CRESTVIEW — John Jackson Jr. anticipates May, when he can reunite with classmates from Carver-Hill school.

CRESTVIEW — John Jackson Jr. anticipates May, when he can reunite with classmates from Carver-Hill School.

The 1963 alumnus, a Tampa resident, heads to northwest Florida when he can to participate in the Carver- Hill Historical and Memorial Society’s May Day Parade and festival.

It’s a rare opportunity to share experiences and exchange stories about the historic school.

See a photo gallery from this year's May Day Parade and Festival>>

See May Day poem tribute by Frankie Skanes>>

“A lot of people I went to school with I wouldn’t see no more if we didn’t have this event,” Jackson said. “I’ve seen a lot of my classmates I haven’t seen in years. I think it’s just a good thing for the community to have.”

Saturday’s parade snaked from the former Carver-Hill School building on School Avenue to the Carver-Hill Museum on McClelland Street. The school closed after the Okaloosa County school district became desegregated in 1969. The society, which aims to preserve Carver-Hill School’s history, operates and maintains the museum.

Daniel Hart, of Crestview, studied at the school before it closed and has attended the parade for the past 10 years.

“I don’t think that much has changed, except that people that went to Carver- Hill (School) are getting older,” he said.

While alumni age, new generations have learned about the school and the society’s mission, in part from members’ selection of a teen parade queen.

This year, the honor went to Raven Bryant, 17, who said she has learned a lot about the segregated school.

“(This) gives me a chance to explore Crestview more and know the heritage behind it,” she said.

The parade featured several members from the school’s graduating classes. City leaders, police officials, local churches, businesses and other organizations also participated. Mayor David Cadle delivered a proclamation for the May Day festivities.

New resident Paula Childress, who attended with her children and grandchildren, said she enjoyed the parade. The day also included a sack race, horseshoe toss and pole wrapping ceremony.