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Brenau Academy alum to dedicate marker, garden at old school
All-girls boarding school closed in 2011
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Reunion ceremony

What: Dedication of a marker and garden

Where: Former Brenau Academy at Boulevard and Academy Street, Gainesville

When: 2 p.m. Saturday

More than 50 years removed from high school, Marlo Sedki still remembers C.B. Branham well.

“We thought she was pretty strict at the time, but she was wonderful,” Sedki said of the legendary dean of Brenau Academy, which operated as an all-girls boarding school from 1928 to 2011.

On Saturday, during Brenau University’s alumnae reunion weekend and “May Day” celebration, Sedki and other academy graduates plan to gather for the dedication of a marker and garden at the school off Boulevard and Academy Street.

“The alums could not let their precious academy die without some permanent marker on the campus honoring the school and (Branham),” states a press release from several former students also serving as event organizers.

Branham served as dean from 1932-66. She died in 1971 at age 74, said Helen Meier, another former student.

“So, C.B.’s girls got busy and, with the help of the university, have created (the marker and garden), where they could always come back and reminisce,” the release states.

The school’s former students make up “an interesting group from all over the country.”

“The group includes the daughter of a famous writer, a former U.S. congressman’s daughter, a New York editor, an adventurer who made an attempt to sail around the globe, educators, artists and homemakers.”

Also, one of the former students was Cuban and “was more or less trapped in (president Fidel) Castro’s Cuba, and could not get back to finish at the academy,” the students said.

“We were thinking about why we were sent to Brenau, and many of us were sent for many different reasons,” said Susan Bazemore, another of the alumnae arriving for the reunion/dedication event, in a phone interview Thursday.

Federal court-mandated integration of schools was one factor, she said.

“Daddies want to get (their daughters) out of a busing situation,” Bazemore said. “But sometimes there were family or academic problems (involving students). But all in all, people got sent there for improvement.”

Identical twins Camille Walter Ashcraft and Carolyn Walter Darke were primarily responsible for the design of the garden and monument.

The reunion begins tonight with dinner at the Mellow Mushroom on Green Street, which is close to the Brenau campus.

“Friendships will be renewed while ’50s music blares in the background,” the alumnae said in their announcement.

The dedication will take place about 2 p.m. Saturday, followed by a dinner at the Northeast Georgia History Center on Academy Street.

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