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    Wednesday, April 17, 2024

    Montville High alumni celebrate 50th anniversary of first graduating class

    "Happy Seniors, Brian Kennedy, Butch Moore and Don Hess? You bet. It's chow time."

    Fifty years ago, the first graduating class of Montville High School was greeted each morning by Principal Daniel Boothby, who was armed with extra neckties for the boys who came without.

    Anne Horner, an alum and lifelong resident, smiled at the memory, chuckling because the girls weren’t safe from uniform checks either.

    “I remember that the boys would wear ties and girls had to wear skirts,” Horner recalled during a recent interview at her home. “Girls had to kneel down, and the skirt had to touch the floor.”

    Horner and other members of the class of 1965, which was the first class to graduate from the brand new Montville High School, are celebrating their reunion and the anniversary of the school. When high school opened in 1963, it was the first time Montville teenagers attended classes in town. Before that, students attended high school in other towns.

    Horner said the school’s classes in the 1960s included home economics and stenography, which taught girls how to be housewives. Today, stenography and home economics are not taught at the school anymore.

    “It’s different. Now they have classes and things more suited to real life,” she said.

    Though the curriculum changed, Horner said she hasn’t changed much from her “class clown” superlative title. According to her, it is probably for the best, because people will recognize her at the 50th Year Reunion, which will include the classes of 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969.

    Events and activities on the reunion itinerary include a tour of the school followed by a football game against Plainfield High School, a dinner and dance party at the Groton Inn & Suites, as well as a picnic at the Polish American Citizens Club in Uncasville.

    Before the new high school opened, students had to be transported to other schools such as New London High School and Norwich Free Academy. Horner spent her first two years of high school at New London High School.

    The high school building initially included sixth, seventh and eighth graders, but the younger students were later separated from the high school students and sent to other schools in town and eventually to a junior high school.

    Horner graduated with 114 other students. The class of 1965 was responsible for choosing the school’s class rings and the school colors —orange and black.

    In 1965, there were about 850 students and 35 teachers at the school, according to the 1965 annual report submitted by former superintendent Charles Murphy.

    Murphy also wrote that the 1965 graduation was a “major event” for the town because it was the first high school graduation within the town itself with all of the school’s students in one place. About 40 percent of the class had plans to continue schooling post-graduation, he reported.

    The reunion weekend has both free and ticketed events. The reunion will start on Thursday, Sept. 24 with golfing at Norwich Golf Course. The outing will be followed by food and drinks at the Maugle Sierra Vineyard in Ledyard. Tickets for golf cost $50 each and tickets for the vineyard are $6.

    Friday’s events will be held at Montville High School, 800 Old Colchester Rd., Oakdale, and will include a tour of the school and a concert by the school band and choir. After the performance, there will be a football tailgate before a game against Plainfield High School. All events for Friday are free and people attending the tailgate and game are asked to bring their own food and drinks.

    Saturday’s schedule includes a tour of the Mystic Seaport and a dinner and dance at the Groton Inn & Suites. Tickets are $50 per person.

    On Sunday, there will be an afternoon picnic at the Polish Club in Uncasville. Tickets are $25.

    For more information about events and tickets, contact Edmund Moore at (703) 472-0331 or edmund.moore@gmail.com.

    Editor’s note: Images are reprinted from 1966 Montville High School yearbook.

    "But Mr. Kuhn, I didn't mean to get my fingers caught between the keys! Lynn McKinney, Al Kuhn, Gail Childs and Maryann Pietrowski."
    "Careful planning by the yearbook staff provided a quality product. Ron Mercolint, Tim Wheeler, Leo Chupaska, Bob Gayda and Cheryl Parker."

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