www. fhhsaa.com - e-mail alumni@fhhsaa.com

MARCH 2003



Greetings Alumni and Friends:


Two years have passed since we came together as the Hornet Family, in celebration of the legendary history of Fairmont Heights High School. It is time that we plan an All-Class Reunion, or some similar activity to meet old friends and share past and future endeavors. Look for more details in this newsletter.

Let me bring you up to date on the good and the not so good news at Fairmont Heights High School during the last two years. First, the good news:

We are proud to report that 22 alumni have joined the distinguished rank of Life Members of the FHHS Alumni Association:


Diane Bragg Catherine Maupins

Norman V. Byrd, Sr. Ann Moore

Grace Y. Countee Joyce Payne

Jerome T. Countee, Sr. Denise E. Pogue

Barbara T. Gainey Constance J. Rouse

Anthony R. Gantt Teresa Strong

Elizabeth Gordon Sylvia Syphax

Marjorie Johnson Eleanor Traynham

Robert R. Johnson John Williams

Loretta Ligon Michael Wooten

Ernestine M. Jones Lillian Wiseman


Lets see if we can double that number, or make it 50 by year 2004.

Thanks to all who participated in our Thirteenth Annual Reunion Dance on April 26, 2002, and made it possible to award $3,000 in scholarships to four graduating seniors of Fairmont Heights High School.

Special kudos to Dr. N. Joyce Payne, class of 58, keynote speaker at the 2001 Commencement Program, who presented $16,000 on behalf of the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund to Terrence Cox who completed his first year at North Carolina A&T University. Dr. Payne is founder of the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, which has awarded

more than $14 million in merit scholarships to students attending historically black colleges and universities. Dr. Payne is also chairperson of the G. James Gholson Endowment Fund of the FHHS Alumni Association. The Fine Line of 69 has awarded graduating students of FHHS for three consecutive years a $1,000 John J. Williams Scholarship. The 2002 recipient was Warren Sims, who is studying Economics at Western Maryland College. Thanks to Patricia Sorrell Kellibrew, Sara Mooney Turnipseed, and Gary Clark, Committee Leaders and the Fine Line of 69 for continuing to bring joy to students financially, and for bestowing upon me the distinct honor of a scholarship bearing my name. You have added a new meaning to the rewards of teaching.

Words are insufficient in expressing my gratitude to the Class of 61 who contributed $1,025.00 to the Scholarship Fund and $500.00 to the G. James Gholson Endowment Fund. We need more reunion groups to follow their example. This class helped to raise a considerable amount of the $5,000.00 shortfall of FHHS 2001 Yearbook. If every class reunion gave to the Scholarship Fund , and supported the school from time to time, we would not have to push ticket sales for our Annual Reunion Dances.

Additionally, I must thank the officers of the Scholarship Committee and the G. James Gholson Endowment Fund and others, for personally reimbursing me $1,000.00 that I donated to help publish the school yearbook.

Finally, I pray Gods blessing and offer my support to the Class of 53, who are planning a 50-Year class reunion this summer. Anyone desiring information, or would like to help in the planning, please contact Ernestine Beatty Jones, at 301-596-6411.

Now, the unfortunate or not so good, news

By now, I am sure that you have read or heard about the article that appeared in the Washington Post, Prince Georges Extra on December 12, 2002, entitled County High Schools Score Poorly on New Test. The Post reported that Prince Georges students posted dismal scores on a new state exam that high school students will be required to pass before earning a diploma starting 2007.

One of those schools not scoring well on the first of the High School Assessment Test was Fairmont Heights High School. In fact, Fairmont Heights didnt even break the 10th percentile on any of the subject areas.

I received a number of calls from alumni, both embarrassed and alarmed about this disappointing news of their alma mater. I could not believe it myself. What happened? How could that be? These questions and others led to blame and shame castigated upon the administration and staff at the school. So, I took it upon myself to talk to Dr. Carolyn Blue, principal; vice principals, and teachers at the school.

First, I discovered that some members of the faculty had told their students that the test does not count; I was told that the majority of the Magnet Bio-tech students did not take the test. They probably would have accounted for some of the higher scores on the test. The school needed 536 to pass. However, 39 passed and 200 students opted not to take the test. Second, other factors accounted for the disappointing results quoted by the Washington Post: almost 70% of the teachers were first timers; more than half of the teaching staff are either uncertified or on provisional status. Add to this concern, the school operates on an A/B-day schedule, high absenteeism among teachers which means finding substitute-teachers (a problem county-wide), does not help in assisting Black and Hispanic students who are more poorly prepared to pass the exam than their white and Asian counterparts in Prince Georges County and statewide.

Finally, the lack of a seriously needed administrator to deal with the discipline and other day-to-day problems confounded by the new temporary classrooms, is a sign that the school needs help.

In summary, FHHS needs your help! If you care about your Alma Mater, and I am sure that you do, the call the school and offer your assistance in tutoring, mentoring, hall security, class assistance, answering the telephone, etc., as an alumnus/ae who still has the Hornet spirit and one who wants to help continue the quest for Academic Excellence. Make a difference, Get involved!


All alumni members who wish to join a committee to plan an All Class Reunion or an

Alumni Summit, etc., please contact John J. Williams at :(301) 336-7913, or e-mail - sirjaywms@hotmail.com.





On behalf of the Fund, Mary McKinney, 63 lead the campaign to name the newly constructed school at 900 Nalley Road, Landover, Maryland, the G. James Gholson Middle School. This is an enormous achievement for Mr. Gholson, the Fund and the Alumni Association and most importantly for the Fairmont Heights High School family. It will stand as a sterling monument to Mr. Gholsons profound influence on the lives of African Americans. He showed us how to lift our heads and hearts in the midst of segregation and even today he continues to embrace students with his gentle, yet firm touch of humanity. What a wonderful birthday gift for a 90 year-old giant. We encourage you to continue your support of FHHS and to add the G. James Gholson Middle School to your listfor financial and in-kind support. Kudos to Mary!

In recognition of 90 years of leadership in education, the Fund hosted a birthday celebration for Mr. Gholson on July 20. In addition to his family and friends, several well known FHHS teachers and administrators attended the celebration. Of course, Mr. Gholson was his usual gregarious self in reminiscing about old times and roasting several colleagues. As one writer says, Mr. Gholsons crown has already been bought and paid for; all he has to do now is wear it. With your continued support of the Fund, we will keep him in his crown of glory.

Let us remind you again, that the G. James Gholson Endowment Fund is a member of the Institute for Black Charities. As a consortium member of the Institute, we are engaged in the Combined Federal Campaign again this year. Please pledge your CFC contribution to #5606 for the G. James Gholson Endowment Fund. We desperately need your support to achieve our goal of a $50,000 endowment.

For additional information on the Fund, please contact Mary at (301) 322-9268.

The G. James Gholson Endowment Fund is now incorporated as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization. Your continued support is appreciated. Contact Mary V. McKinney at (301) 322-9268 for more information.




At a recent banquet honoring the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., John J. Williams was presented the Civil Rights Pioneer award by the Prince Georges County chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in recognition of his efforts and commitment to desegregate the Prince Georges County School.

Mr. Williams was one of the organizers and lead plaintiff in the 1972 Desegregation suit that lasted for 30 years. He is writing a book entitled How Nine Black Students Changed the Face of Prince Georges County.

The event was held at Faith Temple No. 2, OFW Baptist Church in Capitol Heights, MD, where County Executive, Jack Johnson was guest speaker and other prominent guests included Marylands Lt. Governor Michael Steele, State Senator Gloria Lawlah, State Delegate Dereck Davis and Councilwoman Camille Exum.




Congratulations to the following 2002 graduating seniors who were awarded FHHSAA scholarships which will enable them to pursue their academic goals:

Rosslyn A. Benn ($500.00)-Western Maryland College

Maria L. Marucot ($500.00) - Philadelphia University

Sindy Nurse ($1,000.00) - Howard University

Eden Yacob ($1,000.00) - Salisbury State


Thanks to each of you who, through your participation and membership, made it possible for us to support these graduates in furthering their education.











Post Office Box 2727

Landover Hills, Maryland 20784-0727





Please make check/money order payable to FHHSAA and send to the above address




Name _____________________________________________________ Date ______________


Address ________________________________________________ Graduation Year ________




Regular Membership - $10.00 ___________ Faculty ___________


Lifetime Membership - $200.00 __________ Staff _______________












N. Joyce Payne Melvin Yates

Chair Vice Chair


Message from the Chair


Thanks to all who made it possible for the naming of the G. James Gholson Middle School located at 900 Nalley Road, landover, Maryland. I would like to thank the following personally for their assistance; Senator Exum, Delegate Howard, Ed Jordan, Tommie Broadwater, Sylvia Syphax, Michael Marshall, Boyd Poole and Melvin Yates. Members who testified at the May 2002 Community Hearing: Delegate Joanne Benson, John Williams, Courtney Pringle and Betty McLeod. I, Joyce Payne, also testified. Special thanks to School Board Chairman, Kenneth Johnson and Cheryl Landis.


Upcoming Events at G. James Gholson Middle School


Principal Tujuana White


Dedication of the School

Friday, May 02, 2003

7:30am Continental Breakfast

8:00am School Tour


Alumni Update


Congratulations to Hall of Fame Inductee!!! After 28 seasons as a Hornet Head Coach, Ralph Paden has been inducted into the Hall of Fame. His 172/98 record includes five Prince Georges County Championships, three Regional Championships, five State Playoffs and two Stata Runner Up finishes. He only had six losing seasons in the past 28 years. CONGRATULATIONS Coach Paden!!