DC Chapter Charles Jarmon
DC Alumni Chapter
For many years my cousin Bertha Coward had truly tried to get me to attend meetings of the District of Columbia Chapter of the Adkin High School Alumni and Friends Association, but to no avail. She passed six years ago. However, before her transitioning from this life, while we were attending the 2008 Alumni Reunion in Kinston, I promised her that I would attend one of the chapter meetings. Four years ago, I kept that promise. It had not been because of the lack of interest in the association or in its activities that kept me from joining the organization, for I had been a dues paying member for many years. Ironically, it was not until I became a member of the Chapter that the significance of alumni participation became clearer thanks to being elected President at my first meeting. Being elected to an office had not been my expectation; I had hoped to have eased into the organization while being supportive of it activities.
Now, having been President of the D.C. Chapter for four years, I have, ironically, come to understand the frustration of some Chapter members in their attempt to encourage other fellow Adkin Alumni to become actively involved. This is because I have experienced the issue of participation in the organization from both perspectives, which on the one hand means understanding the desire to get more members involved in chapter activities. And, on the other hand, it means understanding the conscious or unconscious feelings of non-members as they consider giving up time normally spent with their families, or at work, or at other civic or social organizations. In the first instance, through my participation I have come to identify with the strong sentiment and have gained a greater appreciation for the need to preserve the Adkin High School legacy both in the sense of the collective memory (e.g., favorite teachers, childhood friendships, student organizations and social activities, such as proms, and the 1951 student walkout). In the second instance, there has been a lack of communication about the significant linkage between the demolished Rosenwald built Adkin High School and the present standing iconic C. B. Stewart Alumni and Friends Gymnasium. I believe that many non-participating members have the same identity with the past history of Adkin High School and if they were convinced that serious steps were being taken to preserve it would do more to help to conserve it. They must come to see that its history will live beyond us as alumni, a history that will become a significant part of the broader history of the Kinston community for future generations. If we are successful, each generation will know what Adkin High School meant to this city, state, and nation. On the more practical level, the Gymnasium will represent a friendly face to citizens in the Kinston community by being a place where some of its local cultural, social, and health needs could be met, particularly for those of youth and seniors.
In the last meeting of the D.C. Alumni Chapter, much of the discussion focused on some of the ideas expressed above, and we concluded that one way to bridge the communication gap between members of the Chapter and nonmembers would be to come together in some form of collective alumni activity. Several suggestions were proposed and discussed. We talked about organizing a bus trip to New York for a Broadway Production, or sponsoring a cruise on the Spirit of Washington down the Potomac, or reviving the Chapter Summer Picnic at one of the local parks. The latter idea prevailed, but did not rule out the possibility for the other social and cultural events. We especially would like to see strong support for the picnic from Adkin alumni living in the Washington Metropolitan area, and to encourage the participation of alumni and friends from other areas. More information about the picnic will be provided on the Adkin High School Alumni and Friends Website.
The Chapter will host an informal social hour on Sunday evening at 7:00 pm. More information about this event will be posted in the gymnasium. While we especially expect the presence of alumni from the Washington Metropolitan area, all alumni are invited. Finally, on behalf of the members of the D.C. Chapter, I extend a sincere welcome to all as you participate in this year's reunion.
D. C. Alumni Chapter