Former students meet with fourth-grade teacher
Posted on 08/16/2019
Class picture of the 1988 4th grade class at King ES. Picture of Ms. Cromer and seven students taken at the reunion.As principal of King Elementary, Amy Larsen receives lots of emails with requests, but a message from Joyce Cromer was quite unique. Cromer taught fourth-grade at King Elementary from 1987-1991. Her 1987-88 class had 24 students.

“This class from 31 years ago is very close. We clicked from the first moment and have stayed close,” Cromer explained. Cromer’s email to Larsen was a request to host a class reunion for her 1987-88 fourth-grade class on a Saturday at the school.

Larsen graciously welcomed Cromer and seven of her former students to King Elementary, which just recently received a renovation. “They toured the school and most remembered the library and cafeteria. They said the school looks beautiful,” Larsen shared.

The alumni, who are now in their early 40s, explained that they had a strong bond with Cromer because “she just let us be ourselves. She let us be who we were.” Cromer referred to them as family as well as invested in each of them and their individual interests.

During the visit, students recalled Cromer reading aloud the books “Where the Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls and “Indian in the Cupboard” by Lynne Reid Banks. They also remembered writing a classroom rap song; “We are the King Cobras and we'd like to say, we love our school in a special way. King Cobras gold and blue; we think our school is really cool!” The cobra is the former mascot of King Elementary. They are now the King Elementary Lions.

Cromer is now in her 41st year of teaching. After leaving King Elementary, Cromer taught at South Polk Elementary in Ft. Polk, Louisiana followed by a school in Abbeville, Louisiana. She has been teaching in Mobile, Alabama since 1996.

Seven former students attended the reunion. Two still live in the King Elementary School boundaries, one of which had children who also attended the school. A student, who traveled from Texas, who has six-children of his own said, “he wouldn't miss coming for the world, and if Mrs. Cromer was coming all the way from Alabama, then we would also make the effort.” Another student traveled from North Carolina.

Cromer gave each student a copy of a book entitled “Fourth Grade Remembrances,” which had a class picture and an essay written by each student during the 1987-88 School Year.

For Cromer, the reunion was a dream come true. The group plans to continue to keep in touch.