Wouldn’t it be nice to get together with your classmates you haven’t seen in years and just have some fun…. Well that is what class reunions are for right? The North Central Soulful Reunion is a twist on the boring class reunion, only these reunions are so much more fun.
The last NC Soulful Reunion was held on 9.16.17 and it was a blast. Organized by the North Central Old School Soulful Alumni Committee, it was decided it had been long enough; it was time to just have a party in the park. This was the 4th reunion the North Central Soulful Alumni had organized. The purpose of the North Central Soulful Reunion is to allow the 12 to 15% of the Black & Brown Alums of North Central High School to come together and reunite with friends that attended school the entire 4 years we were there instead of just those in our specific class year. To reunite with friends we grew up with in our communities that may be younger or older than us but still attended North Central or at some point attended Washington Township schools without the limitation of a graduation class or even graduating from North Central because sometimes our friends transferred or moved away. We even included people who may have hung out with North Central Alums but never attended the school because they were also a part of our high school experience. The mix of all this goodness makes up our Soulful Alums and produces a very festive gathering. This year we had people in attendance that graduated from North Central High School as early as the 70’s all the way to the new millennium. It was nice to watch people walking through the park introducing themselves to each other; it was like family meeting new family members. There were even generations of North Central grads at the event. Grandparents brought their children and grandchildren that were North Central Alums or attendees.
We decided to have the last reunion at Riverside park because it had been 5 years since the last reunion and we didn’t want to go another year without bringing everyone together again. One of the goals of the events is to support black businesses and in this instance, support a park that is in a black neighborhood. Our tiny way of giving back to the community because every little bit helps. D.J. Wood (a North Central Soulful Alum) provided the music; we also had 2 food trucks at this event, Gip Got Tips and The Express Chef. It is our hope that with each new event, attendance grows and that we are able to support and promote even more black businesses with our reunions.
The committee consists of Catherine Bowman Jones, Donald Eugene Overby, Dee Overby Walker and myself Tami Highbaugh-Abdullah. The North Central Soulful Alumni is the brain child of Catherine Bowman Jones who, in 2009, attended an Indiana University Soulful Reunion. She had so much fun that she wanted to try something similar with her own North Central High School Alums. She spoke with friend Donald Eugene Overby to organize a gathering the day after Christmas in 2009. Later enlisting Dee Walker and her brother David Bowman who shared the event on Facebook. The turnout was great for a last-minute gathering that brought a small intimate crowd; we had a wonderful time and many of us wanted to see this happen again on a larger scale which is where I popped in letting Cathy know I wanted to help with graphics and marketing of the events.
Six months later in 2010 we organized our first big Soulful Reunion. We used the 300 East lounge as our location, sold tickets online and sold T-shirts purchased from Ace Promotions, had giveaways for the first 50 people in attendance. Brian Wallace assisted with door prizes; Anthony Robinson volunteered to DJ and Mario Page came in from Atlanta to video document the event. It was a huge success with over 200 people in attendance. People were connected with friends they hadn’t seen in years.
In 2012 we had our third event, which was held at Memories Bar & Grill. Again supporting black businesses and asking them to come in with giveaways to promote their businesses but after the 2012 event life happened. The class of 81 and 82 where having their 50th birthday parties, I had 5 grand children in those 5 years, our children were getting married and we all had to step back and take a minute to take care of home.
Now that the 2017 NC Soulful Reunion has passed it is our goal to come together every 2 years to reunite with our Soulful Sisters and Brothers and have a good time. The North Central Soulful Alumni has a Facebook Business page where we keep our Alums up to date on upcoming events. Everyone is welcome and we hope that will see you at the next NC Soulful Reunion in 2019.