4 high school friends who graduated nearly 80 years ago reunite at community care center

Four McKinley High School graduates, who had not seen each other since graduation, recently reconnected at Old Jefferson Community Care Center in Baton Rouge. (Source: WAFB)
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 8:06 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB/Gray News) - Four high school friends who graduated nearly 80 years ago and had not seen each other since have reconnected at a community care center in Louisiana.

Three of the women, 101-year-old Vera Baker, 95-year-old Frankie Christentery, and 97-year-old Estelle Walker, graduated from McKinley High School in 1944. The fourth friend, 95-year-old Genevie Booker, graduated in 1945.

“Well, it just so happens that this one [Walker] is a cousin by marriage,” Christentery told WAFB. “And I heard that she was in this facility when I was assigned to come here.”

When she learned Christentery was at Old Jefferson Community Care Center in Baton Rouge, Walker said she went looking for her.

“I was glad I had a classmate that was in the same center with me,” Walker said.

The two later found Baker and Booker as well.

“I never knew about it,” Booker said.

Baker added, “I was so happy.”

The four women have some vivid memories of their time at McKinley High, which is the oldest high school established for African American students in East Baton Rouge Parish.

“I remember going to the games all the time. I used to love going to the games,” Walker said.

Christentery said a lot has changed at the high school since they were students, including the addition of buses to take students to school. She also said she still remembers some of the school’s fight song.

“I had forgotten most of it, but it’s ‘Hail hail, McKinley High,’ I would have to go back and think about it,” she said.

The four women got together as if no time had passed and said they have some advice for recent high school grads.

“Just pay attention to what’s going around you continuously and take advantage of all the opportunities that you have. Because in my era, we had very few opportunities and we had to make opportunities,” Christentery said.

The staff at Old Jefferson Community Care Center said the women are so delighted to have found each other.

Baker loves to cook and was at the center for the community care center’s skilled nursing program. She left the facility on Monday.

Christentery loves hunting, fishing and bowling, and will leave the facility on Friday. She was also there for the skilled nursing program.

Walker was voted most fashionable and is a long-term resident of Old Jefferson Community Care Center.

Booker loves art and is also a long-term resident of the center.