Rah for the blue, gold of Holston

Betsy PickleNortheast Knox

What does it say about alumni of a high school that shut down 26 years ago that they stumble through the lyrics to their alma mater but rev through their fight song without prompting?

John Culvahouse leads Holston High alumni through their alma mater.

“They went to a lot more football games than graduations,” said John N. Culvahouse, who graduated from Holston High School in East Knoxville in 1971 and led more than 300 fellow Warriors through both songs at an all-class reunion Saturday at New Harvest Park. (While the Holston building on Chilhowee Drive is still standing, it is now Holston Middle School.)

An alum of Holston’s marching band (which is planning a reunion in November), Culvahouse made his career in music education. He told his fellow alumni that he was in the University of Tennessee Pride of the Southland Marching Band when it first started playing “Rocky Top.”

Music was a highlight of the reunion. Attendees were moved by a stirring bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace,” performed by class of 1977 member Tracy Wilson during a memorial service for deceased alumni.

At one point, some brave Warriors even got up and danced to hits from bygone eras played on a boom box in the park’s pavilion.

For most of the day, alumni simply enjoyed reconnecting with old friends, poring over yearbooks and eating homemade and store-bought delectables contributed by dozens of attendees.

Members of the class of 1976 – in particular Gregg Sharp, Jeanie Green, Robert Pickle and Rhett Priode – organized the reunion, which started at 9 a.m. and kept going till 7 p.m. The organizers estimated that more than 350 people attended throughout the day and expect even more to come to the reunion on Sept. 29, 2018, also at New Harvest Park. That event will mark the 60th anniversary of the opening of the high school.

Twins and fellow ’88 grads Eric Washington and Derrick Washington look through old yearbooks.

Revisiting – and laughing at – dance moves from the past are, clockwise from bottom left, Sheila Estes Crisp (’69), Janice McDaniel Burnett (’69), Kim Estes Smith (’75), Debbie Webster (’69) and Alicia Cass (married to Danny Cass, ’65, not pictured), a proud Lenoir City High Panther.

Late arrivers bring their food out to the fresh (and hot) air of the pavilion instead of chilling in the air-conditioned meeting room.











1976 graduates Mark Sanders and Claudia Slagle Walsh are joined by Walsh’s husband, Joe Walsh, a 1973 Central High Bobcat. Joe Walsh retired Friday after a long stint as Knoxville’s director of Parks & Recreation.

In a rare relaxed moment, Powell residents and reunion workhorses Sarah and Gregg Sharp (’76) hang out with Jeff (’76) and Diane Radcliff, who live in Charlotte, N.C.










Tasha Blue Herrell (’78) and Sylvia Wilson Brooks (’77) look for some shade.

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