High point class reunites after 50 years

Jun 07 2017 | 12:39 PM

WANTAGE — The class of 1967 spent the morning of their 50th Reunion, June 2, with the High Point Regional High School class of 2017.
As the first graduating class from High Point, they shared life experiences and visited individual classrooms. During the informal gym assembly, the class of '67 and students asked each other questions.
Joe Rosselli and Kathy Sienko Keba organized the morning, along with the school.
Hugs and tears flew everywhere, because some classmates had not seen each other in 50 years.
Rosselli said they were going to a luncheon at the American Legion — organized by Sienko Keba — “Where we can tell lies, and stories, and lessons learned.”
The class of '67 would like the school to start a tradition of graduating classes presenting a garden stone, for the high school courtyard, to commemorate each class. The class of '67 already presented their stone.
Sienko Keba said she was inspired to work on the 1967 Day at the last reunion when attendees were not connecting anymore. Even there, she started reintroducing old friends to each other.
She added, “I had to do it. It was a compulsion.”
She wrote a letter to classmates for whom she could not find phone numbers, “We've been through Vietnam, college, raising kids, 9-11, and terrorism. We're not just a bunch of cliques, and a bunch of popular groups — and not popular groups. We're family.”
About 20 classmates, plus spouses and friends, were in the gym; 35-40 were to attend the luncheon.
Principal Jonathan Tallamy said the class of 2017 had a unique opportunity celebrating the class of '67, with “50 years between your class and their class.”
Rosselli said in 1967, the doors opened to the school, and the melting pot of Sussex High School came through the front doors.
He explained, “A lot of us were going to college, and a lot of us were going to go into the service.”
Rosselli “spent three tours of Nam.” He said, “There are a lot of Vietnam Veterans. Don't forget your veterans. Please don't ever do that, because they let you have the freedom that you have. I salute them.”
Applause.
He continued, “You have freedoms in this school I can't believe. I'm looking at the young lady with torn jeans. We weren't allowed to wear jeans.”
Students asked, “Do you have a time capsule?”
Rosselli said, “No...we are the time capsule.” After some discussion, the class of '67 determined they did have a time capsule, but they were not sure where it is.
The 1967 class asked how many are in the class of 2017? 246; and when graduation is? June 19.
They also tried to explain how excited they were to use IBM Selectric typewriters at High Point.
Rosselli asked, “Who has a smart phone? You see, we had typewriters.”
Someone asked, “Did you go to Woodstock?”
Rosselli said, “It was pretty hard for me, I was in Vietnam.”
The students asked about high school sweethearts.
High school sweethearts Jack and Mary Card attended the day and had been married 45 years; and Linda Miller Kinney said she will be married to her High Point Sweetheart for 50 years in October.
Leon Castner has seven children and 22 grandchildren.
Rosselli gave the 2017 class president, Dan Banas, a Wild Cat pin — which is not made anymore. He also challenged Banas to bring everyone in his class back together in 50 years, if he is still able.
Rosselli said, the '67 class had lived in a time of changing music, long hair, protests — as today, conflicts all over the world. He said the students would “face some things that we faced in parallel. Be adaptable. It's going to change.” He added, the students would use “lessons learned” in the hallways, making friends, academics, and athletics “somewhere down the road.”
He commended the ladies and gentlemen who came that day, “This journey that we had to get here, we'll never do it again.”