North Webster School alumni and their family members filled North Webster Community Center’s banquet hall Saturday, July 14, enjoying an evening of fond reflections and catching up. The evening started with a welcome and invocation, followed by dinner, which was catered by Our Father’s House. Tables also featured floral arrangements completed by Bev Carey from the class of 1964, who has created past arrangements as well.
The highlight of the evening was the honoring of alumni from the classes of 1948, 1958 and 1968. Larry Keim represented the class of ’58 and shared his memories of teachers and fellow classmates — plus some youthful shenanigans the class dabbled in, which included Popsicle stick skeleton keys, pencils in the ceiling and a firecracker that went off, burning the fingers of a classmate.
“There were a lot of good times we had,” Keim remarked, adding, “A few of us got in trouble, but we had a really good class.”
Ron Shipley spoke on behalf of the class of ’68, focusing in on “The Senior Rail.” North Webster seniors had the exclusive right to walk on the left side of the double staircase, facing traffic. They then hung out at the senior rail. When the class of ’68 were juniors in 1967, a few of its enterprising members stole the rail, refinished it and brought it back — with “Seniors 68” engraved in its top.
“We’re a pretty close class,” Shipley said. “We have a class gathering every five years.”
Shipley also took time to honor Joe Gerard, who was in the class of 1938 and a “fine North Webster Trojan.” Gerard had played basketball while at school and then at Michigan. A World War II veteran, Gerard returned to North Webster School as coach and also taught math and science. Gerard’s wife, “Boots,” and daughter, Susan Gerard McGill, were in attendance.
While the class of ’48 had no speakers, it did have two members in attendance: Joe Martin and Harold Barwick. Martin actually flew up from Port Charlotte, Fla., to attend the banquet.
Cathy Shipley, class of ’68, shared that 120 people attended the event, with 30 percent of those in the attendance being North Webster graduates who had gone to school there all 12 years. The oldest in attendance was Norma Roose, 94, class of 1942. The farthest alumni was Chris Baker Anderson, who’d come from Mississippi. The longest married couple who had both graduated from North Webster were Gary and Barbara Popenfoose, both with the class of 1951.
In addition to catching up, alumni and their families also enjoyed listening to Clint Olson—who had attended North Webster but graduated from Wawasee High School—perform tunes from the ’60s and ’70s with his guitar. Olson had been a freshman when the class of ’68 were seniors.
Alumni members also took care of business, introducing its 2019 officers: Ron Shipley, president; Cheryl Leedy, secretary; and Cathy Shipley, treasurer. Class of ’66 member, Dennis Wagoner also spoke on the benefits of the NWCC to the community.
The next alumni banquet will be July 13, 2019.