Members of the I.C. Norcom High School Class of 1967 gathered together and celebrated 50 years since their graduation during weekend activities held on September 15-17, 2017.
The reunion activities began with a tribute to Mr. Israel Charles Norcom at the high school followed by a wreath laying ceremony at the historic Mt. Calvary Cemetery Complex, Fisher’s Hill section. Fisher’s Hill is where thousands of African-Americans who died in Portsmouth throughout the 19th Century and up to 1960 are buried.
“WELCOME HOME,” was the enthusiastic greeting by the Young Women of Distinction at Portsmouth’s I.C. Norcom High School as members of the Class of 1967 and their guests, including city officials, and other alumni entered the auditorium for the program dedicated to the memory of Mr. Norcom.
“Take Me Back to the Beginning” was the theme of the hour.
Reunion class members – Rita Haywood Edwards, reunion president, and Harold Richardson, class of 1967 president – represented the class through welcome and thanksgiving remarks. Class members Leah Drake Stith, I.C. Norcom Alumni Association president, and Lynn Briley, class treasurer and former principal of I.C. Norcom, were also program participants. Ms. Briley spoke on Norcom’s successes through the years as part of the legacy, history and noteworthy accomplishments of the school.
I.C. Norcom High School participants included Dr. Laguna O. Foster, principal, NJROTC Color Guard, and the school’s chorus directed by, Joe Harmon. Historian Mae Breckenridge Haywood’s presentation was entitled, “Mr. Israel Charles Norcom: The Educator.” I.C. Norcom High School takes its name from Mr. Norcom, who graced the city’s Chestnut Street School from 1883 until 1916, the year he died. He was the principal and a teacher.
Dr. Elie Bracy, Superintendent, Portsmouth City Schools, gave the challenge to the students and the community to continue the legacy of excellence at I.C. Norcom High School. Portsmouth’s Mayor John L. Rowe, Jr., and Portsmouth City Manager Dr. Lydia Pettis-Patton provided congratulatory remarks. In honor of the occasion, Mayor Rowe presented a proclamation entitled, “September 15-17, 2017, I.C. Norcom Class of 1967 50th Class Reunion Celebration Day.”
The 50th Reunion activities continued with a formal banquet on Saturday, September 16 and worship service on Sunday, September 17 at Delta Marriott Hotel Chesapeake. During the banquet, former teachers and administrators of Norcom during 1967 were honored. A highlight of the banquet was a presentation by the Volunteer 50th Reunion Speech Choir, entitled, “Memory and Muses,” directed by former teacher May Hardy Askew.
The Worship Service Leader was Reverend Jeffery Grant, pastor, Miracle Christian Center, Portsmouth. The worship message was presented by classmate Bishop Curtis Edmonds, St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church, Portsmouth.