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Chester High Alumni Coming Home!

Chester MA 10Chester High School Alumni will be coming home to Chester this year for their 115th annual reunion and meeting on Saturday, June 30, 2018. 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 1:00 p.m. 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 p.m. and Officers and Board Members will meet at 12:00 p.m.

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. All classes will be honored, especially the fifty-year class of 1968 and twenty-five-year class of 1993.

Association President Walter Boomsma noted that this reunion has been deemed significant and will include a reduced cost along with a few surprises. In addition to being the 115th Anniversary of the formal creation of the high school in 1902, this is the fiftieth anniversary of the last class to graduate from Chester High in 1968.

“It really is like a homecoming. Some can’t resist sitting on the church corner for a while and many tour the area to visit the places that were an important part of their lives.” Boomsma also reports that the Association enjoys the support of organizations like the Chester Foundation and Chester Historical Society. “The Historical Society has agreed to open the day of the reunion from 10 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. and again on Sunday for their regular summer hours. Alumni visiting the recently opened museum will be amazed at the amount of Chester High and Grammar School memorabilia on hand.”

Reunion invitations are mailed to Association Members in May. The reunion is not limited to graduates of Chester High. “Anyone with a connection to Chester is certainly welcomed to join us for socializing and reminiscing. This is really a town event.” Anyone who does not receive an invitation may simply send a check (tickets are $7.50 per person, payable to Chester High School Alumni Association) to Robert Goewey, 1 Aldrich Avenue, Huntington MA 01050. Please make reservations no later than June 20, 2018.

Officers of the Association include Robert Goewey, Vice President/Secretary and George A. Morey, Treasurer. Board Members include Judith Olson of West Hatfield, Brenda Budreau of Huntington, Jackie Conklin and Edith Whitaker of Westfield, Jack Young of Hinsdale 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 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 of Chester and Mary Burkholder and Ed Woodis of Westfield.

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Visit the New Chester History Museum

Yes… the Chester History Museum will be open on Reunion Weekend… you won’t want to miss it!

Museum

Class of 1993 — Where are they now?

Class of 1993

Courtesy of the Chester Historical Society, reprinted with permission from the 2018 calendar.

Where are they now? We do not have addresses for Henry Fristik, John Henry, Jason Jameson, Joseph Jones, and Stacy Watson from the Class of 1993.

Update your address!


 

Square Up!

Who remembers that instruction?  It surprised me a little that I was able to serve as a source of history regarding the “Berkshire Teen Shufflers” and “Wildcat Twirlers.” I shared with the Historical Society… “The folks you have listed there were the advisors—Dottie Pease was the caller and organizer… it was a club of teens, I was president for a few years. We would often travel to other clubs in the area… Russell, Westfield, etc. and I have dim recollections of competing in some square dance contests. Both David Hitchcock and I also learned to call some, thanks to Dottie. The Wildcat Twirlers was the adult club… some of the names I remember were the advisors you have plus Doris and Pete Austin… I remember Lilia Burnup being involved for a while. Golly… the Shufflers danced every Tuesday night as I recall. Lots of fun memories and times! I don’t remember exactly… but I think the Teen Club fizzled out a few years after I graduated (1965). I remember our “square” – danced together lots. Couple 1: Susan Willey and me, 2 Carol Willey and Jeff Pease (Dottie’s son), 3 Karla Zmuda and David Hitchcock, 4 Maureen Austin and George LaMountain. It sure feels weird being part of history!”

By the way, I’m pretty sure one reason the adult club was called “Wildcat Twirlers” was that after dancing, they went to Wildcat Springs for adult beverages!

If you have a memory, why not share it as a comment and contribute to the legacy of two great clubs that were an important part of Chester’s History!? I’ll make sure all comments get forwarded to the Chester Historical Society.

Square Dance

Photo from the Chester Historical Society’s 2018 Calendar, reprinted with permission.

CHS Champions of Southern Berkshire League–1951!

CHS 1951_resized

We owe a big thanks to Bill Giles ’51 for sending along this photo which he admits, “…is not in too good shape.” Well, it is 67 years old! It definitely was a moment–the first time the girl’s team had won a championship!

Recognize These Lovely Ladies?

February 7, 2018 Leave a comment
May 1951 by Esther Strout

From right to left: Jean Verratti Murray, Esther Ward Strout, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown, Juanita Ward Blake. (Photo provided by Esther Ward Strout ’55, taken in May of 1951)

Felix Salzano ’44 Makes Honor Flight

January 25, 2018 Leave a comment

Many thanks to William (Bill) Giles ’51 for not only bringing this to my attention but for mailing me the clipping of an article in The Republic Plus on Wednesday, January 17, 2018. Try as I might, I’ve not been able to find a link to the article online and copyright restrictions prevent me from posting the article itself on our website.

I can report a few tidbits, including the fact Felix has the rare distinction of having served in both the European and Pacific Theatres during World War II. He was thrilled to be invited and the participate in the Honor Flight Program in September. Honor Flight is a non-profit organization that flies veterans to Washington DC “to visit those memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of themselves and their friends.”

The article suggests that it was an ambitious trip, beginning with a departure from Springfield at 3:00 a.m. A return to Logan arriving at 10:30 p.m. suggests he and his escort were likely not home before midnight, but Felix said, “I’m so glad I made it. I felt inspired.” While in Washington, he and his fellow participants were given a police escort where traffic was stopped at every intersection as they toured and visited the World War II, Korean and Viet Nam memorials.

Felix’s story is truly a great one–both the story of this trip and of his service. Let’s hope he makes it to this year’s reunion and we can convince him to share some of his experiences.

I know I speak for the Alumni Association and our members when I say we’re happy and proud he received this honor, and we are truly grateful for his service. He’s also been a strong supporter of our Association by attending reunions. I’ve sent a special invitation to attend this year–explaining that we can’t promise a police escort, but there’s not that much traffic in Chester anyway!

Read the letter to sent to Felix.