Sense of community at West Charlotte
In this excerpt, Enloe emphasizes the closeness of the West Charlotte school community. The school was such a wonderful place that Enloe, despite saying that it had its ups and downs, cannot think of an example of a down. At the time of the interview, however, West Charlotte may have lost some of its former glory: on a tour of the school, Enloe noticed some lockers in disrepair. To Enloe, an orderly physical environment was part of West Charlotte's identity.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Alma Enloe, May 18, 1998. Interview K-0167. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Full Text of the Excerpt
AE: They had city busses that would go in the neighborhood and pick up the students to bring them to West Charlotte, but I always lived in walking distance. ( ). It was just great. The different teachers, you could pass them and they knew your name. That’s unusual, to be at a big school. I graduated in the largest class at West Charlotte until it was integrated. A lot of my classmates, a lot of the guys died in Vietnam. I can go in my yearbook and just pick out the ones that have passed on. I think it was last year I had two classmates, one, it was Yvette Roberts. Her last name was something else. I can’t remember what it was. Her close friend went to her funeral and died. That’s how close they were. Died at the cemetery. You would think going to school years back and you’re still best friends, and that close. But that’s how it was. I have a girlfriend that went to York Road. She says, “You know everybody.” I’ll say, “Honey, with nine of us going to school, and my brother knew this one’s brother or sister and it just went on down the line.” You just knew everybody and got along. I’m not saying it was a perfect school. They had their ups and downs, but we worked it as a family, sticking together and making the school work.
PG: Can you think of an example of that where a problem arose and everybody worked together to solve that, to work it out? Can you think of anything specific that happened?
AE: Well, I can’t. Nothing, other than West Charlotte sticking together and Second Ward sticking together, and since they were rival schools we fought. Not only just the football team, but it went on down the line. The cheerleaders fought the cheerleaders, because somebody on that team was going with somebody at West Charlotte. We were just two rival schools doing the Queen City Classic. I wouldn’t go to the games because I thought maybe if they started fighting, I wasn’t fighting, so I was always baby sitting. But like I said, sticking together is what we did at West Charlotte.
PG: That’s such a nice experience to have.
AE: Oh, it was. I hope it’s still that way, but I haven’t been up there. It hurt me when I went to West Charlotte one year. They had all of the alumni, all of the classes together. They’re going to have it this July, they have it every three years, and they take you on a tour of the school. I went one year, and I was just shocked to see West Charlotte like it was. Some of the lockers were hanging off the wall, and I said, “This is not West Charlotte.” I don’t know how it looks now, but I was just shocked to see that. You couldn’t come on our campus and drop paper. Everybody just stuck together keeping our school, West Charlotte, the best of all the schools.