Members of the Milton High School Class of 1962 recently gathered for a fun-filled weekend of football, fellowship, and food celebrating the 50th anniversary of their graduation from MHS. Classmates from as far away as California and Connecticut returned to Milton High and downtown Milton to renew old friendships, share fond memories, and marvel at the changes in MHS and Milton that have taken place in the last 50 years. The weekend kicked off at the Milton High School Homecoming game in reserved seating, arranged by MHS Assistant Principal Benji West. Unfortunately, Milton lost the exciting game in the closing minutes to Gulf Breeze.
Bright and early the next morning, Milton principal Mike Thorpe led an informative and enjoyable tour of the Milton campus. When the Class of 62 came to the recently constructed campus in 1958, the south end of the campus was covered with giant oak trees, and the principal, Mr. Southwell, lived in a small white cottage on campus. The main building was a long open hallway, covered but no sides, with administrative offices in the center and finger-like projections containing classrooms. The institutional cafeteria was a small undercoated rectangular room with long tables and folding chairs. The north end of campus was a large parking lot with an expansive lawn and the FFA woodworking shop. Mr. Thorpe proudly showed off the current cafeteria that looks more like a first class restaurant than school cafeteria. He then walked the group through the most impressive areas of MHS: the Media area with dozens of computers and even a television studio; the Gulf Power area, where they train students to work in the energy industry; the unique Aviation
Laboratory, with flight simulators and aviation memorabilia; the Physics Laboratory with robots and energy-efficient race cars; and finally the only large auditorium in Santa Rosa County. The group left the MHS campus amazed with how far MHS has come and proud to be part of the MHS tradition and Panther family.
Later in the day, the group met at Memorial Park for snacks and visiting. A beautiful park, Riverwalk, and memorial have replaced the rickety wooden docks. In 1962 the MHS Jaybees helped clear the original road to the area that is now Carpenter's Park, a major river improvement. Classmates enjoyed recalling what downtown looked like in 1962. The First National Bank was on the corner of Willing and Main streets, and Willing Street was bustling with Cohen's Clothing Store, Robinson Barnes Jewelry Store, Corner Drugstore, Wolfe Lewis Funeral Home, Amos Five and Dime, Fisher's Hardware, Barnes Poolroom, and Mack William's Appliance and Hardware. The Press Gazette offices were across the street from the courthouse, and students cruised around Parkmore and Jo's House of Pizza drive-ins. Classmates thought downtown was a little less busy, but very charming and attractive.
The weekend ended with a delicious dinner at Nichol's Seafood Restaurant. Seventy-five classmates and guest spent several hours
remembering good times at MHS, eating, and vowing to stay in touch. The 50-year reunion was a resounding success.