Old Lee High’s Last Salute

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The year 1964 marked Lee High School's first graduating class.
 
In 1986, Huntsville City Schools created the Lee arts and pre-engineering magnet programs, drawing talented and driven students from all over the city.
 
2012 marks the last graduating class to ever walk the halls of what has been known as Lee High School for nearly 50 years.

"Nostalgia, you know I can remember all the memories, I was here 31 years."

Thirty-one years, 573 victories, and for 1968 state championship head coach Jerry Dugan, a lifetime of memories.

 

Coach Jerry Dugan takes one final shot.

"I'm just real fortunate to have coached a lot of outstanding young men and when they tear this down, I'll have a lot of memories and a little sadness with it too, I think.
 
Retiring in February of 2012, Mrs. Earnestine Hines Thursday goes through pictures from her 39 years as a history teacher at Lee. She is also affectionately refered to as "the Institution."

"Evidently, I love Lee High School, I stayed 39 years," says Hines, "but I'm about to start crying coming back in here because I was not just a teacher, I was a mother, I was a couselor, I was a doctor, I was things that some of these kids never had before."

 

Earnestine Hines erases the blackboard in her former classroom.


Penny Sumners, member of the Lee High graduating class of 1964, went on to teach at Lee and serve as assistant principal and principal, retiring in 2000.
 
"It's not as much about the building," Sumners says. "It's about the people and the relationships that you make, and those will carry on."
 
Vivienne Atkins helped found Lee's magnet arts program. She has directed some of Huntsville's most talented performers and vocalists in the audiotrium she helped transform into what she calls "a real theater."

"There's not anything like it, even the new theater, it doesn't have the ambiance," she says.

Vivienne Atkins turns off the "ghost light" in the old Lee High theater.

"It's a beautiful theater, and it is a theater, it's not an auditorium, the architect made sure that we had a theater, but it'll never have this... this feel -- well, maybe in 40 years it'll have this feel," Atkins laughed.
 
Administrators, teachers, parents and students alike agree these words of the Lee High Alma Mater will endure for the next forty years and beyond:

"The Generals’ banner waves above us, We love the blue and gray we see.

It tells of friends, love, and trust And brings us ever close to Lee.

Ever onward through life’s journey now, Though parted we may always be—

Still lingering in our fondest memory, Our hearts will ere be true to Lee.

Still lingering in our fondest memory, Our hearts will ere be true to Lee."
 
On Friday, May 25th the Lee High Class of 2012 will walk across the stage to accept their diplomas at Von Braun Civic Center.
 
The Generals will join New Century Technology High School students at the new Lee building on August 20th.