Alumni News Updates and Information

News and Updates

Historical Events of R.J. Reynolds High School


  • 1918: Richard J. Reynolds dies at age 68.
  • 1919: Charles Barton Keen, the architect of the Reynolda House, designs the school.


  • 1922: Construction begins on the school building early in the year. Construction on the Auditorium doesn’t start until July.
  • Jan. 9, 1923, Tuesday Evening: After reopening from Christmas vacation that day, the old Winston High School (a.k.a. Cherry Street High) is gutted by a great fire.
  • Jan. 15, 1923: The news, yet uncompleted, school building holds classes for the first time.
  • June 1923: Volume 12 of the Black and Gold is printed. This time, however, the yearbook carries the R.J.Reynolds High School name instead of Winston High School.
  • May 8, 1924: The Richard J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium is dedicated. A few weeks later, it holds its first commencement exercises.
  • May 24, 1924: Katharine Reynolds Johnston dies in a New York hospital after giving birth to a son. On May 26, a public memorial service is held-standing room only–in the Auditorium which she had built but never saw completed. Area offices, stores, and businesses are closed in memoriam.
  • Nov. 17, 1924: The first issue of the Pine Whispers newspaper is distributed.
  • Nov. 24, 1924: Harry Houdini performs in the Auditorium. (The trapdoor on the stage is still “nicknamed” in his honor.)
  • 1926: Field Hockey team wins state championship.
  • Spring 1933: B.C. Dunford, Jr. ’33 composes the school song “Her Portals Tall and Wide”.


  • December 8, 1941, Monday: The student body gathers in the gym to hear President Roosevelt’s Declaration of War speech.
  • 1945: Golf team wins state championship.
  • January 1948: Key Club is founded. On May 21, they host the school’s annual “Variety Show” – a predecessor to the Key Club Follies.
  • 1948-49: Senior Service Club’s (SSC) first year.
  • 1949: Basketball team wins state championship
  • Spring 1949: Tommye Ring ’49 composes the new Alma Mater “Amid the Pines”. The old song “Her Portals Tall and Wide” becomes school hymn.


  • 1951: Golf team wins state championship
  • Dec. 3, 1952: Football team wins state championship
  • 1953: Track team wins state championship
  • 1955: Track team wins state championship
  • Nov. 28, 1957: The Dancing Boots give their first performance at the Piedmont Bowl in Bowman Gray Stadium.
  • 1958: Football team wins state championship
  • Dec. 6, 1959: The Band and Boots perform at the Washington Redskins game.


  • 1962: Track team wins state championship
  • 1963: Winston-Salem and Forsyth County consolidate schools into one system.
  • 1964: Football team wins state championship
  • Spring 1968: The nickname “Society Hill” surfaces from rival schools. The golf team wins state championship.
  • Fall 1968: New girls’ gym and history building are opened. History building is attached to cafeteria built in the late ’50’s. Girls’ gym is to the right of the old gym.


  • Fall 1971: Due to a court ruling on required busing, the school system creates a two-year junior high-school, high school and senior high-school system. Reynolds becomes an 11th and 12th grade senior high school with graduating classes often numbering more than 800.
  • Spring 1973: The Black and Gold staff produces a commemorative 50th Anniversary history of Reynolds.
  • 1974-1978: Cross Country team’s reign of the state championships.
  • 1975: Basketball team wins state championship.
  • 1976: Tennis team wins state championship.


  • 1982-83: Reynolds observes its 60th Anniversary with assemblies, guest alumni teachers, and a special Homecoming Parade.
  • Spring 1984: Swimming team wins state championship.
  • Fall 1984: RJR opens for the first time as a four-year high school due to school system’s restructuring. (Mount Tabor returns to being a rival school.)
  • June 1985: The boy’s gym is named for retiring athletic director Herman Bryson.
  • 1985: Girls tennis team wins state championship.


  • 1991: Girls Tennis team wins state championship.
  • Summer 1991: Major renovations begin on the third floor.
  • Spring 1992: The R.J. Reynolds High School Alumni & Friends, Inc. is organized.
  • Oct. 31, 1993: The main school building, after a $6.5 million renovation, is rededicated in a service that also commemorates the 70th Anniversary of the school.
  • Sept. 9, 1994: The Reynolds-Parkland stadium on Clemmonsville Road is dedicated as the Deaton-Thompson Stadium in honor of former RJR principal Bob Deaton and former Parkland football coach, Homer Thompson.
  • Spring 1997: The 75th class graduates from R.J. Reynolds High School.


  • May 2000-September 2002: Reynolds Auditorium is closed for renovations. Graduation Exercises are held at the Coliseum.
  • 2000-2002: The men’s basketball teams reign as state championships. The three consecutive trophies is an N.C. record.
  • 2000: The Women’s track teams wins the state championship.
  • Sept. 14, 2001: All college and professional football games for the weekend have been postponed due to the national crisis. However, high school football is allowed to play. Reynolds plays at East Forsyth.
  • Spring 2002: RJR’s 80th class graduates in the Coliseum.
  • May 2003: Class of ’03 donates the portrait of Principal Stan Elrod.
  • December 2004: The granite obelisk monument to Katherine Smith (Reynolds) Johnston is relocated to the school campus.
  •      Stan Elrod leaves Reynolds to become principal at Reagan, a newly created high school in Pfafftown. Tony Mills is named interim principal.
  • Winter 2005: Indoor Track Team wins the State Championship
  • 2005: Dr. Art Paschal becomes Reynolds High School’s 6th principal.
  • 2006: Field Hockey team wins the state championship
  • October 2007: Reynolds becomes a Magnet School for Visual and Performing Arts.
  • May 2008: Reynolds inducts 12 into its inaugural Sports Hall of Fame class.
  • October 2009: Reynolds inducts 6 into its 2nd Hall of Fame Class


  • May 2010: Men’s Tennis Team wins the State Championship

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