I recently turned 58, and 40 years ago this month, I walked across the auditorium floor at Youngstown East High School to receive my high school diploma.
The principal was Burton Honey, and the commencement speaker was Judge Martin P. Joyce of Mahoning County Juvenile Court.
I don’t remember much of what the judge had to say that day back in June 1970, but I do remember this portion of his address. He told us to look to the person to our right and left. And then he said these words: “After you leave this auditorium today, you may never see these people again, so cherish the remaining time you have together.”
Now I was fortunate, as the person on my right was Dennis Broome and the person on my left was James Brown (no relation). Fortunately, I have seen Dennis and James a few times over the last 40 years.
But there are others I haven’t seen since graduation. Whatever happened to classmates Susie Crook, Mitchell Conn, Maria Nieves, Gary McCullough, Laura Vanasky and Sharon Denehy?
Hopefully, I can get some answers this year as the EHS Class of 1970 will have its 40-year reunion in September.
I am on the reunion committee, and we selected the weekend leading up to Labor Day for our two-day get-together.
On Sept. 3, a Friday, there will be a meet-and-greet mixer at the new East High School, which now faces Bennington Avenue. When I attended East from 1966 to 1970, the mascot name was the Golden Bears, and our school colors were blue and gold. The new East, which opened in 2007, is an architectural beauty. The mascot name is now the Panthers, and the colors are light blue, silver and black.
Many alumni have not seen the new East, so this will be an opportunity to share stories about the “good old days” in a new facility. Our class song was “Age of Aquarius” by the Fifth Dimension, and our class motto: “As the premier class of a new decade, we are the hope of a new era.”
The semiformal dinner-dance will be Sept. 4 at the Holiday Inn in Boardman. A disc jockey will play music from the late 1960s and early 1970s at the affair.
The committee will dedicate the reunion to our classmate Paulette Hopson Smith, who died suddenly in April. It was Paulette who nagged me — she e-mailed me every other day — to get a committee together and get the reunion off the ground. She was our committee chairwoman, and we miss her dearly.
That is why reunions are important. Tomorrow is promised to no one, so when you have a chance to come together to see old friends and relive days gone by, why not make the time to take advantage of that opportunity?
Other committee members are Jim Bucci, James Boyd, Toma Mason- Barcley, and the Bennetts — Beverly and her brother Frank.
We are asking all Class of ’70 members to join us Sept. 3-4. The cost is $50 per person, which covers both events. There is a special rate at the Holiday Inn for those coming from out of town to attend the reunion.
If you know addresses of out-of town class members, contact us. The deadline for reservations is this month, so don’t procrastinate, you Golden Bears.
Ernie Brown Jr., a regional editor at The Vindicator, writes a monthly column. Contact him at email@example.com