First Posted: 9/8/2014
“What have you been doing for the last 50 years?” and “Where are you living now?” are two questions Lackawanna Trail alumni asked their fellow classmates during a tour of the Lackawanna Trail High School on Sept. 5.
Approximately 30 graduates from the Class of 1964 toured the school as part of the 50th anniversary reunion celebration weekend.
Joel Richards, of Kansas City, formerly of West Nicholson, was the reunion organizer with help from a committee that included Jeff Cornell, Angie Nobel Pulllo, John Ketchur, Peter Laurie, Joe Ciocci and Marilyn Kehrli Gillern.
“I haven’t seen anybody in 50 years,” Richards said. “I moved away and nobody knew where I was. I didn’t know where anybody was and I had to find them all.”
According to Richards, there were 99 students in the class; 16 have died and 50 attended the reunion. Ten could not attend because of medical reasons and 90 percent of those present came from 100 to 3,000 miles away to be a part of the reunion.
He began the process of locating classmates the week between Christmas and New Year’s last year.
“I thought the key was to get everybody that was away first, and then if I got them to come, I thought the local people would come,” he said.
After locating them, Richards called everyone.
“The first thing was I found everybody and called them. I had a personal conversation with everybody except four people I cannot find.”
Rick Sweet has been away for 50 years, currently living in California.
“It’s neat, especially seeing everybody after 50 years,” he said of the reunion. “Some of the people I’ve met over the years when I came to visit.” He also noted one of his memories is being in the principal’s office quite a bit.
There have been changes within the school building, including technological developments such as the use of computers and laptops in the classroom. Sophomore Gabby Samsock, who led one of the tours, explained how the virtual chalkboard located in one of the classrooms is used. “You can write on it and show pictures on it from your computer,” she told the alumni.
“I think progress is progress,” James Gillern, of Mechanicsburg, said of the advancements. “It has to happen and times have changed.”
He also noted, “I’m surprised the number of students in the senior class is smaller than our class.”
Looking back on the last 50 years later, Cornell, said, “Fifty years is a long time. Some of these people we haven’t seen in 50 years, so it has been pleasant and an interesting experience getting re-acquainted with people. Most people have said they can’t imagine where 50 years has gone. We’re concerned with the classmates we’ve lost. That’s sad. We’re concerned with health issues of people who wanted to make it but can’t. We’re pleased that the high school administration, Mr. Murphy, has agreed to let us see the school and how it has changed.”