The tribute tour got off to a rousing start last Thursday.

FHS Tribute Tour 1923-2019 has been established to keep interested individuals up to date on a variety of planned events as the coming school year, the last for Fayetteville High, unfolds.

The tour began with a special Paint the Town Green event downtown on Aug. 2. As the evening wound down, both Fayetteville Town Hall and the Fayette County Courthouse were lit with green.

FHS Class of 1948 graduate Lita Eskew, representing the FHS Alumni Association, earlier discussed the group’s activities, which include the Come on Home Reunion. She also said the organization gives several students scholarships on an annual basis, a practice which they hope to continue even after the school shuts its doors. The alumni association is a “great organization,” said Eskew, and “it’s always doing good and helping the students.”

The tribute tour will be a “way of honoring our school for the many, many years of wonderful memories that we each have,” Eskew said. “Fayetteville High School will never close; it will always remain in our hearts, thoughts and prayers.

“Let’s make this year a tribute that will last in everybody’s memories for a school that will never be forgotten. They can take away our school but they definitely cannot take away our memories of a school so well-loved.”

Former Fayetteville High principal Charles Garvin said he and his eventual bride, Nancy, met “in the hallways of Fayetteville High School, right up here on the hill here.”

“There’s a lot of history in this school, a lot of history,” Garvin continued. “That is a legacy you will carry with you all of your lives.

“Graduates of Fayetteville High School have contributed immeasurably to this great state and to this great nation. They have served honorably in every branch of service. They have fought, and yes, some have died. Alumni have mined the coal that lies right underneath your feet. They have built the houses that we live in. They helped to build the New River Gorge Bridge. They have argued points of law in the courthouse right behind me. They have bound up our wounds, they have dispensed our medicines. They have preached the gospel ...”

Fayetteville town recorder Zenda Vance said the tribute tour will offer a time for both celebration and remembrance, the latter of individuals such as former FHS head football coach and teacher Paul McKown, who passed away the day before the Paint the Town Green event.

“Fayetteville High School has played a very important part in my life, as well as the lives of everyone here this evening,” Vance said. “I came from a family of nine children, all of whom have graduated from Fayetteville High School.

“We have many cherished memories that will go with us for our lifetime, whether or not the school is open.”

Tour sub-committees have been formed to focus on areas such as community support, fine arts, homecoming, sports, graduation and end-of-school over the coming months.

Special activities will be staged during homecoming week in mid-October, when the Pirates play their rivals, the Midland Trail Patriots, on Oct. 19. FHS alumni classes can take part in the homecoming parade by entering a float, riding in a truck, decorating and riding bikes or other ways.

Yard signs and yard flags are being sold to allow individuals to display the year of their graduating class. Signs will be presold and orders can be placed at town hall. Cost is $20 per sign, with each additional sign $18. The cut-off date to order is Oct. 1.

Volunteers are welcome, as are donations to an account at Fayette County National Bank. All donations/checks should be made payable to FHS Tribute. Any donations sent through the mail should be mailed to PO Box 267, c/o Susan Hanson, Fayetteville, WV 25840.

As a reminder, the FHS 1950s and 1960s Sports Reunion will be held on Saturday, Sept. 15 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Fayetteville Presbyterian Church.

Coaches, players, managers and cheerleaders will be among those present.

There will be light refreshments. No alcohol will be served.

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