Archive for May, 2013

Counting Down

2013 Poster for WSChester High School Alumni will be coming home to Chester this year for their annual reunion and meeting on Saturday, June 29, 2013. 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 2:30 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. The Association’s annual business meeting will be held at 4:30 PM.

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. Five year classes will be honored, especially the fifty year class of 1963 and twenty-five year class of 1988.

 Association President Walter Boomsma noted that the reunion will be held in Chester for the sixth straight year. “People love meeting in Chester for a lot of reasons, including the relaxed atmosphere. Some can’t resist sitting on the church corner for a while. Small town America is alive and well, at least in Chester.”

He also pointed out that using this more informal approach allows ticket prices to remain low. Association Leadership is excited that the event will be a bit of an economic benefit for Chester. “We’re thrilled to continue to bring dollars into Chester instead of Westfield” and they hope local businesses and organizations will make the town “open and welcome” to those who attend. Boomsma also notes that the Associate enjoys the support of organizations like the Chester Foundation and Chester Historical Society. “The Historical Society has agreed to remain open the day of the reunion from 10 am to 2 pm. Alumni visiting the old jail will be amazed at the amount of Chester High and Grammar School memorabilia on hand.”

Reunion invitations are mailed to Association Members in May. Alumni who do not receive an invitation may simply send a check (tickets are $12 per person, payable to Chester High School Alumni Association) to Annette LaMountain, Association Secretary at PO Box 206, Chester MA 01011.

Additional officers of the Association include Robert Goewey, Vice President and George A. Morey Treasurer. Board Members include Judith Olson of Hatfield, Brenda Budreau of Huntington, Jackie Conklin, Edith Whitaker and Mary Burkholder of Westfield and Tino Cardarelli, Diane DeMoss, 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 and a Facebook page 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 Duane C. Pease and Paul Petersante of Chester, and Bruce Cooper of Russell.