Gulfport, Harrison, Mississippi, USA

Two GHS Girls Participate In Jr. Miss

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The Helm-GHS 1974
Gulfport High School’s “The Helm” 1974

The Helm

Gulfport High School – Gulfport, Mississippi

January 1974

*****

TWO GHS GIRLS PARTICIPATE IN JR. MISS

Linda Broadus and Violet Clark were the two participants in the 1973 Junior Miss Pageant from GHS. Each of the girls were awarded a silver plate with their initials on it for their participation.

The Junior Miss Pageant is held every year to determine a representative to the State Junior Miss Pageant. The girls participating must be seniors in high school and must fill out applications regarding their age, grades, and personality. They are required to show some form of talent and to present a dance routine. A tea and a judge’s conference is scheduled later for the girls to attend. The winner is partially determined by the number of points she gets for attending the scheduled events and for their performances.

 


 

Violet Clark and I were best friends all throughout our school days. When Gulfport High School did not have a prom due to “integration issues”, she invited me to be her date at the prom the African Americans were planning. I was disappointed my mother made other plans for me for that date. I know Violet and I would have had a blast! I’ll never forget our friendship and keep her in my heart.

Submitted by Tenderly Rose-Robin Melissa Bosworth Estrada Reininger

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Seventy-First Graduation Exercises Planned

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The Helm-GHS 1974
Gulfport High School’s “The Helm” 1974

The Helm

Gulfport High School – Gulfport, Mississippi

June 1974

*****

Seventy-First Graduation Exercises Planned

The seventy-first annual GHS graduation exercises will be held at the B. Frank Brown Gymnasium at 8:00 p.m. Friday, May 31. For the 1974 seniors, graduation represents a giant step in their lives.

An invocation by Mr. Harry Tartt will precede the presentation of special awards by Mr. W. L. Rigby, Superintendent of Gulfport City Schools.

Then two seniors that have been selected by competitive competition will give orations designed as commentaries and challenges to the graduating class.

Mr. Martin J. Gendron, Principal, will present the graduation class after which a member of the Board of Education will award the diplomas.

The recessional will be played by the Commodore band under the direction of Mr. Blain Curry.

PRACTICES:

Mr. Gendron would like to remind seniors that attendance at the two graduation rehearsals should be prompt. Those graduating should be at the gymnasium on May 28 and May 30, the seniors will practice in their caps and gowns, after which time their class picture will be taken.

SENIOR AWARDS DAY:

Wednesday, May 15, the annual Senior Awards Day was held in the auditorium honoring seniors who had achieved special recognition in scholarship and leadership.

Dennis Miller, president of the senior class, presented the class gift to the school. Then Mr. Rigby presented the awards to the graduation class.

Under the direction of Mr. Chris Lewis, the GHS choir sang a special selection and led the seniors in Gulfport High’s Alma Mater.

Officers of the Class of 1974 are: Dennis Miller, president; Sammy Cucurullo, vice-president; Robin Richardson, treasurer, and Pam McLendon, secretary.

— Donna Pearce

 

Southern Sisters – Dona and Tenderly

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I recently lost my best friend of over sixty years. She apparently died in her sleep leaving all of us who loved her dearly in complete shock and grief. I include Dona in my family history because she was as much a part of my family and in some cases more like family to me all my life. Dona Elise Sanders Richmond became my friend when she was born a year after I was. Our mothers were best friends, having attended Perkinston Jr. College together in the year of 1955-56. The photo below shows my mother, Janie Morris seated on the left and Dona’s mother, Shirley Reeves, seated on the right. This is the only photo I have of the two friends together, although, I believe there were quite a few others in my mother’s photo collection.

Janie Morris and Shirley Reeves-Perkinston Jr College
Janie, front left and Shirley, front right pose for a photo at Perkinston Jr. College

The earliest memories I have of Dona and me together were probably preserved by the many times our mothers discussed our early history with us as we grew up. We were told about the times we were just little toddlers when we would accompany our mommas to the beach and we played in the sand while they caught each other up on their lives after college. I seem to remember those trips to the beach – the beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast – with our mothers. But, do I really, or are they from my imagination? Time has taken its toll on my memory after so many years, but, suffice it to say when Dona joked with me about being friends since she was “in utero” I readily agreed, and we would smile really big.

Dona grew up in the Orange Grove area of Gulfport – what I called “the country”. We didn’t get to see each other as much as we wanted because it required our mothers to navigate Highway 49 to get to our respective homes. There were some miles between us and we didn’t attend the same schools. So, if we got to spend the night with each other it was a big deal. We mainly saw each other when our mothers got together for various functions and life events.

Our mothers raised us in the Southern tradition of calling our elders by somewhat formal names. Dona’s mother was “Miss Shirley” or “Miss Sanders” to me as deemed appropriate by my mother and Dona called my mother “Miss Janie”. Her home was kept neat and clean, unlike my mother’s home (complete disarray). A trip to Dona’s home was like a breath of fresh country air to me. A trip to my house provided Dona with a bit of the city life, although Gulfport was not a big city, it still lent a sophistication Dona seemed to crave. I went to church with Dona every time I spent the night at her house. It was the law. It was always fun for me to hang out with Dona, thought, because she and I knew each other better than anyone else in our lives. We held secrets, dreams and heartaches deep in our souls that were shared forever.

When our dog, Hustler, a pedigreed boxer sired an “unofficial” batch of puppies with the neighbor’s mixed breed dog, Dona’s family adopted one of the puppies. Her daddy named him Cassius. Dona and I recently had a conversation about Cassius and how sweet he was. Loyal and fun to play with, just like his dad, Hustler. We loved that we had dogs that came from the same family. We loved out dogs. Cassius was the first dog I remember Dona’s family having.

The day I learned Donald Sanders, Dona’s daddy, died momma picked me up from West Ward Elementary school and we cried so hard I thought our eyeballs would fall out. He built our playhouse in Mamaw’s yard, as well as the house Dona grew up in. I knew him as a loving father to his kids, devoted husband to “Miss Shirley” and dedicated friend of our family. I remember being so shocked that Dona’s daddy had died, just as mine had a few years earlier. It just could not be. I don’t really think Dona was the same after that. She was so sad most of the time during our childhood. But, we laughed a lot, too, in spite of the sorrow. I enjoyed going to Dona’s to spend the night and play Barbies. Dona had her own room with a canape bed – white French Provincial and she had a great collection of Barbies that did not have their leg chewed off by her dog, like mine so often did.

Perkinston Homecomings through the years meant Dona and I accompanied our mothers to the gatherings and football games. We met all her mother’s friends and my mother’s friends, the administration of the college and the families associated with the college. It was homecoming for me and Dona, too. I don’t remember any of our siblings attending the festivities – just me and Dona and Janie and Shirley (Reeves). We loved the bulldog mascot out on the field at the football games and would laugh so hard at him. He just sat there, not moving, like he just was concentrating so hard on the games. We vowed to have bulldogs in our future lives.

There were photos take of us when we were growing up that I remember seeing in our mothers’ photo collections. I have none of those photos now, and Dona did not have any of them in our possession, either when we discussed this earlier this year. She told me she was going to go threw her mother’s stuff and see if she could find any. My mother’s stuff went through numerous hurricanes, so, I don’t know what she ended up with when she passed, but, they are as good as gone to me now. I do have this one photo of me, seated on the right side of the photo looking on as Dona blew out the candles on her 18th birthday cake.

Dona Elise Sanders-18th Birthday with Tenderly

Our friendship was anchored on the Gulfport shores to be sure, but, our friendship stretched thousands of miles as I left Mississippi in 1976, when I was 19 years old, to live in Wisconsin.

In 1977, I was preparing for my wedding to begin in Black River Falls, Wisconsin, when the florist entered the area of the church where the bride and bridesmaids had gathered to help each other get dressed. She was carrying one long-stemmed red rose. She told me her instructions were to present the rose to me just before I went down the aisle. I opened the card that was attached to the rose. It read, “I gave you the first rose when you were born, now, I am giving you a rose when you get married.” It was one of the more amazing moments of my life. Miss Shirley had sent a message from thousands of miles away that she loved me all my life and always would. She was there with me even though she was unable to be.

TRose with Rose from Shirley Reeves Sanders

I was down on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1982 visiting my mother when I got a chance to talk to Dona. She told me she wanted me to come to her baby shower. I was pregnant with my daughter at the time. I was so honored to be at her baby shower and we pledged to betroth our two unborn children to each other and laughed! We kind of meant it, though. The photo below is from Dona’s shower.

Dona Sanders Richmond and Tenderly Rose 1982 at Dona's Baby Shower

When my grandmother, Rosie Smith Morris, died Dona was there when I came home to Hungry Hill for the funeral. I made sure I took photos of Dona and her sisters were in the ones I took of my family because they were my family in my heart, too. While momma and Miss Shirley were in the house, we young adults gathered outside to socialize a bit. The Sanders family were as much a part of our family as anyone born to our family. They were there to help us through the tough times of life as well as the good. Dona is seated in front of the hutch in my mother’s dining room at Hungry Hill in the following photo.

Family Photos 032

Memories have flooded into my mind and heart the past few weeks. Dona was my chosen sister and I’ll miss her like crazy for the rest of my life. She was one of the better angels of our world. Someone who supported and loved me all my life. I feel lost without her. My soul mate.

I’ll probably have to add stuff and update this post many times as I think of things to share. I know I’ve probably been repetitious in some respects, but, my mind feels foggy from the mental and heartfelt pain. I can’t imagine what her husband, kids, grandkids and friends are going through at this time. I am selfish and quite alone in my emotions right now. I just feel this huge void and little else. If I wanted to share my feelings with, it would be Dona. And now, she’s gone. I’m all alone with this grief because I live far, far away from the Gulf Coast and her loved ones.

Dona Elise Sanders Richmond

This blog post has been sort of rambling and I know it is long, but I find the writing difficult because I find it hard to focus. How do you write about such an icon in your life and narrow it down to one blog post? So, I wrote about Dona here on my blog. She loved the written word ever bit as much as I did. Our favorite book was To Kill A Mockingbird and our favorite movie was “Gone With the Wind” — she called me “Mellie” for the character Melanie, and she called herself “Scarlet”. We shared so much about literary works and wrote our feelings out in journals all our lives. Writing is therapy for some folks and that is just another way of coping Dona and I shared.

Peace be with us all… 

I’ll end this by providing a link to Dona’s Blog so you can read for yourself what a special gift she was to our world:

https://donaelise.wordpress.com/


 

And just a few old photos I have to share…

Me Dona Butch
Me, Dona and Butch
The Richmond and Dorty Clans
My kids and Dona’s kids having fun together just like we used to do. – Easter in Gulfport, Mississippi
Dona Elise Sanders Richmond and Atticus
Dona and I never got our bulldogs, but, we did both end up having West Highland Terriers. Hers was named Atticus. I have had three Westies. That’s Scout under the chair, a Yorkie.
Dona and T. Rose at Robin's
Dona and Me in Pineville, Mississippi, at my cousin, Robin Morris Weem’s home. Good times!
Dona Richmond and Tenderly
Dona and me at her beautiful Southern home in Gulfport, Mississippi. I’m so grateful to have this photo of us.
Dona and Tenderly in Gulfport
Dona and Tenderly Always and Forever

“If there ever comes a day

when we can’t be together,

keep me in your heart,

I’ll stay there forever.”

(from Winnie the Pooh)

And that’s what Dona and I did…

Design 1

 


Submitted by Tenderly Rose-Robin Melissa Bosworth-Estrada Reininger

Installation Of Officers By West Ward PTA

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Installation Of Officers By West Ward PTA

Mrs. James P. Estrada was installed as president of the Gulfport West Ward Elementary Parent Teachers’ Association Thursday evening at the annual meeting for the year in the school auditorium.

Walter Ewing, who will be the new principal at the school for the 1967-68 session, was installing officer.

Mrs. Estrada, who succeeds Mrs. Ben Weeks, is a member of the faculty of Bayou View Junior High School.

Installed also were Mrs. Donald Suber, vice president; Mrs. J. L. Pullen, secretary; and Mrs. Curtis Parker treasurer.


West Ward Elementary School PTA-Circa 1967
My mother as PTA president at West Ward Elementary School cir. 1967, Gulfport, Mississippi, and teacher at Bayou View Jr. High.

This newspaper account is one of the articles my mother sent me through the years that she’d clipped and saved for me.

No date or name of publication is given. It is presumed the newspaper was The Daily Herald (Mississippi Gulf Coast) because that is the newspaper my family subscribed to all of my life. The year was probably 1967 – dates of school year).

— T.Rose

Coast Episcopal Schools Teacher Honored

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Coast Episcopal Schools Teacher Honored
Mississippi Private School Education Association awards Jane Morris Estrada “Teacher of the Year” 1985-86

 

The Sea Coast Times Echo

Thursday, April 10, 1986

Page 10C

***

“Coast Episcopal Schools Teacher Honored”

The Mississippi Private School Education Association each year sponsors a Teacher of the Year Award for elementary and secondary schools.

Each of the 90-member schools nominates a teacher as a candidate for this award. The school must submit letters of recommendation from parents, peer teachers, the principal, and a prominent local leader in the community.

The teacher nominated must submit a biographical sketch and a 300-word essay on a given topic. This year the topic was “Communication: the Key to Education.”

A panel of judges composed of the officers of the MPSEA makes the final selection.

Coast Episcopal Schools’ Jane Morris Estrada, second grade teacher at the elementary school in Bay St. Louis, has been chosen as Teacher of the Year for the MPSEA for 1985-86 school year.

Mrs. Estrada has taught for 22 years in both public and private schools. She has served as past president of the Harrison County Association of Educators, is a former board member for the Mississippi Association for Educators, elected as delegate to the NEA.

Mrs. Estrada is a member of the American Business Women’s Association and was selected Woman of the Year for the Gulfport Chapter. She is presently the Education and Scholarship chairperson.

She is a past Junior and Cadette Girl Scout Leader. She has been a member of the Harrison County Democratic Executive Committee, poll worker and manager.

The Teacher of the Year Award was presented to Mrs. Estrada at a recent MPSEA Convention held in Jackson by Association President Ernestine Cail from Strider Academy in Charleston, Miss.

***

My mother, Jane (Morris) Estrada. She was the daughter of John Harkness Morris and Rosa Ann Elizabeth (Smith) Morris of Gulfport, Ms.