Our History
Background Information
Formal Invitation

City of Gastonia Mayor John Bridgeman Celebrates 25 Years of Junior Assembly of Gastonia!

History of the Junior Assembly
After researching existing Junior Assembly programs in Richmond, VA and Greenville, NC, Mrs. Thomas E. Wilson, mother of Beverly Sumner, began the Junior Assembly of Rock Hill in 1967. While living in Richmond, Mrs. Wilson had belonged to a dance club which offered ballroom dance instruction with emphasis on social graces. Mrs. Wilson later helped organize similar Junior Assemblies in Shelby and Spartanburg. Upon Mrs. Wilson’s retirement in 1989, she encourage her daughter, Beverly, and Ellen Maxwell to “carry on their family tradition.” The Junior Assembly of Gastonia continues in its twenty-fifth season this tradition of wholesome dance instruction, social etiquette and supervised entertainment for fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth graders.
Ellen Weddington Maxwell and Beverly Wilson Sumner
Co-founders of The Junior Assembly of Gastonia, N. C., teaching etiquette and dance to fifth , sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students.

Both have been active in the social, business, educational, and religious community for over 30 years and have taught etiquette to private city clubs and country clubs in North Carolina.

Ellen is a member of the Junior League of Gaston County, past president of the Woman of the Church-First Presbyterian, past PTO president, past president of Gaston Breakfast Rotary Club and member of the Gastonia Debutante Club. She has served on the City Planning Commission of Gastonia, N. C., and is a Marketing Consultant with Spectrum Consultants, Inc.

Beverly is a past president of the Gastonia Debutante Club, past president of the First Presbyterian Women, member of the Junior League of Gaston County, a deacon, a Sunday school teacher, the sponsor for the Interact Club at Ashbrook and a member of the Alpha Delta Kappa Teacher Sorority. She is a graduate of the College of Charleston and teaches English at Ashbrook High School.
Dennis R. Ritchie, Instructor
Dennis started dancing when he was 17 years old. He began teaching for Grose School of Dance in Charlotte shortly thereafter. He has been teaching cotillions for 40 years and has taught Junior Assembly in Gastonia for 25 years. Dennis’ professional career started at Carowinds and quickly led him to Las Vegas, Atlantic City and dancing with Dick Van Dyke on television specials. He has choreographed and performed in shows throughout the Southeast for 35 years.