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Rose through the years: alumni from1980-1999 reflect back

MON.| 05-03-21 | FEATURES

     Rose High School has been a staple in the Greenville community for decades, moving from building to building all over the city. Rose alumni from the 1980s to 1992 attended school in a building located on Elm Street which is now C. M. Eppes Middle School, but when at the time Rose only offered 10, 11 and 12 grades. In 1992, the school
was switched to its current location on Arlington Boulevard which allowed ninth graders to attend school with the rest of the students. Alumni feel that the memories of walking the halls and laughing with friends is what keeps the spirit of Rose alive.
     “[Rose] was a smaller building, a little narrower and tight staircases that got packed when we changed classes,” 1989 Rose alumnus Tom Irons said. “All of the hallways were lined with lockers, and we actually used them...imagine that.”

     Irons, like many other Rose alumni, recalls walking the hallways of the Rose building on Elm Street just like it was yesterday. However, not only has the building changed since then, the football stadium has also changed location but the age- old tradition of Friday night lights remains the same.

     “Football games were played at the East Carolina University football stadium; it was so fun,” 1986 Rose alumna Kathy Hess said. “The students all sat together in a corner of the huge stadium.”

     Rose also used to have a Powder Puff league where the girls would compete in flag football. This is one of Hess’ favorite Rose memories.


Photo contributed by The Daily Reflector

Sports have always been a backbone in the Rose community. Not only did Rose have a Powder Puff league, but Rose womens sports became more popular during this decade as well. The women’s soccer team was established in 1985 and quickly became a top sport for women to play.

     “It was fun to go through high school with all the kids you grew up playing against in different sports,” 2000 alumnus Eric Miller said. “To all be on the same team in high school sports was a blast to be a part of and watch.”

     The enthusiasm for Rose sports from students and families has remained, but one major change has been music and clothing trends. From permed hair to tube socks, cargo pants and preppy clothes, some alumni consider the fashion trends back then as horrible, ‘80s music however, has remained as classics.
     “Michael Jacksons ‘Thriller’ came out in 1982, but I was more into hard rock,” 1982 Rose alumnus Kevin O’Neal said. “So when AC/DC released ‘Back in Black’ in 1980, that was my high school jam.”

     Another similarity between alumni and current students are the shared experiences.
     “Walking through the halls at Rose...had a feeling of excitement, nervousness, satisfaction and senior year, finality,” Miller said.
     Unlike students that attend Rose now, alumni have been able to gain a new perspective on the reality of high school. They’ve come to understand how it shapes and prepares you as well as how to not take these years for granted.

     “Be who you really are, not who others want you to be,” O’Neal said. “Respect everyone, especially those who are different from you.”

     No matter the age, Rose students share the special connections formed with the teachers that will be there for comfort, support, encouragement and will always hold a special place in a students’ hearts. For many students during the 1980s, they had the privilege of being in art teacher Billy Stinson’s class. Stinson served as a teacher and friend in the Rose community for 34 years. On Thursday, Apr. 8, 2021, Stinson passed away but his legacy of laughter and joy will live on.
     “He was a great man and students loved him,” Hess said. “You could tell [he] got so much joy out of his job because he was always fun and happy to be there.”

     Stinson will be greatly missed by the Rose community and his impacts on students will be remembered. Like Stinson, the 80’s to 2000s are treasured by the Rose community and have set precedents for students now to always appreciate the time spent as a Rose student.

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