chief Arthur Piper recalls that by the time he got to Taylor, the reputation of his older brother Robert (’58) as a ladies’ man preceded him! Robert explains that although he should have graduated earlier, a serious car accident kept him out of school for months on end. He credits his sister Jeannie (’59) with bringing schoolwork to him in the hospital to ensure he kept up with academics. Robert went on to serve in the U.S. Army in Germany for five years and later had a career with Xerox. Arthur earned degrees from Virginia State College and Northwestern University, and then worked for AT&T and Time Warner. Arthur gives a lot of credit to fellow ’66 classmate Brenda Pitts Fuller for ensuring their senior yearbook made it through to completion. Brenda attended the reunion with yearbook and other historical memorabilia in hand, including the June 9, 1966 issue of The Fauquier Democrat, which had pictures of the 55 Taylor High School graduates as well as the 222 Fauquier High School graduates. The latter included Linda Murray, the first black student to graduate from FHS. Under each student’s yearbook photo, several things were noted, including the student’s nickname, place of birth, school activities, Robert & Frances Piper and professional ambitions. The motto of the Class of 1966 was “The seeds of knowledge may be planted in solitude, but must be cultivated in public.” Quite a few reunion attendees recalled their time in Taylor High School’s marching band, which was renowned in its day. It competed on a regular basis, often taking top honors, and was known as “The Pride of Fauquier County.” From 1959–1969, all music programs were taught by Mr. Addison Lightfoot, who later went on to teach at Fauquier High School for nearly a quarter-century. Shortly before he retired, the FHS auditorium was named in his honor. Although Mr. Lightfoot passed away in 2013, his wife, Pat Porter Lightfoot, attended the reunion. Along with her best friend Virginia White, Pat was co-valedictorian of Taylor’s inaugural graduating class of 1954. Pat’s family had met Addison several years prior to her time at Taylor. The couple married in 1957, the same year that Pat was hired by a government contractor called Melpar to design aircraft simulators. This was her first exposure to computers, automation, and aerospace, but it wouldn’t be her last. She eventually went to work for the OAO Corporation (now owned by Lockheed Martin), which had a contract with NASA. In 1979, Pat and others were assigned to help monitor the Hubble space telescope! Arthur Piper Brenda Pitts Fuller Gilbert Fudd While many attendees came from Fauquier or surrounding counties, several traveled significant distances. Suzanne Nickens Gray (’65), who last attended a Taylor reunion about 25 years ago, flew in from California. When she learned that this might be the last reunion held at her alma mater and that a future new middle school might bear a different name, Suzanne knew she needed to be present. “The history behind the Taylor name is important,” she says. “I wanted to offer my support to keep the name for the new middle school.” Taylor High School was important to parents, too. Bessie Baltimore attended the Saturday Pat Porter Lightfoot evening event even though she wasn’t a graduate. Her two daughters Claudia and Barbara attended Taylor, and Bessie has vivid memories of chaperoning their proms! Following the Saturday evening party, many of the same Taylor graduates were joined by additional classmates on Sunday afternoon in the school auditorium. Leonard Morton, Sr. (’64), who retired as minister of The First Baptist Church in The Plains at the end of September, served as the program’s master of ceremonies. Nick Napolitano, the current Taylor Middle School principal, addressed the Taylor High School alumni. He expressed his hope that future Taylor students would have increased opportunities and continue to excel, and asked those in attendance to stay connected to the Taylor community. Mr. Napolitano’s predecessor, Ruth Nelson, who retired in June Suzanne Nickens Gray after more than two decades as principal, was recognized for “dedicated service and commitment to the educational advancement of students.” About a dozen Taylor graduates in attendance went on to become men and women of the cloth, and were asked to share brief reminiscences of the values they gained at Taylor. Thelma Tines Mitchell (’61), an accomplished pianist, recalled having a stutter in her youth; she now proudly serves as a bishop of Living Waters International Church in Clairton, PA. First time Taylor High School reunion attendee Calvin Baltimore (’60) noted that he has had many achievements over the years because of the good foundation established at the school and God’s help to move forward. And Phil Lewis (’66) said, “We wouldn’t know one another without this school.” He’s especially grateful, since he ended up marrying a woman with whom he reconnected at a reunion 25 years ago! Near the end of the program, attendees sang their alma mater, the lyrics of which were especially poignant: In and around Fauquier County, glorious to see Stands our noble alma mater W.C.T. William Taylor ever onward the white and blue Hail to the old alma mater, Alma Mater true. Voices sing around our school ground, praises loud and clear, We’ll forever cherish Taylor, Alma Mater dear. Come to the day of separation, gentle tears will flow, Like a beam, our Alma Mater, bright shall it glow. We’re forever struggling, trying with our goals in sight, Plodding forward, hope undying, Alma Mater bright. Many things have changed since this was the school song. The school colors were once white and blue and their mascot was an eagle; today’s Taylor Tigers proudly wear orange. But other things hopefully will continue to withstand the test of time— such as all who are lucky enough to carry on the proud traditions that began at Taylor will “forever cherish” the time they spent there. ~ Nancy Griffin-Bonnaire Discover Fauquier ■ October 2017 21