In 1970 the world celebrated its first ever Earth Day, Apollo 13 launched towards the moon, Brazil won the FIFA World Cup, the Beatles ‘Let it Be’ rose to the top of the music charts, and 88 Woolwich residents donned a cap and gown to finish up their five years spent at Elmira District Secondary School. Forty years later, many of those graduates travelled from places near and far for their 40th year reunion.
Members of the organizing committee were hoping to contact all 88 graduates, and through a network of emails and records from EDSS were able to locate 67. Seven had passed away since graduating. In the end, 34 people turned up at the event to reminisce, remember and reconnect. A fair number of graduates still live in the area, but the event brought people back to town from as far away as Montreal, Michigan and Calgary.
“Not everyone we contacted was able to make it, which was too bad,” said organizing committee member Elizabeth Lyons. “But for those who came by it was a great time. It was so good to see everyone again.”
This is the third time the class of 1970 has reunited; the first was 15 years following their convocation, the second at the 25-year mark.
The event was put on by a committee, a handful of graduates who joined forces to contact old friends, organize a venue, and put together a collection of memorabilia.
“I began hauling out old boxes of things from high school and all the memories just came rushing back,” said Lyons. “I had dragged the boxes around for years from house to house and never really looked at them. It was neat to open them up and remember things I had forgotten.”
Among the attendees were back-in-the-day celebrities Brenda Snyder (Hoyt), the winter carnival snow queen, Dennis Brubacher, the head prefect and Dean Martin, the male athlete of the year.
Also included on the guest list were former teachers, some of whom, Bill Crane for example, were just beginning their teaching careers at EDSS and others who were finishing their careers. The event was saddened, however, by the announcement that long-time teacher Ernie Kendall has passed away the morning of the event – he had been planning to attend and many attendees were looking forward to seeing him.
The reunion was held on the property of Marjorie and (the late) Harry Soehner on Arthur Street in Elmira. Although the day started with a light rain shower, the clouds moved along and the group was able to enjoy an afternoon in the sunshine. For Lyons, it was the company that made the day and all the planning worthwhile.
“In our eyes, we all still look like we did when we were 18,” said Lyons. “I think when you see people from your past it is like time has stopped and you just pick up where you left off so many years ago. It’s a great feeling.”
Proceeds from the event will be donated to the scholarship set up at EDSS in Kendall’s name that is presented annually to the graduating student outstanding in academics and athletics.