GA-JCTS Newsletter

The newsletter of the Gilmore Academy-Jackson County Training School Alumni Association, Inc.


Vol. 1 No. 1

September 1996

Roy L Roulhac, Editor


It Was A Grand Success !!


On December 1, 1995, the Jackson County Training School Reunion Committee sent out a call to former students, faculty and staff of Gilmore Academy and Jackson County Training School to attend a July 5-7, 1996, all-school reunion in Marianna, Florida. Over 600 came from far and near with spouses, children, grandchildren, friends, and family to witness this historic event. Recognizing the significance of Gilmore Academy and JCTS in Jackson County's history, the Mayor and the Jackson County Board of Commissioners proclaimed July 5-7, 1996,  Gilmore  Academy-Jackson County Training School Weekend.


The weekend included a Get Acquainted Banquet/Dance at the Chipola Fine Arts Center; a picnic at the last JCTS campus; and a worship service at the 2nd West Florida Missionary Baptist Association Facility located on  the first site of Gilmore Academy. The reunion was a time for reminiscing. For some, memories were vivid and clear, as if it were only

yesterday. Others pretended to remember but could register neither name nor face. For everyone, it was a chance to get together with longtime

friends and to renew acquaintances.


Mattie Belle Fagan Berrian and Linda Darby Jones' leadership and commitment made the reunion a grand success and a memorable experience.

The steering committee included: Raymonia Paramore Robinson, Elmer Roger Clay, Gina Darby Highsmith, Barbara Thompson Johnson, Vema' Black Mack, and Gwen Inez Swilley Summers. They all deserve our heartfelt appreciation for a job well done.


The reunion, however, was more than fun and fellowship. It served as a

unique opportunity for GA-JCTS alumni to formally organize themselves

and explore mutual interests and possibilities; We decided to organize a

Gilmore Academy-JCTS Alumni Association. An association will provide an opportunity; for alumni to use their collective talents to plan future

reunions, renew and foster a spirit of camaraderie, and to give something back to Jackson County. Its success hinges on member support.



The Idea of an Alumni Association


During the July 7 worship service at the 2nd West Florida Missionary Baptist Association, I proposed that we use our homecoming to organize an alumni association. The idea was heartily supported. Each class selected representatives to form an interim organizing committee (See enclosed list). I agreed to explore the formation of an alumni association and review the articles of incorporation of the Jackson

County Training School Panther Foundation, Inc., to determine whether

another organization was necessary.


The JCTS Panther Foundation, Inc., a Florida business for-profit corporation, was incorporated October 19, 1990 to:

(1) grant scholarships; (2) provide assistance in training in /business

administrative skills; and (3) improve the educational and business aspects of Jackson County. The foundation was administratively dissolved by the State of Florida, October 11,1991. Although the foundation can be reactivated its existence as a for-profit corporation does not conflict with the objectives of a non-profit alumni association. The missions are different.


The GA-JCTS Alumni Association


The name of the corporation shall be the Gilmore Academy-Jackson County

Training School Alumni Association, Inc. The purpose of the GA-JCTS

Alumni Association is to: (1) support and foster a spirit of camaraderie and community among former staff, students and faculty of the former

Gilmore Academy and Jackson County Training School, (2) assemble and

preserve historical records and memorabilia about the school, its

founder, former students, staff and faculty; (3) create a database of

Gilmore Academy-JCTS alumni; (4) broaden professional contacts by

networking with fellow alumni; (5) sponsor activities that will enhance

feelings of identity between alumni and the Jackson County community; and (6) such other purposes as the Board of Directors may authorize. The association can also coordinate a drive to change rename Marianna Middle School to Gilmore Academy-JCTS Middle School as proposed at the reunion banquet by a former student.


Membership in the alumni association is open to all former GA-JCTS faculty, staff, and students. Alumni who pay dues by January 15, 1997 will be listed as incorporators on the Articles of Incorporation that will be filed with Florida's Department of State in late January 1997.


Association membership will run from January 1 to December 31, except the first year, the membership year will run from October 1996 to December 31, 1997. Former staff, students and staff who pay  alumni dues before December 31, 1997, will be charter members.


Alumni membership dues shall be $20 per year. Dues will be used to: publish and distribute a bi-annual newsletter; defray organizational expenses (filing fees, etc.); provide seed money for the next reunion; create a scholarship fund; and such other purposes as the interim organizing committee shall direct.


Application will be made to the State of Florida to become a Florida Non-profit Corporation before the end of January 1997. Thereafter, application will be made to the Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt status. An interim organizing committee meeting will be held in Marianna during July 1997 to elect interim officers, adopt interim by-laws, appoint committee chairs, make plans for the next reunion, and conduct such other business as may come before the body. The meeting shall be open to all dues paying members of the GA-JCTS Alumni Association.




The Gilmore Academy-JCTS Alumni Association Organizing Committee

1931                                                         1959                                                        1966                                                       1975

Maggie Pender Atwater                       Fletcher L Gibson                                 Linda Darby Jones                                Raymonia     Paramore

Marianna FL 32448                                  Plantation FL 33325                               Marianna FL 32448                                Robinson

                                                                                                                                                                                                 Marianna FL 32447

1941                                                          1950                                                        Dovie White Lewis

Willia S Baker                                           Arthur Graham                                       Marianna FL 32448                                1951

Tallahassee FL 32308                               Marianna FL 32447                                          .                                                     Annie Barkley Roulbac

                                                                                                                                  1974            .                                           Marianna FL 32446

Johnnie J Datson                                       1963                                                        Verna' Black Mack

St Petersburg FL                                        Dorothy Adams Harley   .                      Tallahassee FL 32308                            Catherine Barkley Roulhac



  1950                                                                                            .                           1949

Lucille J Bentley                                        1953                                                        Elizabeth S MeElveen

Lithonia GA 30038                                   Bonzell Harrison                                    Ft Washington MD 20744                     1960

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Donme Roulbac

  1964                                                         Marianna FL 32448                                                                                                Marianna FL 32446


Mattie B. Fagan Berrian                            1961                                                        Sheryl Johnson   MeGriff

Miami FL 33167                                       Naomi Harrison                                      Detroit Ml 48208                                   1961

                                                                   Orlando FL 32818                                                                                                  Roy Lee Roulhac

1959                                                                                                                          1963                                                        Detroit MI 48208

Shirley Bronson                                         1970                                                        Evelyn Gant Moore

Marianna FL 32447                                   Tonia Pope Hill                                       Tampa FL 3361O                                  1967

                                                                   Marianna FL 32446                                                                                               Gloria Russ

1944. B Brown                                          1953                                                                                                                        .Marianna FL 32448

Queen                                                        1975                                                        WillieHazel Rdlack Morris

Marianna, FL 32448                                  Gina Darby Highsmith                           Opa Locka FL 33054                              1966

                                                                   Marianna FL 32448                                .              .                                                Patricia Speight

Elmore Bryant                                                                                                           1948  .                                                     Jacksonville FL 32208

Marianna FL 32448                                   Corine Holland                                       Eldean S Nichols

                                                                   Cottanweod AL                                      Pensacola FL 32501                                1959

1961                                                                                                                                                                                          Waymon Speight

Elmer Roger Clay                                      1965                                                        1957          .                                             Freeport NY

Marianna FL 32446                                   Leroy Holland                                        Sarah Speights Pender

                                                                   Tallahassee FL                                        Marianna Fl 32448                                 1959

1951       .                                                                                                                                .                                                 Tereather Boykins White

Eloise Cotman                                           1968                                                        Curley Spires Porter                               Lakeland FL 33805

Newark NJ 07108                                     Vivian Holland                                        Bronx NY 10473

                                                                   Riviera Beach FL 33404                                                                                         1969

1970                                                                          .                                                Eddie L Porter                                         Harvey Williams

Valaria Wallace Davies                              1968                                                        Newark NJ 07108                                   Marianna FL 32446

Marianna Fl. 32447                                   Catherine Johnson

                                                                   Tallahassee FL 32308                             1937                                                        Lillie C. Williams

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Marianna Fl, 32446

Linda 13 Franklin                                                                                                      Roberta Ellis Pressley

Cottondale Fl. 32443                                 1962                                                        Marianna FL 32448

                                                                   Barbara Thompson Johnson                                                                                   Nellie Forrest Wilson

1965                                                           Marianna FL 32446                                Mary Alice B Reeves                              Marianna 11 32448

Amous Leon Gibson                                                                                                 Tallahassee FL 32301

Lauderhill FL



Food for Thought

The history of African Americans has been ignored, suppressed and distorted more than any other group. The 627-page book, Jackson County Florida - A History  by Jerrell II. Shofner (1985), includes the following history of Gilmore Academy and Jackson County Training School:


R.  T. Gilmore's academy was attended by most of the young blacks of Marianna in the 1920's and 1930s. It later became the Jackson County Training School. The Baptist College continued during the period and a few Marianna blacks started their education career at Cook's Institute at  Two  Egg. (p.468).


We must write our own history. GA-JCTS alumni can become advocates for the preservation of our own Jackson County heritage. We can correct the distortions and tell the true story of our experience in Jackson County.