Class of ’79 alumni remain close despite
spending their senior year at different schools
The opening of Fort Pierce Westwood High School led to much angst as the classes at Fort Pierce Central were split, separating seniors from their friends.
BY PATTIE DURHAM
Those were anxious days in the summer of 1978. The
St. Lucie County School District was opening a new
high school on the west side of Fort Pierce and students
were waiting for their assignment notifications
to arrive in the mail.
Would they be attending the familiar Fort Pierce Central
High School or the new Fort Pierce Westwood High School?
The reassignments involved all grades, but for the seniors
who were anticipating their last year of high school and
its pending memories, the stakes were even higher. Once
students were assigned, lifelong friends, teammates and even
young sweethearts would be separated.
Yet despite the separations, the bonds of friendship
couldn’t be broken. And when it came time for their first reunion,
they celebrated together as the Fort Pierce Central and
Westwood High Schools Class of 1979 Association.
“The Class of ’79 has always been together,” says Octavia
Clark Little, a graduate of Central and the current president
of the reunion association. “We had been together for 11 years
and then were split in our senior year.”
In the 1970s, the school board was having a difficult time
finding room for students as more families were moving
into Port St. Lucie and other parts of the county. Elementary
schools were being built for the influx. Then, with the
elementary schools stopping at fifth grade, St. Lucie Junior
High School and Dan McCarty Middle School, separated by a
small field, were designated for all of the county’s sixth- and
seventh-graders. The students were separated alphabetically.
Lincoln Park Academy, once the high school for black students
before desegregation, housed all eighth-graders. When
Fort Pierce Central became overcrowded, the school went to
double sessions. >>