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Half a century has passed since three high schools were blended into one in 1963.
Friday, October 4, 2013
They converged from three separate high schools on the south side of Bedford County 50 years ago like three streams flowing into a river — Staunton River High School to be exact.
The high schools in Huddleston, Moneta and Stewartsville in 1963 were blended into the single school on Virginia 24 in Moneta, a process that turned sports rivals into fellow Golden Eagles, soaring for the same goals.
Eight of the original faculty from when the school opened will be honored at tonight’s homecoming football game at Staunton River High School before the 7 p.m. kickoff. Alumni who have made an impact in the Bedford community will be recognized during the game, said Vicki Woodford, a 1972 graduate of Staunton River, in an email.
“We are praying for good weather and a packed stadium,” she said, adding: “Golden Eagles are still golden!”
Marjorie Cooper, a retired teacher, will be among the original staff honored. The Carroll County native moved to Bedford County three years after World War II ended to teach at Moneta High School.
More than a decade later, she was among the teachers shepherding children through a new school. Though new buildings have been added over the decades, she said the core of the campus resembles how it looked in 1963.
“I’m surrounded by people I taught,” said Cooper, 84. “I’m always reminded how special it was to be a teacher.”
Staunton River, the oldest of Bedford County’s three high schools, has produced notable alumni including Bedford County Supervisors Roger Cheek and Curry Martin, Bedford County School Board member Jason Johnson, National D-Day Memorial Foundation President April Cheek-Messier, and Bedford County Circuit Court Judge James Updike. Michelle Morgan, the school’s principal, also is a graduate.
Martin said if he had stayed at Huddleston, his graduating class would have been 25 students or so. The move gave him a much larger circle of friends and he is a “people person,” he said.
When visiting Staunton River recently, he pointed where he stood in November 1963 when he learned President John F. Kennedy was shot. He was on the way back from the front office when a teacher jogging ahead informed him of the sobering news.
The school’s shop was where Martin learned to weld, which came in handy for years at Babcock & Wilcox.
Johnson, who graduated in 2001, said the school was known for pulling together and accomplishing goals.
“It was a great, supportive environment,” Johnson said. “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Staunton River.”
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