March 30, 2001 – Years after legislation was passed naming the auditorium and cafeteria at Charlotte Amalie High School after two of the school's luminaries — Ruth E. Thomas and Earle N. Abraham, respectively, the marble plaques bearing their names were unveiled Wednesday at the school.
In a ceremony which included remarks by former students, colleagues and "cousins," Thomas was lauded for her many contributions to the school and the community. She served "High School" for 33 years — as teacher, assistant principal and, for the last 13 years, principal.
Gov. Charles W. Turnbull, who was principal of CAHS when Thomas was assistant principal, said the most important thing about both her and Abraham was that they "cared."
"More than ever before, we need caring people, especially with the young black males," the governor said.
He called Abraham, who died in 1975 a few short months after retiring, a mentor, saying, "None of us who knew him will ever forget him."
Abraham, who worked in the school cafeteria for more than 18 years, eventually becoming the kitchen manager, is credited with introducing local cuisine into the lunch menu. He was remembered Wednesday for being a gentle disciplinarian.
His award was accepted by his wife, Una Abraham.
Thomas, in accepting her award, said she was taught that "You should not accept payment for something that is your duty." Charlotte Amalie High School, she added, "has been my life."
Well-known for her straight-forward manner and dogged commitment to young people, Thomas made a strong statement about restoring the CAHS music room, damaged by a fire in March of 2000.
"The music suite will be finished in August when we come up here," she said, looking over her shoulder at the governor seated to her right. Turnbull promised in April to get the work done after music students testified at a Senate hearing that the room had never been rebuilt.
Thomas's pledge was particularly poignant after the CAHS Symphonic Band, led by Georgia Francis, had played several selections for the Special Recognition and Renaming Ceremony.
Assistant CAHS principal Barbara Callwood, a graduate of the school, said she remembered Thomas, in the auditorium now named for her, running down a list at the beginning of each year of statesmen, senators and other leaders who were High School graduates. Many of them were in attendance Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the accomplishments of the two honorees.
Legislation renaming the CAHS auditorium and cafeteria was passed by the 22nd Legislature, sponsored by Sens. Lorraine L. Berry and Judy M. Gomez, respectively.
Along with Thomas and Abraham, numerous other CAHS benefactors were acknowledged Wednesday with certificates.


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