Friday, February 3, 2023

Learn more about Hampton History Museum’s new exhibit on Bethel High School

An action shot from a girl's basketball game at Bethel High School, 1980-1981. (HNNDaily Photo/courtesy of the Hampton History Museum)
An action shot from a girl’s basketball game at Bethel High School, 1980-1981. (HNNDaily Photo/courtesy of the Hampton History Museum)

HAMPTON — As the 50th Anniversary of Bethel High School draws near, the Hampton History Museum gears up for the opening of an exhibit dedicated to the school’s history.

The exhibit, which will be open Aug. 20-26, is completely populated with artifacts and memorabilia from Bethel High School graduates.

Bethel was the fourth high school in the city but was the only one built to be integrative from the start, said Allen Hoilman, curator at the Hampton History Museum.

The other three high schools: Phoebus, Hampton and Kecoughtan were bursting at the seams with students and undergoing the process of integrating black and white students into their population, Hoilman said.

A Bethel High School Mega-Reunion Association was formed from that first graduating class in 1968

Its members are responsible for hosting all the class reunions, and now the big 50th anniversary event.

With a $9,500 grant from the city the Hampton History Museum, Downtown Hampton Development Partnership and the reunion association pooled their resources together to have a special exhibit all about the history of the high school, Hoilman said.

He said $5,000 of that grant money went specifically to the exhibit and the rest to costs associated with the week-long festivities planned for the school’s 50th Anniversary.

Among the artifacts and memorabilia are yearbooks, scrapbooks full of photos and article clippings, signs from championship games, trophies, awards, uniforms and even a cheerleading megaphone, said Will Pell, museum aid and 2013 graduate of Bethel.

Pell said all of the artifacts will be on loan for the exhibit and that the main reception for the 50th anniversary will be at the museum.

To learn about the exhibit and everything else the Hampton History Museum has to offer, click here.

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