Minden High School is steeped in tradition and has gone through many changes, some good, some bad, alumni say.
Jamie Barnette, class of 1995, says she’s glad to see that MHS has carried on with many of its traditions such as school clubs.
“I love the fact that they still have some of the same traditions that we did,” she said, “with some of their spirit activities and functions. Going into the school, I see a lot of similar things from when I was in school, but there are also differences.”
Barnette, a social worker for Webster Parish Schools, says they offer more extracurricular activities than from when she graduated, such as the bowling club and swim team.
“I like that they’ve offered more opportunities for the kids,” she said.
Her high school experience was a good one, she says. They worked hard and studied hard.
“I remember cramming for tests and working really hard to try to make good grades,” she said. “I just remember everything being good and happy and fun. You enjoyed visiting with your friends at lunch or between classes.”
In other classes, many have come back to their alma mater and seen the physical changes of the school, with the recent renovation of the entire facility. Others have seen cultural changes, such as integration.
Morris Busby, class of 1975, says his senior year was the year the schools in Minden were integrated.
“Minden High became grades 10 through 12, and Webster High became grades eight and nine,” he said. “Our senior year, we did not have a freshman class to pick on. We were told by the principal that the sophomores had already had their year to be picked on and that we could not do anything with them. We were a senior class without a freshman class.”
He says they’d gone to school with minority children from fourth grade up, but at the same time, they didn’t have a lot of variety in their school until their senior year.
“That was interesting,” he said, adding they were the largest graduating class to date, with some 250 students. “MHS has one of the greatest traditions when it comes to homecoming. You’d be amazed at the number that comes back every year.”
Many changes have taken place since then, he said. Some of their classmates have passed away and many have approached retirement or are already retired, Busby included.
Both of Busby’s daughters are graduates of MHS as well, he said.
Dennie Stewart, class of 1955, says the biggest changes she’s seen are behavioral and the renovation of the school building.
“Back when we were in high school, there was very little name-calling, bullying, disrespect and stuff like that,” she said. “We were almost like a family. For many of us, times were hard, and very few of our class were upper crust. They didn’t act like they were better than us. And our teachers were some of the best in the state of Louisiana.”
She says college professors knew which students came from MHS, because they of their academics.
“We won three state championships that year,” she added. “We took a lot of pride in the school, everything. We just had a great time, a lot of fun.”
She says they’ve lost many of their classmates as time has gone on, adding others are suffering the ailments of age such as arthritis, knee replacements and even some wheelchair bound classmates.
“We’re hoping to have a few of us on the football field that night,” she said of homecoming night. “We’re going to have fun.”