NASHVILLE, Tenn. – During its first football game of the season, Father Ryan High School will celebrate 60 years of being an integrated, academic institution.
The private, Roman Catholic high school was the first in the South to break through racial barriers when they integrated classrooms and athletic teams back in 1954.
Friday night, the school will pay tribute to former students and staff, who were apart of those trailblazing efforts some 60-years-ago.
More than 65 former classmates and family members were expected to attend.
Richard Ordway was one of them. He was a member of the class of 1956.
He said he appreciates the significance of his place in history now, but at the time it seemed like no big deal.
"Sixty years ago, it was really insignificant," Ordway said. "Because there was nothing really even to talk about. We just went to school and that’s it."
Charles Kinnard, Jr. was a member of the first integrated graduating class of 1955.
"The guys treated us very well," he said. "It was just like going to school every day."
Father Ryan High School opened its doors in 1925.