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Class of '69 celebrated 70th birthday while encouraging cherishing friendships

The Saltillo High School class of '69 celebrated their classmates 70th birthday while encouraging everyone to cherish their friendships.

Posted: Oct 4, 2021 11:45 AM
Updated: Oct 4, 2021 12:16 PM

SALTILLO, Miss. (WTVA) - The Saltillo High School class of '69 celebrated their classmates' 70th birthday while encouraging everyone to cherish their friendships.

“As you get older, you recognize and understand how important friendships are versus when you’re 18-years-old, graduated from high school and you don’t know about life,” Benny Campbell said. He graduated from Saltillo High School in 1969. However, he and his former classmates have known each other for more than 60 years. As he gets older, Campbell said he has realized how important those friendships are to him. 

“I had an uncle. He lived to be almost 101," Campbell said. "And he told his children, ‘I love y’all, but what am I doing here? My friends are gone.’ That had an impact on me that’s been long-lasting.”

Campbell along with eight others planned their 50th high school reunion in 2019. After a fun time planning it and a great turnout, the group of nine have met once every month since then. 

“From that, we’ve decided, ‘Look, we can’t let this die,” Cheryl Bradley said. 

This year, they threw a 70th birthday party for everyone in their graduating class. A DJ played 60's music, folks ate birthday cake and ole classmates caught up with each other. 

“We had a professional baseball player, we’ve had a mayor, we’ve had people in education, people in industry, people have run their own businesses...," David DeVaugh, their Class President, said. "Everybody has been pretty successful.”

Over 60 people graduated with the class of '69. Since then, nine people have died but they are not forgotten. The group lit lanterns in their remembrance and released them into the Saturday night. 

“Friendships are important but not like it is as you get older,” Campbell said. 

“We just had someone to tell us just now that he had not seen the guy that walked up in 52 years since we graduated," Bradley said. "And it’s just great to get back in contact with each other.”

As the years go by and more students graduate, the class of '69 has this advice:

“Stay in touch with everybody," DeVaughn said. "Keep the networks open.”

“Get together," Bradley said. "It’s fun. You keep up with each other. With technology these days, this has not been difficult.”

“Don’t lose sight of your friendships," Campbell said. "Do something like this. It takes a lot of hard work, but you will be rewarded.”

As for Campbell and his friends, they will continue to meet once a month for dinner and plan their next big event. 

“Those are things that you can’t touch and feel other than in your heart and in your mind,” he said. 

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 513622

Reported Deaths: 10264
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34892556
DeSoto33234432
Hinds32638641
Jackson24854389
Rankin22507403
Lee16337242
Madison14922283
Jones14113247
Forrest13766259
Lauderdale12270324
Lowndes11305193
Lamar10659140
Pearl River9719244
Lafayette8846143
Hancock7836132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7210138
Monroe7010179
Pontotoc6990109
Warren6863178
Panola6759134
Neshoba6730210
Marshall6678141
Bolivar6445151
Union638297
Pike5928156
Alcorn5879107
Lincoln5530136
George510180
Prentiss503884
Tippah491482
Itawamba4844107
Scott477899
Adams4768125
Tate4756116
Leflore4729144
Copiah456495
Yazoo456491
Simpson4546117
Wayne443072
Covington433695
Sunflower4299106
Marion4277112
Coahoma4237109
Leake413990
Newton395781
Tishomingo383593
Grenada3777109
Stone365866
Jasper340666
Attala338290
Winston317892
Chickasaw315467
Clay312278
Clarke301195
Calhoun285049
Holmes271889
Smith269052
Yalobusha243947
Tallahatchie231553
Greene224749
Walthall221666
Lawrence218740
Perry213456
Amite209857
Webster205348
Noxubee188742
Montgomery181657
Carroll174541
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152939
Kemper145041
Choctaw136727
Claiborne134338
Humphreys131239
Franklin125529
Quitman107628
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96934
Sharkey65221
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845284

Reported Deaths: 16116
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161552006
Mobile742111380
Madison53307732
Shelby38338368
Baldwin38085589
Tuscaloosa36022641
Montgomery34492781
Lee25562263
Calhoun22586518
Morgan22459406
Etowah20018517
Marshall18782316
Houston17731425
St. Clair16884358
Limestone16148218
Cullman16054303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14989306
Talladega14196299
DeKalb12972269
Walker12030380
Blount10717192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10162194
Coffee9417192
Colbert9342208
Dale9020191
Tallapoosa7256201
Russell708165
Chilton7018170
Escambia6957143
Covington6933195
Franklin6342108
Chambers5784142
Marion5406130
Dallas5285209
Pike5119109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369580
Butler3435100
Marengo342493
Monroe337266
Randolph334867
Pickens333188
Fayette330385
Henry320666
Hale318389
Cherokee317863
Crenshaw260477
Washington257052
Cleburne254460
Lamar251453
Clay250869
Macon244864
Conecuh192862
Coosa185047
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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