We the People alumni reunite to honor social studies teacher


Social Studies teacher Ray Parrish poses with his former students. Parrish taught the We the People class for over 20 years before it was discontinued.

Last Saturday, 50 Northwest alumni returned to campus. They weren’t just there for a stroll down memory lane, however; members of the We the People team from years past returned for a reunion.

Since its discontinuation nearly two years ago, the We the People class and academic competition on the United States Constitution has been sorely missed by its teacher, social studies teacher Ray Parrish. This year, Parrish, several alumni and parents who supported the program worked together to put on a reunion for the group.

“It was cool getting to do this for him (Parrish) because he’s such a great man,” Northwest alumnus Adam Griffin said.

The event started off with a reception in the media center, which eventually moved to trailer 211, Parrish’s classroom. Throughout the reception, alumni from classes as far back as 2001 mingled and reminisced about their days on the team.

Some former students, now married and with families of their own, brought their spouses and children along.

“I never thought I would change a diaper in my high school library,” one former student remarked.

The reunion continued with a trivia contest on American history before moving into a catered dinner in the cafeteria.

After dinner, North Carolina State Supreme Court Justice and We the People competition judge Paul Newby gave a speech praising Parrish for his teaching style and dedication to honest pursuit of truth.

“To see the kind of appreciation for who we are in the American experience, there is not a better teacher in North Carolina than Mr. Parrish,” Newby said.

While many of the guests present did not know each other, they were all unified by their shared love for Parrish and his teaching, leading to a happy reunion for the teams. Parrish expressed his appreciation for the group’s attendance as the evening closed with a slideshow celebrating the class and Parrish’s life.

I can’t thank y’all enough,” Parrish said tearfully to his former students.