Jim Carter will be returning to Carrollton High School tonight to present a plaque to the graduating class of 2017, which will be the last class to graduate from the current high school building.
Carter, Class of 1967, is a member of the first CHS class to spend all four years at the current high school. He’ll be representing his class, which graduated 50 years ago, at tonight’s commencement at Grisham Stadium.
The Carrollton High building will be demolished this summer to make room for phases 2 and 3 of the construction of the new school. Phase 1, which contains classroom space and is adjacent to the current school building, has been completed but not officially opened.
“Our class graduated 50 years ago,” Carter said. “And of course it was simpler time. The amount of trouble we could get into was limited. One of the things I noticed now is that the students are a lot more specialized. The size of the classes have grown a lot since I have been there and students now have to go out to the college to have their big senior walk just to accommodate their size.”
Carter said, while revisiting the high school, that not much has changed since he graduated. Carter was the co-captain of the basketball team, which he believes to be the first integrated squad the school had, when the team made it to the state playoffs for the very first time.
“It is bittersweet and I can’t believe the years have gone by so quickly.” said Carter. “I met the love of my life, Delores Patterson, just in these halls. I promised to marry her when one of us finished college, which she did and graduated within three years.”
Carter wants to tell the graduating class members that when they graduate from high school they become adults. He said that it feels like beginning a new school year when you graduate but what you have done in high school stays in high school. Carter said that what they do with their lives now is important and that people will really start to take notice because they are adults.
“The school and community have been very accepting over all these years,” said Carter. “Carrollton is a special place to go to school because of this very nature. I can’t believe that the years went by so quickly. It went by so fast and it is hard to believe that so many class members have graduated and passed on.”
Carter will share the graduation ceremony stage tonight with the class of 2017, and present a plaque to his grandson, Stephen Hirvela, who is graduating with honors, to commemorate the last class to graduate from the current high school building. Hirvela’s family consists of four generations of graduates from Carrollton High School, including his mother, grandfather and great-grandmother who graduated in 1937.