Several thousand friends and alumni of Smyrna High School, some of them driving in from other states and many wearing purple and gold letter sweaters, celebrated the school’s 100th anniversary on Nov. 16.
The Smyrna High School Festival included local businesses and restaurants displaying their products. Banquet tables under pop up tents featured Smyrna High School clubs.
“We wanted to make sure we did something so the community could come in and celebrate with us,” Principal Dr. Sherri Southerland said. “It’s been incredible. It’s great to think Smyrna High school has been here a hundred years and we still have such amazing community support.”
According to Southerland, Smyrna High School’s greatest strength and key to the community’s affinity is retired Principal Robert Raikes.
“He helped build up this school and it’s the reason why the community is still so heavily involved with it; because of the things he did and set a precedent for,” she said. “I hope to continue doing many of the thing he did for all those years.”
Raikes served as the Smyrna High School Principal for 37 of his 50 years with the school, and attended the 100th anniversary celebration. He saw the school move from the site that is now Smyrna Middle School and helped lead the high school through its split into Smyrna and La Vergne high schools in 1988. Smyrna High School further split its student body with Blackman High School in 2000.
Smyrna High School is aligned with the International Baccalaureate system, featuring the Cambridge program.
One mark of Smyrna’s connection with the high school is seen in local leadership. Southerland noted that the Town of Smyrna Mayor, Mary Esther Reed, and all current members of the Smyrna Town Council are alumni of Smyrna High School.
“Smyrna High School holds many memories for citizens of the Town of Smyrna, as well as for those who have moved away from our community,” Reed said. “It has been the foundation for many careers and relationships.”