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Editor's Notebook
June 4, 2020

7/2/2012 11:36:00 AM
A reunion to remember
Members of JCHS Class of ’72 enjoy a most special gathering
Here are most of the members of the Jennings County High School Class of 1972 that attended their 40-year class reunion on June 16.—Photo courtesy Ralph Cooley
Here are most of the members of the Jennings County High School Class of 1972 that attended their 40-year class reunion on June 16.—Photo courtesy Ralph Cooley
How the time flies, but so often in a good way.

A couple of week ago, I went to my high school class reunion. It was a highly, highly enjoyable time.

I got to see and talk to many of my classmates that I hadn't seen in years. Some I hadn't seen since we graduated from high school. A few I couldn't remember, and I wasn't alone. After all, we had a large class of over 300 kids when we started our freshman year.

Forty years - gasp! - later, 84 from our class showed up at the Mus­catatuck Park to rekindle memories.

The Jennings County High School Class of 1972 was the greatest class in the history of the school, in my highly prejudiced opinion.

Our football team started 5-0 that year. We may have ended up at 5-4, but, hey, that's a lot better than many Panther gridiron squads have done since.

Our boys basketball team that season should have won the state. We didn't get out of the regional, but there was considerable consolation in the fact that we beat a very strong Seymour crew twice on their home floor in classic hoops games, the last one in a sectional final that epitomized Hoosier Hysteria.

Our boys golf team beat Columbus High School (before the schools were split up into North and East) on their home course in which yours truly played a small role, yet one I will never forget.

We really didn't have girls sports then, except what was called GAA, which I think stood for Girls Athletic Association. The girls played basketball on the club level, but I don't remember any other sport. That seems such a shame now.

Sports and other extracurricular activities weren't the only subject we talked about that evening. We remembered academics and many of our JCHS teachers, some more fondly than others.

It was great to see Milford Smith at the reunion briefly. I had him as a teacher for two high school classes - typewriting, now called keyboarding, and bookkeeping, now called accounting - and always regarded him as one of my top high school educators.

Another former JCHS faculty member, Don Schroeder was there, too, also a big plus. I never had Don as a teacher, but knew him well as an outstanding basketball and baseball coach at JCHS and, before that, North Vernon and Holton high schools.

Mostly, I talked with classmates. It was amazing how some I hadn't seen forever live right in the North Vernon area as I do and others who live farther away I see fairly often.

So many names I could drop, but I don't want to leave anybody out and it would take up too much space. I can't resist naming just a few.

The most poignant moment came with the release of 27 balloons in honor of our classmates who have died. I knew nearly all of the deceased, including a couple I didn't realize had passed on.

Arlan "Bud" Herndon, whom I didn't realize was in my class until about a year ago when he and others started planning the reunion, read off the names of the deceased.

Every class has Tom Foolery in it, I'm sure. Some jokester had added at the end of the list the name of Kent McCarty, who was among the classmates present. When Bud read off his name, laughter erupted. Kent mocked collapsed, and the laughs got even bigger.

The fun continued into the evening with more talk, more laughs and even a little dancing and karaoke.

I ended up singing a few Motown and Beatles songs with whom my male classmates used to - and still do - affectionately refer to as the "Big Three": Teresa "Bug" Miller Brown, Janet Ringer Hoffer and Cindy Leake Paswater. It was a bonafide blast.

The reunion would not have been possible without the work of Bud, Nancy Olmstead Amick, Toni Hen­ney Wendel, Mike Brown, Dick Tekulve, Gwen Rey­nolds Hammelman, Debbie Klingner Biehle and, most especially, Kathy White­head Montgomery, as well as all others who helped with the planning and work, as well as all who showed up to join in the fun.

Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Article comment by: Diana Earl

The 1972 class reunion was awesome. It was great seeing everyone and I' m so glad I didn't miss it. We are a great class! Thanks to everyone who made it possible. See you next time.

Posted: Monday, July 2, 2012
Article comment by: Linda Coad

Great column, Bryce. The reunion was great and it was fun seeing everyone again.

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