Hughen School reunion brings former classmates together

Published 6:56 pm Saturday, July 11, 2015

Former students of The Hughen School for Crippled Children gathered in Port Arthur Saturday for a chance to reminisce about bygone days when they were younger and the campus was much different from what it is today.
This weekend marked a reunion — the first since 1985 — that brought about 25 of the former classmates together from places as far flung as Vermont and Maryland to cities all over Texas.
The special needs students attended the school, which was originally organized in 1936, before the program was discontinued.
“We’ve been planning the event for six months,” Adriana Sanchez, event organizer, said. “Everybody is so happy to be back. They did not, like other students, have   prom, or pep rallies, or activities like that, so this means so much to them.
Ricky Broussard, now 47 and living in Texas City, took a break from his job with Imagine Enterprises to come back to Port Arthur.
“I came to Hughen School in 1979 and graduated in 1986 — this is the first time since I graduated to be back,” Broussard said. “It’s changed a lot, but it is good to see all my classmates.”
The reunion started at lunch Saturday with a day of games. The former students were given T-shirts, and were treated to a reception Saturday evening, had an old-fashioned sleep over Saturday night featuring a midnight movie.
For B.J. Kizer, the event was an opportunity to not only see her former classmates, but to get dressed up for the special occasion.
“This means a whole lot; I have not seen them for 25 years,” she said.
The students weren’t the only ones attending the reunion.
Melba Hunt and her son Johnny Hunt, 45, of Groves came to visit with the students they remembered from boy scouts and girl scouts.
Johnny Hunt said his father, the late Arney Hunt, was many of the student’s scoutmaster.
While in scouts, Johnny Hunt said the kids at Hughen School in Troop 293 joined his boy scout troop summers during camp. There, the Hughen School students were pulled around in rickshaws his father had made for the special needs scouts.
“I’ve just been real excited to see everyone I knew in scouts for years,” Johnny Hunt said.
Roy Culver, 87, of Groves, is a retired physical therapist who treated  many of the students while they lived at the Hughen School in the 1950s and 1960s.
“It’s just been wonderful seeing them. They were little children the last time I saw them,” Culver said.
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