"Did I make you stand in the hall?" asked Lillian Malone, who was principal of Stevens Elementary School from 1935 to 1953.
"Yes, you did," said Petey Greene, the host of a Washington television show who recalled that he was not one of her best-behaved students when he attended the school from 1936 to 1942. "And sometimes you gave me the benefit of your hand."
Yesterday was alumni day at Stevens School, a three-story, white-walled building which has stood on 21th Street NW, betwwn K and L, since 1868 when it was built as the city's first public elementary school for blacks.
It was a time for about 100 former students and former teachers to meet one another and reminisce, and for the current Stevens students - including president Carter's 9-year-old daughter, Amy - to perform for the alumni and show what's happening at the old school now.
"We never dreamed that the President's daughter would come here," said Lorraine Beasley, who attended Stevens during the 1930s. "Stevens was at the bottom. It was black. It was a good school. The teachers taught you and they cared about you and they maintained discipline. But I never thought anybody paid attention to what happened here. I never thought they would."
Until 1954 when legal segregation ended, the school was all black and for many years its 14 large classrooms were crowded with more than 700 students. They came from a neighborhood of row houses and alley dwellings with a bakery, a laundry and a milk plant nearby.
Now the school is surrounded by a expanse of office buildings and parking lots, trendy restaurants, expensive apartments and banks.
Its enrollment - now about 215 - is still about 70 per cent black, some from the remaining pockets of old row houses, many from elsewhere in the city to take advantage of an all-day program for the children of people working in nearby offices. The school also has children from 26 countries, including many from Asia and South America.
Yesterday they presented an assembly program for the returning graduates at Francis Junior High, about five blocks from Stevens, because Stevens does not have an auditorlum.
Amy Carter sat in the third row, with a Secret Service agent behind her, reading a book while she waited for the program to begin and then taking part in it enthusiastically.
Like the other girls, she wore a long dress - with blue jeans underneath it. As part of a glee club, she sang a song called "Fifty Nifty States," and walked around the auditorium with a sign reading, "Georgia."
Besides Greene and Mrs. Malone, the speakers included three other Stevens graduates, Col. West Hamilton, 90, a long-time member of the Washington School Board; Dr. Lee Gill, 98, a physician who has lived all his life just a block from Stevens, and Lee Thornton, a CBS news reporter.
The program also honored the late Dr. Charles Drew, a Stevens graduate who developed the technique for preserving blood plasma.
However, many Stevens graduates never made it through high school, Greene said, and for mansy years the school held an elaborate ceremony for its graduating eighth graders.
Many other alumni besiderGreene recalled that teachers sometimes used corporal punishment "if we needed it."
"Their relation to their students was both parental and educational," said Arthur Brooks, 79. "They could whip you and then they would come to your home and speak to your parents. They were very much concerned and the parents supported them."
Until the mid-1960s the school also required that girls wear skirts and blouses and that boys wear ties.
"Everyone used to put on their school clothes," siad Lottie Chase, a retired teacher, "and if a boy didn't have a tie, we had one for him."
The alumni event yesterday was the first that Stevens has ever had, and several teachers said the publicity about Army Carter attending the school gave the project a push.
"When we look at where we were and where we are," said principal Lydia Williams, "we know we can be proud."