I attended Paseo High School from the eighth through the twelfth grade. Our class was probably the largest class to integrate the high school. There was much discussion on the radio and TV with concern for how the first few days of school would begin. We were very excited about going to Paseo and so were the majority of the white students.
We first experienced desegregation at Graceland elementary school in the third grade. (Approximately 1956) At Graceland we experienced surprise and prejudice from the white students. Their behavior was to separate themselves from us as students. They would turn their backs and roll their eyes. We were just as cautious as they were in trying to understand what our difference were at that time.
However, when we walked to school to Paseo we all stayed together black and white. We all walked together and talked with one another. During our first days at Graceland a little boy walked up to us and asked are you black? Why are you black? In response we asked him why was he white? We were going to play kick ball and we showed him that our color did not rub off on the ball. He said okay and began to play with us. When drinking water at the fountain the white children wanted to drink first and have the black kids go after them or use the fountain across the hall.
Our class at Paseo was the first group to join Sororities, become cheerleaders and actively participate in sports with the students. We were pacesetters at Paseo during a time of massive social change. We dealt with the announcement of JFK’s assassination and the sadness all students felt dealing with that tragedy. We learned that while we are different we are very much alike. The class of “65” has some fond memories of our time at the school and the lessons we learned in communicating with individuals.