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Moore High's graduating class of 74' finally walks

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Congratulations to the class of 2024, and, in the case of one Oklahoma high school, congratulations as well to the class of 1974.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

That is right. This past weekend, Moore High School's class of '74 finally got to walk the stage and received their diplomas 50 years later.

MIKE WILSON: Saturday could not have turned out any better.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

WILSON: No, it took me 50 years to graduate high school.

(LAUGHTER)

SHAPIRO: That's Mike Wilson. He's the current sports announcer for Moore High sports. But back in 1974, he was a graduating senior at the school. They were all wearing their blue caps and gowns when suddenly...

WILSON: Superintendent gets up there after one song and says, we've got tornado heading this way. And it was just panic and pandemonium getting out of there.

NUALA MURRAY SOUTH: And then the superintendent or the principal, I'm not sure which, stepped up and said, you are all now graduates. You're dismissed. Please leave and seek shelter. And the sky turned this pea green. There were these awful black clouds. And the tornado sirens went off.

KELLY: That's Nuala Murray South. She's another 1974 graduate.

SOUTH: Well, I was with my best friend, and her family hustled her and I out of there really quickly, and I went to her house for the rest of the evening.

SHAPIRO: The tornado missed their city. And despite the disarray, the graduates kept the celebratory spirit alive.

WILSON: You know, that night, afterwards, we're like, well, let's just go party early.

SOUTH: We were only 18, but we did have a bootleg bottle of champagne to celebrate.

KELLY: (Laughter) Well, I hope 50 years later, they're celebrating with something nicer than bootleg, Ari.

SHAPIRO: And this time, they have a lot more family members around.

SOUTH: You know, you never think about your family being there when you graduate from high school, and being there with our children and our grandchildren and even great grandchildren just was wow, you know?

(SOUNDBITE OF FETE'S "THE ISLANDS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Jason Fuller
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
Linah Mohammad
Prior to joining NPR in 2022, Mohammad was a producer on The Washington Post's daily flagship podcast Post Reports, where her work was recognized by multiple awards. She was honored with a Peabody award for her work on an episode on the life of George Floyd.
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