In 1956, Clark Junior High School was located on Community Avenue where Crescenta Valley High sits today. While attending Clark, the class of ’56 watched the construction of the large building destined to become a high school in 1960.
In the summer of 1956, Clark’s ninth graders graduated. At the end of summer they commuted eight miles to high school in Glendale.
In 2011, 55 years after that ninth grade graduation, 87 classmates and their guests gathered together at La Crescenta Woman’s Club for their first junior high school reunion. From all parts of California they came, some from as far as Canada, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada. Many said they had been away so long and didn’t realize how special it would be to return home to their roots.
Awaiting the former classmates at the door was a gift – a newly restored Class of ‘56 Crescent yearbook published by fellow Clark Jr. High graduates Anna Mae Wheelbarger and Gary Clayburgh.
The book was 188 pages thick with an additional section called “Then and Now,” a compilation of written submissions from 101 Clark classmates. Each shared their memories of growing up in La Crescenta in the ’50s and each wrote about their lives after high school and included a current photo of themselves.
In addition to the yearbooks, the classmates also enjoyed the planned events for the day beginning with a guided tour of Clark’s original building and campus grounds; a sandwich luncheon; vocal and instrumental music performed by classmate Dennis Simila; a presentation to Coach Goorjian; and a late afternoon ’50s style supper served on tables covered with vintage tablecloths and a raffle drawing for prizes from the ’50s.
The highlight of the day was when teacher/coach Ed Goorjian arrived. He said he came to “see his boys.” Ten of the 12 members of his ninth grade championship basketball team were there to greet him with smiles and open arms. As the sun set, many classmates were still visiting and congregating in the parking lot, not wanting to say good bye.
For those who may have missed last year’s reunion, another is planned on April 21 from noon to 6:30 p.m. at the La Crescenta Woman’s Club, 4004 La Crescenta Ave.
Sponsored by the Anderson W. Clark class of ’56, the event is open to Clark classes from 1951 through 1959 (RSVP required) and includes a spaghetti dinner at 3:30 p.m. Each classmate is to bring a salad or dessert. The cost is $20 per classmate with one guest admitted free.
For more information, contact Anna Mae Wheelbarger at email@example.com.
Contributed by Anna Mae WHEELBARGER