The Austin High School Alumni Association fundraiser, The Maroon & White Ball, was the kickoff of the 119th Anniversary of Austin High School.

This year, the Class of 1979 was honored and it was elegant. It began with the invocation and music by Onstage, with The Horn Blowin’ Preacher, Mr. Timothy Walker. It continued with soloists Myrna Montgomery from the Class of 1980 and Ms. Tenette Smith from the Class of 2004. A school video yearbook played on the screen by Datageeks, Inc. Our motivational speakers were Dennis Cranfield, Greg Faulkner, Cornelius Spencer and myself.

The guest speaker was one of our own. A graduate from the Class of 1979 – my class – he’s continued to be an honorable officer and a gentleman, Lieutenant Colonel Nachee Miller. He gave us a wonderful presentation on giving back by investing in your family, community and also real estate. His wife, Robin, was there to support him every step of the way.

The evening continued with karaoke by Robin Lee, Ms. Montgomery, Columbus Montgomery, Darlene Funches, Laveria Washington, and Ms. Smith. It continued with dancing and networking.

Since the school building was closed on Saturday, a small group of us met up there for pictures. We then proceeded to the Forest Preserve for the picnic. About 35 to 50 people showed up. We all had a nice time with our classmates and our families.

The celebration continued on Aug. 30 at Brookfield Zoo. This has become an annual event to bring together former students of Austin High School. This time, we’d asked our guests to wear maroon and white at the zoo. More than 60 people responded in advance to this event.

Celina from the Class of 1967 shared her childhood memories and her appreciation of “Our Austin” with us.

The anniversary celebration will continue at the Austin High School Campus, 231 N. Pine, in October. These events are sponsored by the Brookfield Zoo; The Austin Business and Entrepreneurship Academy school leaders, Michael Bakalis and Karen Washington. In addition, Ronnie Smith, Herbert Little, Paul Smith, the Austin High School Alumni Association, Glenn Nelson, Beverly Perkins and other kind individuals.

Mrs. Diondai Brown-Whitfield