Broughton High School's alumni are normally strong supporters of both the school and the school system.
But they played a part Tuesday in getting the Raleigh Planning Commission to reject Wake's request to pave over Broughton's front lawn to turn it into a parking lot. As noted in today's article, the rhetoric over the 79-year-old school was emotional at the meeting.
"Please think of the front lawn of historic Broughton High School as this grand old stone lady's dress," said William Berryhill Jr., a 1959 graduate of Broughton. "In the minds and hearts of its proud alumni, to dare stain her dress with a parking lot would be akin to spray painting graffiti on Leonardo DaVinci's Mona Lisa."
Berryhill, the retired U.S. marshal for the Eastern District of North Carolina, said that Broughton's graduates "make up the very core and being of Raleigh's economic and social structure."
“But I submit that the most important stakeholders in this matter are the thousands of Broughton graduates over the last 80 years,” said Charlotte Straney, a Broughton alumna. "Until now we have not had a say in the matter."
Straney pointed out how the alumni have raised money to support a number of programs at the school.
Straney called the front lawn the "sacred expanse of land protecting that historic stone building."
Before voting against the parking lot, Planning Commission members Bonner Gaylord and Stephen Smith both fondly recalled their days playing intramural sports on Broughton’s lawn when they attended the school.
The question is now whether the school district is willing to take on the alumni by appealing the rejection to the Raleigh City Council.