More than 110 years after opening its doors F.W. Gross Alumni host school reunion

The F.W Gross High school Alumni Association held the start of their 20 year school reunion.

Every 2 years, the alumni association has a school wide reunion to bring everyone together and walk down memory lane.

“We started it every five years, and we were dying off so fast, we started having it every 3 years,” adds Victor Marshall, Alumni President. “We were still sort of dying off, so we made it every two years.”

F.W Gross was named the Victoria Colored School from 1906-1939 before moving to 1107 south Depot street. With the move came a name change. “1939 and marched down Depot Street to this new edifice now known as F.W. Gross High school,” says Willie Clemons Jr, 92 year old Alumnus.

I spoke to some alumni who reminisce about lessons learned while walking through these hallways.

“They made you disciplined because you were also held accountable if you did the wrong thing, you were held accountable,” explains John Hill, Class of 1963. “When I say held accountable you paid the price for what you did and you won’t do it anymore. That is what they were trying to get out of us and that’s what they did accomplish.”

“They taught life and not only education, but we were taught how to live and how to respect people and have consideration,” exclaims Clemons. They also taught us to do the best you can with whatever you had in life and I think that was the greatest thing.”

Alumnus Willie Clemons, Jr. drove all the way from Dayton Ohio, which is over 1000 miles, to come to the reunion.

“It means so much to me to meet old friends and some of them are gone but I had a lot of new friends and young people I worked with at Carver center when I was at college,” Clemons smiled. “So its like being home, although I been gone about 70 years it still feels like home. The people are still so nice.”

In 1966 the school was closed down as integration began. Some students transferred to Victoria High School while others went to Stroman High School.

Alumni went over to the place that was once their learning grounds and hosted a tree planting ceremony to remember past alumni and teachers no longer with us.

“I think they walk different, that’s pride the way they do things. I’m proud of gross and I’m proud of Victoria,” declares Clemons.

Hill believes it’s important to pass this historical information to the next generation to show them how far they have come.

“This is what we are trying to do to let this carry on to our grandkids, for they know where we come from, we come from a long way but the journey is still going on,” tells Hill.