150628HolmesJune 28, 2015

“Today in Edenton members of John A. Holmes High School’s Class of ’73 will walk across a stage in caps and gowns, receive diplomas and turn tassels on their mortar boards  – 20 years late.

“Their graduation ceremony was cancelled abruptly in 1973. A decision not to renew the contract of a black band leader had caused racial unrest, and school officials feared a disruption…. Diplomas were mailed to the 142 graduates….

“One member who doesn’t plan to attend is Elizabeth Twiddy Kelly…. A condition of her ($400,000) bond prohibits her from going to her hometown.

“ ‘There are a lot of them I would love to just touch base with, but that will have to happen another year,’ Mrs. Kelly said.

“The class committee plans to send her a class T-shirt and a letter.”

– From “Class of ’73” by the Associated Press (June 12, 1993) 

Seven months later Betsy Kelly pleaded no contest to charges of child sex abuse, while maintaining her innocence, and accepted a sentence of seven years in prison. She was paroled in November 1994.