Milestone birthday for a local school

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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -- Houston Academy turns 50 years old this school year.

The school's parking lot filled with past and present students as class started back Thursday.

"When Houston Academy opened in 1970, I started as a 7th grader," says, Julie Shaw, a member of the Houston Academy Class of 1976.

Now, the 7th graders, as well as students from other grades, are getting to spend time with these alums.

"We look up to a bunch of the alumni that graduated years before us and it's just really cool to see even older alumni come back to be able to interact with them and celebrate during this time of the 50th anniversary," said Houston Academy SGA President Anna Grace Holland.

Houston Academy is a special place for Julie Shaw. She's the first of two generations to go through the school.

"One of our famous teachers Ned Jenne taught me chemistry, as well as my children, and quite an experience to do that the second time," said Shaw.

Some of the teachers stayed the same throughout the years, but the schoolyard has not.

"Quite a bit of change in the facade and the inside. And the grounds are much more beautiful now that there has been a lot of endowment and opportunity for growth," said Shaw.

For the senior class, it's their final first day of school.

"This will be our last so we're just excited to just be able to celebrate and all together and just have a fun senior year," said Holland

As for Holland, she's not sure where is next, but she does know what is next.

"Definitely college is in the future and just - I want to pursue a degree in physical therapy."

Houston Academy's Homecoming will be on September 20th.