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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Our last hurray, 2011

Posted Friday, September 16, 2011, at 2:06 PM

My recent high school reunion confirms that I am getting older.

Well, okay, old.

On Saturday, less than half my class gathered for our last reunion.

There were 62 of us who graduated. To date, 36 are deceased.

Now that's sobering.

But it didn't stop the remaining few from enjoying our last hurray.

One graduate traveled one thousand miles from New Mexico to get to our meeting place.

Another came from Spokane, Wash.

For me, it was only an hour drive.

Some of us toured the brand new state of the art high school Saturday afternoon.

It was amazing. In fact, I've never been in such a beautiful high school.

The old one, my alma mater, was heavily damaged in a 2006 tornado and had to be razed. And for the last four years, students have been educated in trailers and make shift school rooms all over town, waiting for funding and a new school to be erected..

This year will be the first full year for high school students in the new facility.

The new campus was buillt on the same site as the original three story brick building where I attended.

The new $12 million dollar facility is a wonder. According to the new principal, John-Mark Jones, $11 million of the funding came from FEMA.

The color red is used throughout the building in keeping with the school colors of red and white. This school year there are 340 students enrolled.

The architects salvaged as much as they could from the original building and incorporated it into the new building, Jones said.

That includes the old entrance doors that I once entered so many years ago during my high school years

It was nice to reminisce with my classroom friends last Saturday.

Actually, some of them I wouldn't have recognized without the name tags.

They represented so many occupations: teachers, an interior designer, a former mayor, retired energy employee, a geneologist, a tour guide,

At our dinner meeting Saturday night, there was a lot of talk about former classmates; those deceased members. And we talked about 911, too, and honored the fallen in a remembrance prayer.

And there was a lot of talk about children and grandchildren. And, yes, great grandchildren, too.

Some classmates could not attend due to illness or long distances..

Some who did manage to make the trip have had knee or hip replacements or back surgeries or cancer.

But they are survivors. And continue to contribute to society.

There's something about the bond that is made when classmates go from the first grade all the way to high school graduation.

It's a bond that time and distance does not erase.

There are funny happenings to recall, teachers to remember.

Those teachers who impressed, made a difference in our lives.

And that's what we remembered and relived last weekend in our hometown.

Almost all of our high school teachers and administrators are deceased, but tangible reminders remain at the new school.

The football field bears the name of the football coach who taught there when I was a student. No player will ever forget Coach Hopke.

And the school song is the same one that was written by one of my classmates, Wendell Crow, father of Sheryl Crow.

Another thing caught my eye, too. There's a dress code for extracurricular activities and that applies to all spectators who attend the activities.

Included are no sagging and excessively baggy pants. Pants must be worn at the waist.

Doo-rags and stocking caps are not allowed. Midriff, cleavage, backs must not be exposed.

No see-through clothing allowed. Pants with holes above the knees are prohibited.

Shirts, shorts and skirts will not be excessively long or too short. Clothing with profanity or abusive language not allowed.

And no smoking on school property. There is zero tolerance for all spectators and fans.

Many of those rules would not have applied to my classmates. Our parents would not have allowed us to venture to school in "garbs."

As I recall, no girls wore blue jeans. We wore blouses or sweaters, and skirts, plus penny loafers or saddle oxfords.

Yes, codes have changed.

Times have changed.

And so had my classmates.

Go, Tigers.



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From these hills
By Peggy Johnson
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