ELHS 50th Birthday Party

From July 1-4, 2011, East Longmeadow High School held a birthday party to celebrate its first fifty years. Over 800 alumni, faculty, and guests attended a variety of events. 

Note: Photos below courtesy of classmate Donna Anderson unless otherwise noted. Many thanks, Donna, for your outstanding work in documenting this celebration! 
 
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How It All Happened 

In 2006, Rosemarie Molinari Myers, ELHS 1965, envisioned an event celebrating 50 years of academic excellence at ELHS. On the inside cover of the program given to attendees she noted, 

"I have many fond memories of my four years at East Longmeadow High School. Several of the friendships I developed with my classmates are still active today and I thought this 50th birthday party would provide a unique opportunity to celebrate those memories and give everyone who has been a part of this amazing institution a chance to do the same. 

"All of my children attended East Longmeadow High School and I will never forget the incredible support that we all received from so many dedicated and caring staff and faculty members. Because my experiences here have had such a positive impact on my life, I am thrilled to have this opportunity to give something in return." 

Assisted by an enthusiastic committee, Rosemarie transformed her vision into a celebration filled with love, laughter, poignancy, and sentimentality.

At its conclusion, Rosemarie stated, "Thank you everyone. This was the biggest celebration East Longmeadow High School has ever had . . . and then it was time to say goodbye to so many friends, new and old, and there were tears of joy and happiness as we ended the four day celebration, but we took with us so many memories that will last a lifetime." 

Principal Mr. Ralph Shindler, who turned 90 in March, 2011, was unable to attend, but sent the following letter:

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Friday, July 1 

From 4:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. an open house was held at East Longmeadow High School. Past and present administrators, teachers, and students, as well as many guests came from all over the world to celebrate. Everyone enjoyed reuniting and reminiscing in the cafeteria. While touring the halls we relived memories of which teacher was in which classroom and colorful incidents from our high school days. 

At 6:00 p.m. we had a ribbon cutting ceremony, with Gordon Smith, Superintendent, East Longmeadow Public Schools, and Richard Freccero, member, East Longmeadow Public Schools Committee, doing us the honor of cutting the ribbon to present our gift, the Spartan Walkway, to the high school. 

Click here for some video highlights. The video begins with a moving tribute to classmates and school personnel who served us who have passed away. Name tags with photos of nearly 300 classmates, faculty, administrative and staff personnel were displayed on panels near the gymnasium entrance. The tags were color coded by class year --- red for the 1960s, green for the 70s, blue for the 80s, yellow for the 90s, and gray for the 2000s. Faculty, administrative, and staff personnel name tags were on the far right panel. On a nearby table was a poem of tribute, written by Ron Dubour (ELHS 1967), which read:

A picture image is what we have
Of yesterdays gone by.
How we spent our youth
At East Longmeadow High.
 
We all went our separate ways
And chose to walk our path.
With memories we share in time
Are still within our grasp.
 
Each one has a story
Of unknowns that were in store.
How we went about our lives
As waves upon the shore.
 
Let us take a moment to reflect
Our classmates gone ahead.
Their souls have gone before us
Now sleep on heaven's bed.
 
In heaven they all wait
To welcome us all in.
As we pass this world we know
And begin a life again.

 

At the entrance to the Spartan Walkway, Gordon Smith (Superintendent, East Longmeadow Public Schools and former ELHS assistant principal from 2002-2004), Rosemarie Molinari Myers (ELHS 1965 and 50th Birthday Party Coordinator), and Richard Freccero (member, East Longmeadow Public Schools Committee and former ELHS principal from 1987-2010) display the plaque depicting the theme of the 50th birthday party.

Gordon Smith (left), Rosemarie Molinari Myers and Richard Freccero just prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Spartan Walkway. 

Marker made of East Longmeadow brownstone at the entrance to the walkway. 

The Spartan Walkway, directly across from the main entrance to the high school, with the first round of commemorative engraved bricks installed. The second round was installed in October 2011 and the third round in June 2012. To order an engraved brick, click on the ELHS website (under Quick Links click on "Engrave a Brick on the Spartan Walkway"). Photo courtesy of Rose Molinari Myers.

The walkway from the side.

A view from the back side.

Another view from the back side.

Hydrangeas in bloom.

 Close-up of the center of the walkway. Photo courtesy of Rose Molinari Myers.

Prior to the dedication of the walkway, classmate Bruce Moore reflects as he looks at the commemorative engraved bricks honoring his late parents, Bob and Jean Moore, and his brother, John (ELHS 1971), who passed away in 1978. Photo courtesy of George Skovera of The Reminder.

The walkway in May 2012 with azaleas in bloom.

Another view in May 2012.

Right side of the walkway in May 2012.

The walkway in September, 2012. Photo courtesy of Marc Maccarini.

Commemorative Bricks 

Here are some close-ups of commemorative bricks honoring our classmates, family members, and high school personnel who served us. Includes bricks installed in October 2011 and June 2012.             

 

Left: Our thanks to the one who contributed this brick. Your splendid words say it all. Photo courtesy of Linda Harnish Lull.  Right: A salute from our class. 

  

Our superintendent, Mr. Robert Jarvis and his family, and our principal, Mr. Ralph Shindler. Classmate Scott Moore penned the words on Mr. Shindler's brick, donated by our class. 

 

Our librarian Mrs. Lois Lopes and English teacher Mr. Irwin Kerson.

 

Left: Math teacher Mrs. Adeline Wilk and her family. Right: English teacher Mr. James Grocott. Photo courtesy of Don Maki. 

 

Left: Business teacher and soccer coach Mr. Ralph Cooley. Right: The Camp family. Mr. Robert Camp was one of our guidance counselors. Photo courtesy of Laura Moore.

 

Math teacher, track and football coach Mr. Francis Dutille, and football coach Mr. Bob Dobias.  

Mrs. Norma Herrick managed the cafeteria during our freshman, sophomore, and junior years. Photo courtesy of Laura Moore.

 The Moore family.

 

The Circosta and Truitt families.

 

 The Kronenberg and Mertz families. 

 

The St. Marie and Willard families.

The Lull family. Photo courtesy of Linda Harnish Lull.

 

Left: The Swanson family. Clark graduated in our class. Photo courtesy of Bruce Moore. Right: The Lemanski and Paris families and their extended families have over a 50 year span of attendance at ELHS including many past and future graduates: Rosalie Lemanski Foote '65, Evelyn Lemanski Gingras '66, Joe Lemanski '68, Ed Lemanski '70, Mike Lemanski '75, Sandy Paris Lemanski '75, Doug Paris '77, Janina Lemanski Muise '78, Bill Paris '80, Tom Lemanski '80, Linda Totman Lemanski '80, Julie Paris Dunlop '82, John Dunlop '83, Kate Lemanski Mercer '03, Matt Lemanski '06, Julie Lemanski '08, Christina Dunlop '11, Lauren Dunlop '13, and Emily Dunlop '16. 

  

Left: The Beaulieu family. Lenny was in our class from second through eleventh grades. Right: The Bourque family. 

During the open house, alumni, faculty and staff from the school's first 50 years enjoy reminiscing in the ELHS cafeteria. Mr. Ronald Lech, who taught us social studies, is seated at the table in the foreground in a striped shirt.

 

Teachers Miss Judith Sessler (English), Mrs. Marina Herschuk Luff (business) and 94-year-old Mr. Alexander Nickett (foreign languages). Photo on left courtesy of George Skovera of The Reminder.

 

Teachers Mr. John Cheney (music) and Mr. Edward Modzelewski (physical eduation, and football and baseball coach). Photo on right courtesy of George Skovera of The Reminder.

Teachers Mr. Ralph Cooley (business) and Miss Doris Knechtel (home economics).  

Andrea Hastings Driscoll, Gina Truitt McKinney, Donna Anderson, and Scott Moore in the halls of the school. Photo courtesy of Jeannie Donovan.  

  

Andrea Hastings Driscoll, Jeannie Donovan, Donna Anderson, and Scott Moore. Photo courtesy of Jeannie Donovan.

The classroom where Mr. McKinney taught us English. The windows, which went all the way to the ceiling during our time, have been reduced in size to save energy. Photo courtesy of Jeannie Donovan.
 

Saturday, July 2

Several classmates gathered for lunch at the Pizza Shoppe in E.L. Front row: Andrea Hastings Driscoll, Jeannie Donovan (with us through 9th grade), Karen Martin Johnson, Beth Davidson Tierney, Kathy Newton Sowa (with us through 10th grade), Gina Truitt McKinney, Karen Esposito, Ginger Martin Taylor. Back row: Dean Florian (with us through 8th grade), Nancy Wrinkle Raducha, Scott Moore, Jim Wilkins, Pam Stenard Ossorio, Marilyn Man Streeter, Donna Anderson, Roy Esposito. Photo courtesy of Andrea Hastings Driscoll. Click here for a short video of us taken by Roy Esposito inside the Pizza Shoppe.

Scott Moore, Donna Fiorentino, Dean Florian, and Andrea Hastings Driscoll inside the Pizza Shoppe. 

Evening Gala 

From 6:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m. a wonderful gala was held at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. Click here for some video highlights.

 

Assistant principal Mr. Manley Hart and assistant principal and science teacher Mr. John Katsoulis and his wife, Beverlee.

 

Teachers Mr. Francis Dutille (math, and football and track coach) and Mr. Bob Mazzariello (English), with Laura Moore (ELHS 1974). 

Teachers Mr. John Cheney (music), Mrs. Marina Herschuk Luff (business), Mrs. Rachel Fleming (french), and Miss Doris Knechtel (home economics).

 

Teachers Mrs. Anita Katseoris Themistos (English) and Mr. Richard Bolles (physical education and football, swimming, and track coach). 

Foreign languages teacher Mr. Dennis Dowling with ELHS 1974 classmates Cheri Winton Gaetz and Laura Moore.

 

Teachers Mr. Joseph St. Germain (business) and Mr. Ralph Cooley (business, and soccer coach). 
 

Andrea Hastings Driscoll and Marilyn Man Streeter on the dance floor. Photo courtesy of Jocko Sharon.

ELHS Class of 1970 attendees. Front row: Andrea Hastings Driscoll, Gina Truitt McKinney, Kris D'Angelo David, Marilyn Man Streeter, Susan Circosta Mancinone, Donna Fiorentino, Channing Orr. Row 2: Rich Mondoux, Jeannie Donovan, Dot Keller Thomas, Lois Melbourne Webber, Scott Moore, Maria Siano Nicolazzo, Donna Anderson, Bruce Moore, Jim Wilkins. Photo courtesy of Robert Charles Photography. 
 

Sunday, July 3

On Sunday afternoon Bruce and Scott Moore, and Donna Anderson stopped by to see Ross Overlock at his home. Left to right: Bruce, Scott, Donna and Ross.

In the evening, ELHS alumnus who had performed in Spartanum Spectaculum acts throughout the years performed in the concert band shell on the grounds of ELHS prior to the fireworks. Jim Wilkins, from our class, performed magnificently, singing "The Summer Wind" and "My Way" to the accompaniment of an instrumental sound track.

Gina Truitt McKinney (far left) danced with other ELHS alumni to a medley of favorite tunes from our era. Click here for some video highlights. The dancing begins at 1:05 on the clip.

Jim Wilkins was back on stage to close the show, accompanied by ELHS alumni.

 

A fireworks display, like only East Longmeadow can put on, concluded a wonderful evening.  
 

Monday, July 4 

For the town's fourth of July parade, the birthday committee built a five tier birthday cake float. More than 50 ELHS alumni and faculty walked behind the float. Following the parade, a picnic was held at Heritage Park in E.L.

Class website administrators Scott Moore and Gina Truitt McKinney with other ELHS alumni in the staging area on Hanward Hill prior to the start of the parade. Photo courtesy of Laura Moore.

The ELHS 50th Birthday Party float, designed and built by ELHS alumni, pulls into view at the corner of Mapleshade Avenue and North Main St. Click here for video highlights of us in the parade.   

50th Birthday Party coordinator Rosemarie Molinari Myers holds the float's first place trophy aloft, while another ELHS student, dressed as a Spartan, gestures to the crowd. 

A large group of ELHS alumni and a few faculty members walk behind the float.

Another shot of ELHS alumni and faculty behind the float. 

The five tier birthday cake, each tier symbolizing a decade, moves up Maple St (E.L. Public Library and town hall in background). Standing on the float, Rosemarie Molinari Myers leads the alumni, walking behind, in cheers for our school. Photo courtesy of The Republican newspaper.

 

Riding in the parade were librarian Mrs. Ann Lynch (front seat in white), and music teacher Mr. John Cheney (back seat in white). Photo courtesy of Roy Esposito.

In the front seat in red was Mr. Francis Dutille, who taught math and coached football and track. In the back seat is Mrs. Yarnell, the wife of Glenn Yarnell (ELHS 1965), who is driving. Photo courtesy of Roy Esposito.

In the front seat was business teacher Mrs. Marina Herschuk Luff. In the back seat were business teacher Mr. Joseph St. Germain, and science teacher Miss Kristine Shonak. Photo courtesy of Roy Esposito. 

Following the parade, at the picnic at Heritage Park, we met teachers Mr. Ronald Lech (social studies) and his wife, Mrs. Judi Gallant Lech, who taught us social studies at Birchland Park School.

Classmates John Quinn, Jr. (left) and Bruce Moore. John was with us through 11th grade. His father, the late Dr. John Quinn, M.D., served as our school physician. Photo courtesy of Scott Moore. 

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The spirit of the 50th Birthday Party celebration lives on. The Spartan Walkway, with its commemorative engraved bricks, provides a wonderful way for members of the community to experience a nostalgic look back at those who were a part of the high school's first fifty years and a unique opportunity to be part of its future. The second round of engraved bricks was installed in October 2011 and the third round in June 2012. To order an engraved brick click on the ELHS website (under Quick Links click on "Engrave a Brick on the Spartan Walkway").             

In addition to the gift of the Spartan Walkway, a substantial amount of money was donated to ELHS to purchase a computer cart consisting of 25-30 laptop computers for use by the high school. In March 2012, Mrs. Gina Flanagan, ELHS principal, sent Rosemarie Molinari Myers an update: 

"I just wanted to let you know that the Mac Lab is in full operation and the kids (and teacher) are LOVIN' it . . . Eddie Polk, our Social Studies teacher, is implementing the lab in his classroom this whole semester to simulate what a 1:1 digital classroom might look like at ELHS. He has been hard at work learning about all sorts of ways to integrate the technology so that our kids are collaborating, engaged and developing higher level thinking skills. We've talked about digital portfolios, lesson flipping, blogs, movie making and more. It truly is exciting. 

"We are so very grateful for this incredible gift to our students. I truly believe that it will be the start of a true digital revolution at ELHS. We thank you and all members of the 50th Birthday Committee for all they did to make this lab a reality."