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Former students come together one last time before Little Rock school's demolition

This time next year, McClellan High School will be a thing of the past. For many students, it is a place where they learned a lot of life lessons.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A group of alumni from all several graduating classes gathered on Thanksgiving Day to remember what they are most thankful for: a school that helped them grow as people.

This annual holiday tradition is special because this is the last time the group will gather at the current McClellan Magnet High School building. 

If the walls inside the school could talk, Darnisha Owens said they would have a lot to say.

For her, the lessons she learned at this school go far beyond what any textbook could teach her.

"This was a pivotal part of our community. And just the hallways, the courtyard, the laughs of football games. And it's just a part of us that we hate to see come down," Owens said.

Anthony Ackee graduated from the high school in 1998 and his brother, Andre Ackee graduated in 1996. 

The siblings were student athletes, so they both said their fondest memories were made on the school's gridiron on Friday nights.

"Seeing the field that we played on together, you know, the first time that we were able to play together. In football it was here," Ackee said.

It's moments like those that keep the brothers coming back on Thanksgiving to gather with their old friends and remember what this brick building really means to them. 

"This was the hub of where everyone can go and know they can feel safe," Ackee said.

Every year, Marian Trice said alumni come back on this holiday to get together and express a lot of gratitude for a place that molded many of them into the adults they are today.

"To be able to come and give thanks to your classmate people that you went to school is very exciting," Trice said.

This reunion usually ends in a flag football game against former classmates locally known as the "Turkey Bowl." 

They weren't able to play this year because of the weather.

The game would've been special this year because, in 2022, the current school building will be torn down to make room for the new Cloverdale K-8 school.

While the walls will soon be nonexistent, Trice said the memories the group made will never fade.

"I think what else having a junior high right here in the middle of God springs, I think that the output and the outlook will be beautiful," Trice said.