ARP, Texas (KETK) – Former students of the Arp Industrial School soaked up decades of memories and reunited with fellow alumni from their disbanded school on Friday night.

“I’ve already been crying,” said former student Lydia Butler Walters. 

The school was founded in 1945 and children from present day Arp, Overton and New London all went there.  At Friday’s ceremony students who used to walk the halls of the school got the chance to remember old memories and catch up with old friends.

“Some of them that I graduated with I haven’t seen since graduation and that was back in 1972,“ said former student Katherine Trimble Reeder. “It’s very important and I think this will help us begin to see each other more or come around more.”  

The school disbanded after the integration and desegregation of schools. Former students said it’s important to remember their history and pass it on to the younger generations in East Texas. 

“It is very special because it really marks a time in history where our kids need to know the history of where we came from and where they came from, even being offspring of that great school,” said alumni, Henry Smith. 

Reeder said she was surprised how many former students were able to make the ceremony. 

She added that it’s a reflection of how special those years were.  

“I’m really surprised and yet happy about it because it’s very good to see them coming out in support this very special occasion,” added Reeder. 

KETK talked with several former students that went to Arp Industrial decades ago and many of them said tonight was something they’ll forever be grateful for.