By Dedra Cordle
There is a bond between those who walked the halls at Franklin Heights High School.
“We’re a very tight-knit group of people,” said Lacey (Douthitt) Hatten, a graduate of 2001.
If anyone reaches out for help, she continued, there is always someone willing to lend a hand.
“It doesn’t matter if they graduated 30 years ago or just the previous day,” she said. “They will be there when you need them to be.”
It is a thread of support that even extends beyond life on Earth.
Nearly six years ago, Hatten was looking for a way to contribute to her school through social media. Like so many of her peers, she had used the platforms to reconnect with friends, but she felt the need to do something more.
While searching through the active groups on Facebook, Hatten came across a start-up memorial page to honor the Golden Falcons who have died. She immediately became one of their most ardent information contributors, but grew frustrated by some of the decisions that were being made.
Wanting a memorial page that was more active, she founded a second memorial page that over the years has taken off in ways expected and unexpected.
“It has become this giant, school-wide project,” she stated.
Currently, there are only a handful of administrators overseeing nearly 1,500 active members and 700 memorial listings or pages.
Sherri Williamson, a self-proclaimed researcher and 1981 graduate, said they will not stop until every deceased Golden Falcon is accounted for and has a spot on the memorial page.
“This is a labor of love,” she said.
Williamson’s involvement in the memorial page started when she was retired and deep into her quest to uncover her family’s root.
“I had a membership to just about every historical or genealogical site,” she said.
By happenstance, she came across a public request by Hatten for information on deceased alumni and decided to offer up her budding researching skills.
“I’ve been doing that ever since,” she said.
She called the investigative work both fulfilling and heartbreaking, especially when well-intentioned tips turn into unsolved mysteries.
“For one person, you can spend hours and hours and days and days and send prayers to God to help you find something,” she said.
Sometimes, the hard work pays off and she and the other researchers are able to locate a lost Falcon and create a page; sometimes it does not.
“You just have to keep looking at the different avenues,” she said, noting that there are at least 16 suspected alumni, attendees, coaches, administrators and staff on the research list.
But regardless of the extensive work that can go into locating the year or years a person attended Franklin Heights, or even locating where their final resting place is (if there is one), Williamson said all of the contributors and administrators consider this memorial page to be vitally important.
“It’s just a way for us to reminisce and send a prayer to those we knew and even for those we didn’t,” she said.
“We’re all Falcons, after all,” she added.
To view the memorial or to offer information on deceased alumni, attendees, coaches, administrators and staff, search for FHMEMORIAL on the Groups section on Facebook. Eventually, Hatten said she hopes to eventually transfer the information on the memorial page to a website complete with photos.