First Footers share common experience

By: Beacham McDougald - Focus on Scotland

It was late summer of 1967 and the new Scotland High School was about to open its doors and consolidate many of the other high schools in Scotland County. The late 1960’s as any high school years for teenagers were years of change, but the late 1960’s found the conflict in Vietnam escalating, and friends were fighting an dying over there, we had just two years earlier begun bringing an end to racial segregation in public school – and it was initially a slow process, and now we were caught in the consolidation for Laurinburg, Laurel Hill, Gibson, and Wagram High Schools along with parts of I. Ellis Johnson, Shaw, Carver, and Pate-Gardner High Schools.

The school bond passed to build Scotland High School was done with the idea that only the four “white” high schools would merge. With integration, the new school was too small on opening day.

Many of us learned that cooperation and communication brought all of us together. Despite local, national, and international turmoil, most of us survived and prospered.

We were indeed tested by “fire,” but all of us could say: “God has made each and every one of us different in many ways, but we bear one wonderful common identity: we were the first students to set foot into Scotland High School, or the Classes of 1968, 1969, & 1970.”

This fall, on November 3rd and 4th, we are going to “come together” and celebrate the 50th “birthday” of Scotland High School (even though it still seems to be much younger).

The SHS First Footers reunion will be “A la carte” style in that classmates may pick and choose which events to attend. The only required purchase (for $5) will be an ID/Registration lanyard that will be used for admissions to reunion activities. The “First Footers” lanyard will feature your senior (or most recent Yearbook/or submitted photo) your name, your class, and will be color-coded for admission to the four separate events. There will be a “spouse” lanyard as well.

Other events and fees are as follows – and remember, you are free to pick and choose which events to attend (if you can not make all of them):

Friday, November 3rd – $10 admission per person to the “Tailgate Party” from 4:30 to 6:30 pm Friday at the SHS Student Commons. This is the Richmond game, so be sure to arrive early to find parking. This will be a great time to meet and greet some whom you have forgotten or have missed since your high school days.

$7 – reserved seating admission to the football game. The “First Footers” will enter the stadium when we are recognized on the Jumbotron. Various Yearbook photos will be displayed on the large Jumbotron screen from about 6:55 to 7:05 pm.

On Saturday the festivities will shift to the Monroe Camp and Retreat Center.

$13 – Afternoon picnic. From 1 to 5:30 pm. We will have heavy snacks and soft drinks during the afternoon. You may bring your own wine or beer-but no liquor. Bring a lawn chair, converse, socialize, toss the cornhole bags and enjoy some great afternoon fellowship and music provided by DJ “Boogie Benny” (aka, Benny Stewart, Class of 1969) that will take you back to some memorable years (and music)!

Lastly, $15 – Catered buffet dinner starting at 6 pm Saturday night. After dinner our former teachers/administrators in attendance will share their memories of our early days, we will have a video of old high school photos/memories, and Benny Stewart will again be the DJ for any special requests.

The dinner is limited – by space – to the first 180 First Footers and spouses/significant others in the order in which their registrations are received after June 1. We are holding an additional 20 to 24 spaces for our very special guests: our teachers and administrators whom hopefully will share their old memories of the “First Footers.”

Dress code: Several classmates have asked about the dress for the event. SHS ‘69 alum, Jim McLean, “raised the bar” by stating that he only has casual beachwear, and beach casual wear. In that case the dress for the entire event is CASUAL!

The total cost for all events will be $50 which includes two meals and heavy snacks, reserved football ticket, and all ancillary costs (security, etc.) – or you can attend “a la carte”. The final date for paying registrations (except for the Saturday dinner which is first come/first served) is October 10, 2017.

Please send all registrations (including your name in high school and the class you were with, any personal information that you wish to share with others, and check payable to SHS First Footers and send to or treasurer: John Bullard, 102 Whitecraigs Ct., Pinehurst, NC 28374.

Any funds left over and any additional contributions that you may wish to make in a separate (tax deductible) check will be used to fund three academic/financial need “SHS First Footers” to a member of each class 50 years later: SHS Classes of 2018, 2019, and 2020. Scholarship checks made to the “Scotland High School Scholarship Fund” c/o Scotland High School, 1000 W. Church St., Laurinburg, NC 28352

One final note. A number of classmates were (for any number of reasons – e.g., military) unable to finish their schooling. Doesn’t matter. If you were part of the “First Footers” – come join us.

For information on each of the events as well as how to register and pay, visit our website at or our Facebook page.

Beacham McDougald

Focus on Scotland

Retired Laurinburg businessman and SHS First Footer Beachum McDougald, wrote this week’s Focus on Scotland, an effort by community leaders to make Scotland County a better place to work, live, and play.

Retired Laurinburg businessman and SHS First Footer Beachum McDougald, wrote this week’s Focus on Scotland, an effort by community leaders to make Scotland County a better place to work, live, and play.