ST. LOUIS – It was like a family reunion for the people who went to Sumner High School in the past. The Bulldogs are very proud of the fact that they went to the first black school west of the Mississippi.

Bulldogs from classes going all the way back to the 60s even showed up for the Sumner Annual Roundup. Alumni of Sumner High School gathered Sunday to sign up for memberships and programs to help the school.

The school has produced big names like Chuck Berry, Tina Turner, Arthur Ashe, and Dick Gregory. It was founded in 1875, but the love and appreciation for its part in history is strong.

In a special report called ‘Saving Sumner’ the school was going to be shut down back in 2021, but alumni and supporters fought and came up with a three-year recovery plan focusing on arts and community activism with help from cultural organizations. Their passion and pride kept Sumners doors open – and here’s what alumni had to say about keeping that love and respect for Sumner alive.

“I can go in that room and find all kind of people that were here with me cause we stay together we look out for each other, we encourage each other, so we want them to have that same experience here,” President of Sumner Alumni Association STL Eugenia Davis said.

“It was an atmosphere of respect, whether you knew the person or not yes ma’am, no ma’am yes sir no sir, how you dressed whether you were male or female,” John House, class of 1968 shared.

According to our partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the school is still working on its goal to increase enrollment by 10% each year, and earn a national landmark designation by 2024.