First Day Of School – 60 Years Ago Today

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - by B.B. Branton
1954-55 Kindergarten Class - Lookout Mountain Elementary:
Front row: (l-r) Johnny Kovacevich, Charlie Noone, Peg Cooley (May), Charley Frazier, Billy Agnew, Ginnie Gilman (Harris), Marvin Harper, Kathy Houck (Trent), Jimmy Frierson, Margaret Mebane Johnston (Hannah), Janelle Roberts (Walker).
Middle Row: (l-r) Johnny Popham, Cynthia Garmany, Mary Navarre (Moore), Mark Bass, Reid Voigt, Brad Weeks, Anne Corley (Quinlan), Becky Miller (Bowers), Greg Brown, West Oehmig
Back Row: (l-r) Bertha Jahn (teacher), Sherred Milligan (Williams), Barbara Gott (Bush), Margie Johnston (Hannah), Bill Trewhitt, Bobby Caldwell, Beverly Bishop, Martin Long, Susan Crawford, Michael Golden, Ricky Estabrook, Allen Brown, Zan Guerry and Lucy Commons (teacher assistant) Principal Eric Jahn – middle back.
1954-55 Kindergarten Class - Lookout Mountain Elementary: Front row: (l-r) Johnny Kovacevich, Charlie Noone, Peg Cooley (May), Charley Frazier, Billy Agnew, Ginnie Gilman (Harris), Marvin Harper, Kathy Houck (Trent), Jimmy Frierson, Margaret Mebane Johnston (Hannah), Janelle Roberts (Walker). Middle Row: (l-r) Johnny Popham, Cynthia Garmany, Mary Navarre (Moore), Mark Bass, Reid Voigt, Brad Weeks, Anne Corley (Quinlan), Becky Miller (Bowers), Greg Brown, West Oehmig Back Row: (l-r) Bertha Jahn (teacher), Sherred Milligan (Williams), Barbara Gott (Bush), Margie Johnston (Hannah), Bill Trewhitt, Bobby Caldwell, Beverly Bishop, Martin Long, Susan Crawford, Michael Golden, Ricky Estabrook, Allen Brown, Zan Guerry and Lucy Commons (teacher assistant) Principal Eric Jahn – middle back.

It was the excitement, the newness of it all.

A new adventure for a group of four and five-year-olds as they started a journey of lifelong friendships and together, experiencing life’s highs and lows.

Sixty years ago today – the day after Labor Day 1954 – nearly 40 youngsters enrolled in kindergarten at Lookout Mountain School with Mr. Eric Jahn as principal, his wife Bertha as the class teacher and Lucy Commons as teacher assistant.

While these classmates might not have filled all the occupations of butcher baker, candlestick maker or doctor, lawyer, Indian chief, the class of ’55 has produced mayor, lawyer, teacher, tennis star … a chef, writer, editor and priest … investor, entrepreneur and world traveler … and best of all, good moms and dads, husbands and wives.

Here are a few names of classmates with their occupations.

Tennis star (Zan Guerry), Saddle bred horse riding champion (Kathy Houck Trent), lawyers (Brad Weeks, Mary Navarre, John Popham), marine officer (Johnny Kovacevich), NCAA post grad scholar (John Popham), teacher (Ginnie Gilman Harris, Sherred Milligan Williams), dentist (Martin Long), writer (Michael Golden, Roy Exum, B.B. Branton), chef (Margaret Mebane Johnston Hannah), episcopal priest (Mary Navarre Moore), and mayor (Greg Brown).

“I find it amazing that so many of us have remained friends,” said Barbara Simmons Eustis (a managing partner with Management and Capital Partners) whose family moved to Lookout Mountain in time for her to attend LMS in the second grade.

“Through the friendship of our mothers, Roy Exum and I have never lost touch, and Bobby Caldwell and I were dear friends until his death (Dec. 25, 2010). Mary Navarre and I are still friends and vacation together in the summer, along with Libba McNeill, who joined our class in the third grade, and several other classmates from out GPS class.”

Most elementary schools attended and years: John Popham – 5; Lookout Mountain (K), Fairyland (1-3), Notre Dame Elementary (4) and St. Gerard‘s (5-6) and back to Notre Dame Elementary for 7-8 before attending ND High School (9-12).

Good friends, rival newspapers: Michael Golden’s family owned the Chattanooga Times until the sale to the Chattanooga Free Press in 1999 and he has worked for the New York Times in various executive positions; Roy Exum’s family owned the Chattanooga News Free Press and he served as executive sports editor for many years.

Most colleges attended: Michael Golden, 4 - Lehigh Univiversity (Pa.) undergrad (BA with honors) and graduate school (master’s in education); Missouri School of Journalism (MA degree) and Emory University (MBA).

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contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@comcast.net
 


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