister Fleming (1967) presented the podium flowers in memory of deceased classmates. Celebrated were the lives of George Colbert (1937), Jane Snyder Miller (1937), John Schley (1937), Russell Fowler (1942), Lucille Daniels Hill (1943), Naomi Demory Miller (1945), Jean Vickers Ambrose (1949), Ella Stickel Shank (1950), Harry Zinn (1950), Luther Lamp (1951), C. Tice Tennant (1951), Mary Ambrose Vigor (1951), Mary Barrett Flooki (1953), Lillie Myers Mercer (1956), Linda Stephens Neff (1964), William Rose (1965), Donald Fuss (19 67), James McDowell (1967), Charlotte Ingram Aiken (1968), Herbert Johnson Everhart (1968), Gordon Reid Banks (1970) and Jimmy Kessel (Faculty).

Following a sumptuous meal, the roll call of all classes brought a variety of comments from responders sharing some of their unique experiences as students in the red brick building with its tall white columns across its wide front porch. This June 6 night nothing was sacred….neither the teachers, the principals, their teams…..

Remembered were the long cheerleader skirts, the 1-19 basketball record, and the trips to Jackson’s Mill and Charleston for student activities and athletic competitions. As always, the alumni dinner was time for renewed friendships rich laughter and warm hugs.

Another yearly tradition is the awarding of SHSAA scholarships to recent high school graduates, relatives of SHS. A number of these awards are given each year from the six established funds.

Graduates receiving 2015 monies for college credits include Hannah Harrison, granddaughter of Norma Jenkins Harrison Sain (1961) and a graduate of St. Pius X Catholic High School, Atlanta, Georgia, who will attend the University of Mississippi for a degree in special education. Ellen Henderson, Jefferson High School graduate, granddaughter of Paul (1960) and Barbara (1961) Henderson and Richar (1957) and Barbara (1960) Brown, and daughter of Patrick Margaret Henderson (both late 1980s SHS grads) will attend Marshall University and major in biology/pre-med. Carolyn Park, granddaughter of Granville (1957) and Joan (1957) Mercer, graduated from Jefferson High and will attend WVU for a major in psychology. Ashley Stegall, daughter of Virginia Painter (1991) graduated from Jefferson High and will attend Fairmont University to study forensic science and technology. The awards were presented by vice-president Zack Fleming.

The crowd quieted as Mary Lou Jenkins Green (1959) described the life and activities of the 2015 recipient of the Mary Hartzell Dobbins Outstanding Alumnus Award, Michael Moore Skinner. During his 90 years, Mr. Skinner (1943) has been an important part of the communities where he has lived. The youngest son of Willis and Helen Skinner, he was born in Shepheredstown, attended local schools and played high school football, basketball and baseball at SHS. During World Ward II he served his country by volunteering for the Navy where he “manned” 16-inch guns on the battleship U.S.S. Washington til 1945. Graduating from Shepherd College in 1954, he began a teaching and coaching career at Short Gap High School in West Virginia and Cleveland High School in Cleveland Virginia. His next move took him to Mount Vernon High School in Virginia. He was the varsity basketball coach and the school administrator from 1973-1983. In 1971 he earned a Masters from George Washington University and became an honorary member of Phi Delta Kappa and a lifetime member of the Virginia Association pf PTA’s. Upon his retirement in 1983 the Fairfax County School Board named his school’s athletic field “The Michael Skinner Field House,” as a “symbol of deep respect and appreciation for a ;man whose career has significantly affected many”. Virginia governor Charles Robb sent congratulations. Because of his spirited and accurate delivery as the public address announcer, at the school football games and other events, he was known as the “golden voice of the MVHS Majors for 13 years. In 2014 a golf tournament benefitting the MVHS Stadium Gatehouse Fund and the Mount Vernon Trail Fund was named the Michael M. Skinner Mount Vernon Community Day Tournament.

Mike and his wife, Lucy, continue to live in Alexandria. They have three children and four grandchildren. His award was accepted for later presentation by Margaret Rose Orndorff Peterson.

During a brief business meeting the 2014 minutes and treasurer’s report were read and approved. The nominating committee, Ann Hunter, chairperson, Esther Geary, and Mary Lee Blue, presented nominees for the 2015-16 executive committee. Elected were Richard Blue, president, Ann Hunter, vice president, Margaret Rose Orndorff Peterson, secretary, Wayne Goodrich, treasurer and Pam Hunter Boomer, Allen Mahoney, John Lucas., Tom Banks, Mary Lee Blue and Rebecca Horn, liaison, Shepherdstown Middle School. At the end of the evening, graduates linger around tables and stroll slowly toward their cars, calling farewells to friends over their shoulders, shake hands and hug until another year when they will once again come together to celebrate an experiences they have had nowhere else…their years of at Shepherdstown High.