This past weekend was a special occasion - my 50-year high school reunion.

We went to Alexandria to visit my aunts and uncles on Thursday and then up to Shreveport on Friday. I took part in a class art exhibit by donating a quilt to be auctioned to benefit the school. There were about 650 students in my 1960 graduating class and this was the first reunion I've been to. I was surprised to learn that nearly 100 of our graduates had died, but about 357 registered to come from all over the country.

When I went to C. E. Byrd I lived in a new subdivision on the far south side and had to ride a bus every day to school. I wasn't able to take part in any extracurricular activities since there was no way my mother was going to come pick me up. It wasn't out of meanness, just the economics of the day - they couldn't afford the trips.

One thing for sure, I never missed the morning bus or the bus home. I had some classroom friends, but never had any close friends other than from my neighborhood.

As a result, I knew names of classmates, but if it weren't for the nametags would never have recognized more than two or three at the two events.

I was pleasantly surprised that some recognized me or at least recognized my name and I didn't know them from Adam.

The reunion was well planned and enjoyable, but disappointing because I wasn't able to reconnect with classmates who I would have liked to see again. A nice benefit to the reunion was a book comprised of biographies of everyone who wanted to write one whether or not they were able to come. I spent most of the seven-and-a-half hours coming home reading it.

One thing was consistent from almost everyone - the high appreciation of the quality of education we received and praise for the assistant principal who had a talent for learning and calling all students by name while they were in school and anytime after that when someone saw him. My senior year English teacher and American History teacher were among the favorites also.

It was rare that anyone dropped out of high school or was not well prepared for going to college.

There was no such thing as remediation in courses at college. The most a student had problems with was Algebra, since we took it in our freshman year, and if we didn't take Algebra II in the junior or senior years, you had some catching up to do.

I'll get on one of my soapboxes regarding school, then and now. Spelling was a part of all classes and you lost points on any paper for misspelled words.

Grammar was expected to be correct when written or spoken.

A grade under 75 was an F, 75-80 was a D, 80-90 a C, a B was 90-95 and an A was 96 to 100. I don't think I ever made straight "As," but anything less than all "As" and "Bs" was totally unacceptable at home. There was one "D" in all my classes, and that was in French.

I could manage to read and interpret French but I couldn't speak it or memorize a new language.

I felt lucky to get that "D." My parents considered school as our job and no excuses were allowed for mediocre work.

As I've mentioned before, I didn't get to attend college, other than two accounting classes in 1962 and 1963 until the 1970s.

Even with that late start, I have my high school education and great teachers to thank for a solid foundation.

P.S. - I was thrilled and touched that my quilt was auctioned off for $1,000 to benefit the school through the Alumni Association.

Lynda Whitton is the branch manager for the Northwest Branch Library in Corpus Christi. Readers may contact her at 241-9329.