Archive for April, 2009

Press Release: Comin’ Home!

Chester High School Alumni will be coming home to Chester this year for their annual reunion and meeting. The meeting draws a large group of people associated with the former Chester High School, including Chester Residents who graduated from Gateway after Chester High School closed in the late 1960’s. This year’s festivities begin with a social hour at 3 PM at the Chester Railroad Depot and continue informally throughout the entire weekend as “Blue Devils” and “Quarriers” wander around town visiting old friends and relatives.

Chester High has traditions dating back well over one hundred years, but the Association has no members from that long ago! Among the many mysteries every year are questions like, “Who will be the oldest member?” and “Who will come from the farthest away?” In the midst of all the reminiscing, prizes are awarded for the first local and first out of state reservation. There is never a lack of laughter, perhaps because the threat of detention is long gone even though former teachers frequently attend.

Association President Walter Boomsma noted that last year’s reunion was held in Chester by happenstance, but the reviews were overwhelmingly favorable. “We surveyed those who attended and 85% said we should return to Chester for future reunions. People loved being in Chester for a lot of reasons, including the relaxed atmosphere. Small town America is alive and well, at least in Chester.”

“Our plan is to continue to make this event truly focused on reuniting old friends! Five year classes will be honored, especially the class of 1959. Of course we’re required to have a meeting, but we’ll keep it short and moving along. We are working closely with the Chester Foundation in regards to the food and the Chester Fire Department in regards to a cash bar of some sort.” He also pointed out that using this more informal approach allows ticket prices have to remain low — again this year only $10 per person.

Association Leadership is also excited that the event will be a bit of an economic stimulus package for Chester. “We’re thrilled to be bringing dollars into Chester instead of Westfield” and they hope local businesses and organizations will make the town “open and welcome” to those who attend. Details and invitations will be mailed to Association Members mid to late May.

Since maintaining an accurate mailing list is always a real challenge, alumni who have not received an invitation may simply send a check (tickets are $10 per person, payable to Chester High School Alumni Association) to Edith Whitaker, Association Secretary at 324 Russell Road #215 Westfield MA 01085. Edith can also be reached at 564-8124.

Additional officers of the Association include Robert Goewey, Vice President and George A. Morey Treasurer. Board Members include Nancy Allman, Mary Thayer of Russell, Jack Young of Becket, Brenda Budreau of Huntington and Tino Cardarelli, Annette LaMountain, Charlotte Pease, and Janice Brown, all of Chester. Any one of these people may be contacted for information or to volunteer some help. The Association maintains a “Blog”: at where alumni can gather information and post comments. The Alumni Association also manages a significant scholarship fund and Gateway Seniors are encouraged to contact their guidance counselors for additional information. Scholarship Custodians include Maurice Pease, Duane C. Pease, and Bruce Cooper.

Categories: Reunion Discussion