By Misty DUPLESSIS
Crescenta Valley High School’s first graduating class, the class of 1963, reunited last weekend, 50 years after bidding farewell to the high school.
The three-day celebration began on Friday with several tours of the CVHS campus and was followed by a dinner reception at the Angeles National Golf Course on Saturday and ending on Sunday with a brunch at the picturesque golf course.
The event, titled “Buffet of Memories: An Evening With Old Friends, Fine Food and Good Spirits,” lived up to its name.
“The turnout was very good. We had probably 210 [participants] and it actually exceeded our expectations,” said Denice Pruden Hetherington who served on the reunion committee. “We had many positive comments. There were people who have never been to a reunion before or haven’t been since the 10-year and everybody was happy they came. Everyone had a wonderful time; the facility was wonderful. It was just a great evening.”
CV’s first senior class president Tim MacDonald played a key role in the evening’s success with his wife Kathie as did other members of the committee that included Hetherington and her husband Gary, Merry Shelburne, Terry Baugh, Miles and Kathie Olin, Donna Didden, Gene and Gracella Gibbs Wilcott and perhaps most important: the keepers of the list Dennis and wife Mary Le Blanc. The Le Blancs led a tour of the school the day before Saturday’s big event as well. Longtime class advisor Shirley Nute was also instrumental to the event’s success.
CV’s first principal Dr. William Thomas attended the reunion dinner with his daughter and CV alum Nancy Thomas. Thomas was already part of the GUSD family in 1963 having worked at Wilson before coming to CV as the school’s principal. Thomas held that position for 20 years and was present during the building of CV High.
“We started the school from scratch,” said Thomas adding that it took three years before they had a high school that included of ninth through 12th graders.
Members of CV’s first ever drill team were also present at the dinner where footage of some of their past performances were shared.
“We did colors and mascots. Even the song leaders, I think, still today do the last song of the routine that the first song leaders did,” said former drill team member Susan Schunck Gorman whose children also went to CV. She added that this reunion was the “most fun” she attended so far.
Many graduates had fond memories of the school and, over the years, have shared CV High School experiences with members of their own families – many of whom have also graduated from the high school.
“It’s an area that people come back to and stay,” said Nute. “It’s a unique area. I love it when I see someone [from CVHS] having breakfast, and when you’re wandering around you see somebody you know. It’s really a neat city.” Nute was part of the school from its beginnings, remaining there until 1998 when she retired.
Attendees also learned some history of CV, written by former principal Thomas, when he spoke about the school’s background, the early campus, the school’s planning, student activities, faculty and the opening of the high school in September 1960.
Thomas shared what he felt were the qualities that helped make Crescenta Valley High School so successful: “With an exceptionally well-qualified, adaptable faculty, strong support from the community and the participation of a fine group of students, an effective, respected high school was born.”