Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bronco Pride: Jefferson Township High School Alumni

The Jefferson Township Alumni Banquet is often fondly shortened to just "The Alumni" by older graduates (like my dad, from the class of 1941).  This is his 70th class reunion, but "Squz" or "Scud" as he was known, will only attend in spirit, as he has since his final appearance at "The Alumni" in 2001.  He was pleased to join his class for their 60th and always proud of his Jefferson Township High School origins.  He served as class president his senior year, with Thomas Recher as VP, and Secretary-treasurer Ruth Baker.  Mr. Becker was their class advisor.  Jefferson Pride also abounds for the solid beginnings enjoyed by the alumni who will assemble June 24 at the Miami Valley CTC for the annual celebration.

Few know that Dad's class was the first to enter the first grade in the new school in 1929.   Mrs. Mabel Eberly was their teacher.  They proudly mentioned their status in their class poem (the first two stanzas of which are reproduced below) at graduation time in 1941:

                                  Farewell, dear friends and teachers, all,
                                  Our schooling now is done;
                                  We were the first, so you recall,
                                  To start at Jefferson.
                                  We hate to leave you, Jefferson,
                                  The school of our ideal;
                                  And as we file out one by one,
                                  Our losses we shall feel.

The class of 1961 will be featured as the celebrated 50 year class.  Their stories will be deftly summarized by a class leader as attendees reflect on the uniqueness of the individuals and the traditions of the early 60's.  Tom Kerschner was class president with Sam Powers as VP, Bob Hayward was treasurer and Carrol Foote served as secretary.  Janice Behnken was a leader and athlete whom I remember most as the Head Drum Majorette.  Jerry Schell was an all around person as athlete, leader, singer, scientist and May Day Attendant. Richard Anspach and Dave Barker were leaders in several organizations and scholarly.  Butch Erbaugh was another leader-athlete who quarterbacked the football team. Charles Gau was "Manager of all sports".

Sue Babington and Barbara Carlton both took 7 lines in the yearbook to list their activities, and Liberty native Nancy Adams was a five liner who was super active in everything. Myrna Derringer diversified into sports and science while Janet Bunting was another smart person who did FTA, band, and chorus. Many others such as Nancy Seltzer, Eileen Mooney (Bullet Bob's sister) and Sandra Shank, Judy Heindl, Shirley Marable, Barbara Boling, and the all around scholar-athlete Martha cordell were in activities such as Tri-Hi Y, FTA, GAA, Band, Chorus, class plays, volleyball and the operetta.  Ralph Golden was a band guy who played the sax.  Rex Hunn, Sam Powers and Roger Ogletree were also 3 sport athletes.   Many other athletes come to mind from football, basketball, track and baseball, such as Albert Tucker who could dunk in basketball and went on to play pro basketball in Seattle, Reggie McDaniel, Tom Kerschner, "Big" Jim Coffee who could also dunk in basketball, "Skippy" (Harold) Schenck, David Moyer, Terry Bailey, Pat Shelby, Rex Mitchell, Tom Reich who also worked on the annual staff and others.

Doug Kreitzer and Gail Long were in Hi-Y.  Gail was a very active explorer scout and farmer on the side.  Bud Spitler also was in Hi-Y as well as Chorus, baseball, basketball, class play and class leadership. Kay Stauffer, June Middleton, Judy Bergen and Joy Huber were in Tri-Hi-Y, Chorus and/or Band, FTA or FHA and JCOWA or librarian.  Do you know who did what?  Do they even remember themselves?

Sue Rawlins, Ed Shaw, Dee Slyder, Chuck Reid, Patti Reid, Rodney Stewart, Winsford Sparkman, Margaret Stamper, Janet Stricklin, Marlene Thompson, St. Clair Tims, Phillip Tolliver, Gladys Walton, Carlotta Zaborowski, Donna Wolfe, Jack Witherby, Joyce Wiles, Beverly Quigg, deanna Powell, Michael Petrey, Mary Parker, Nonie Moore, Shirley McKisic, Lee Mccauley, Joe Mann, Michael Mandich, Jacqueline Magwood, Earl Lightcap, Oliver Hudson, Karen Hepner, Lonnie Johnson, Doug Justice, Edward Adams, James Aubrey, Denvie Banks, Roger Barriteau, Barbara Brackett, Roger Brooks, Gwen Carter, Connie Cavin, Shirley Clark, Richard Clayton, Irene Clemons, Portia Dorsey, Tom Eby, Rachel Foust, Sandra Foust, Roy Frock, Eileen Gebby, Pat Grant, Melanie Hall, Hazel Hamilton, William Hauser are members of the class to look for at the banquet to relive old memories and guess what they did in high school if you really want to know.  Wow- big class!

Later in the class of 1961 alphabet come Nancy Weidel, Karl Wardlaw and Susi Wintermute, three solid citizens of Liberty. Nancy was a majorette, May Day Attendant and a member of pep club, FTA and Tri-Hi-Y.  Susi was a cheerleader and played 3 sports as a sophomore. Karl served as AV technician  and class play technician.  Oops, more Liberty people include Larry Stivers and Clara Lightcap, both of whom rode my bus.  Please consult your 1961 and 1962 Jeffersonians to read about more people and learn more about the class of '61 at "The Alumni".

As a youngster from the class of 1964, I enjoy the incredible "Naming of the Graduates" by MC Joy Weaver, who starts by calling out the class year of the oldest attending graduate, followed by naming that person and almost every other graduate who stands just after their class year is announced.  She is a Jefferson "genealogist" with her knowledge of the individuals and families constituting the lineage of our alma mater.  Her performance alone is worth attending the event.

Many of my childhood heroes are Jefferson alums, including Donny Myers, who drilled in a jump shot at the buzzer to win a tough basketball game played at the fairgrounds colliseum, and Maxon Weaver who had an impressive hook shot as center in basketball.  Max  and cousin Stuart Allen also each played one of the male lead parts in H.M.S. Pinafore with Barbara Jean Drake nailing the role of Little Buttercup.  "I am the captain of the sea, the ruler of the queen's navy..." rings in my ears whenever I reflect on that musical and how mesmerized I was by the high school performers.

Stories of Jefferson alumni could go on forever, and they will.  Join them in person the fourth Friday of each June.  Call Jean Ney for reservations each year.  Thank you to the memory of Adam Becker for his leadership over many years to help so many to learn so much.

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