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Golden Memories: The Class of 1966 looks back

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Former Raiderettes and other alumnae perform the Bell fight song for the crowd at the class reunion April 29-30. About 100 members of the 1966 senior class attended the 50th reunion. (photo courtesy of Anna Wood)

 

Compiled by Jenelle Priddy

The class of 1966—the first to graduate from our current campus—gathered for their 50th high school reunion April 29-30. As they celebrate that milestone, several of them shared their memories from their years at Bell.

What was Bell like when you were here?

“We were the ‘Southlake’ of northeast Tarrant County. BHS had a brand new building, beautiful in every aspect. The building itself seemed humongous and occupied 5 acres; now, with expansion and outbuilding, it has surely doubled in size.

“Waiting for the completion of Bedford Junior High, the ninth grade attended BHS for the first time since school year 1959-60, but this time it was only for 1965-66. Hallways were shoulder-to-shoulder as we moved to class. The lines were so long in the cafeteria that most of us resorted to a sack lunch even though a separate hamburger line was an innovation that year. Imagine! There were no fast food restaurants anywhere near BHS. The closest hamburger was at Brown Trail and Pipeline, Connie Drive-In complete with carhops.

“We had a 20-minute break between second and third periods in lieu of homeroom. Announcements were done at the beginning of third period.

“The building was not completely finished. Some ceilings were not in place; we had exposed pink insulation especially in rooms near the band hall. There weren’t enough permanent classes for all the teachers. Electives like French and speech had to rotate classes while workers completed the final touches. At times, three to four classes shared space in the library.”

—Anna Sparger Wood

 

“Daring to come to school with shirttail out, no belt and without socks was SO REBELLIOUS.”

—Tony Prater

 

“I felt very small as I tried to navigate the massive new building with its strange arrangement of hallways and classrooms!”

—Nancy Woody Johnson

 

“As a member of the first graduating class to attend the new building, which included ninth grade (junior high) students from Euless and Hurst, I felt privileged and excited to attend”

—Janis Tice Dunlap

What are some of your favorite memories from your time at Bell?

“Every event was important to me my senior year because I really felt the end of one part of my life pushing me to the beginning of the rest of my life. Homecoming Bonfire and the Senior Prom really stand put. At the Bonfire everyone was hugging, laughing and holding on for dear life.”

—Cheryl Miles

 

“I was in the senior play and the Raider Rouser spirit group. We stole the buffalo head from Haltom High School and came to school the Monday after our game to find a cow on the roof of our brand new school. [A friend] and I made chocolate chip laxative cookies for some new friends on the Richland High School football team. The six weeks of detention was worth it!”

—Cheryl Miles

 

“Being a Raiderette (drill team) member was exciting, performing at all the games and traveling on the bus with my friends. Basketball season was also special, but but the drill team did not preform at many of those games.”

—Janis Tice Dunlap

 

“One day I was surprised to hear my name called out in a list of the top 10 graduates over the announcement. I was eighth in the class… little did I know at that time I would marry Randy Beck who was 10th in our class.”

—Emily Suarez Beck

 

“Stage band, senior class trip, band trip to Memphis Cotton Carnival, Cotton Bowl halftime band performance (U of Arkansas vs. LSU).”

—Steve Smith

 

“Performing in the Raiderettes’ spring programs with various themes that we presented each year to supplement new equipment purchases. Marching with the Raiderettes in the Cotton Bowl parade in Dallas was an event that stood out.”

—Anna Sparger Wood

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What were traditions and school spirit like?

 

“Everyone I knew had a lot of school spirit. The students were polite and there was very little swearing.”

—Patricia Harvey

 

“Spirit couldn’t be any better… L.D. Bell was ‘the’ school! Pep rallies… the best!”

—Teresa Gilbert

 

“School spirit was a given, contagious. Everyone attended and looked forward to the pep rallies which were weekly until the end of basketball season. The student body willingly participated the yells.”

—Anna Sparger Wood

 

“Our school spirit was at an all time high.”original_url: 7D0D10EC-0579-4B59-B965-2F1B7626BC7B

—Tony Prater

 

“Wearing homecoming mums was a tradition.”

—Janis Tice Dunlap

 


What was HEB like then?

 

“Fast cars and the occasional drag race on Pipeline Road… Hanging out at Jack Clark’s and Connie’s Drive-In was great fun and the focal point of all BHS students.”

—Tony Prater

 

“I remember many trips, speeding down the newly-opened Loop 820, in my ’57 Chevy – wolfing down a yummy cheeseburger and fries from one of the first McDonald’s restaurants in Texas – on Meadowbrook in East Fort Worth, just down the road from the print shop!”

—Nancy Woody Johnson

 

What advice do you have for current students?

 

“My best advice for my past self and current students is: always practice the golden rule. Be honest with yourself and others. Work hard at whatever you do, give more than you get. Instill a great sense of confidence and self worth in others, especially your children.”

—Tony Prater

 

“The same thing I would tell myself. You are only young once. Get the best education you can, learn all you can about as many subjects as you can.”

—Patricia Harvey

 

“Enjoy your life—it goes by FAST. Before you know it, 50 years have passed.”

—Beth Rose

 

“Pay attention… you can learn from so many interesting people and experiences. Acquiring new experiences is much better than acquiring things….

“Spend time engaging with people with whom you have few common interests… It’s amazing what new ideas you’ll get by listening to them as much as you listen to people who already think like you. Go beyond ‘144 characters’ in conversations. Lastly, value your parents (mine died before I was 35).”

—Steve Smith

 

“My mother used to tell me: ‘Enjoy being young; you’ll be old a long time!’ At age 67, I see how right she was!”

—Nancy Woody Johnson

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