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DECATUR, Ala. — On Saturday, alumni are gathering to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the closure of Decatur’s only all-black high school.

Lakeside High School first opened its doors in 1955. The school closed in 1969 during integration.

It is now the location of Leon Sheffield Magnet Elementary School, named after Lakeside’s former principal. The elementary school has dedicated a commemorative plaque to Lakeside so that this part of history and those who attended the school will not be forgotten.

Alumni say because the closure happened so abruptly much of the school’s memorabilia was lost or thrown away. The former students have put together what little they could find to help celebrate and remember.

“Lakeside was more than just a high school it actually was a community center for the entire black community at that time. And so most of the activities that the school sponsored everybody supported it,” explained Adolphus Elliott Sr., the program’s committee chairman.

The public is invited to attend a free picnic at Leon Sheffield Magnet Elementary school from 10am until 2pm Saturday.