I’m sure many of you are wondering “Why?” about many aspects of this blog and the Facebook presence of the Tempe High School Class of 1971. Let me try to address at least some of your wonderment.
It seems that every graduating class is different in regard to its propensity for getting back together after graduation. Some really embrace it and find it fun and joyful, and others simply don’t. Ours started out with a pretty strong intent for staying in touch and getting back together, and held events to celebrate the 10, 20 and 30-year anniversaries of our passage from THS into the world. It seems that the participation gradually dwindled at each of these, and nothing was even attempted for the 40-year reunion. Some classmates have lamented, but nothing has been done to rally and recover our spirit of unity. This is my basic intent.
So, why me? Many of you don’t remember me at all, much less as a gregarious organizer of events for our class. Back in 1970, the world of politics was quite tumultuous, to say the least. Most of us were only vaguely interested in student government at our high school, if at all. It seemed that no one was going to seek office as the senior class president. Phil Lundberg had decided to run for presidency of the student body, and he approached me one day to discuss a proposition that I might try for that office for our class. After some consideration, I decided to do it.
The election was anti-climactic, with virtually all candidates, including me, running unopposed. Very quietly, I became your senior class president. Chances are that you didn’t hear my speech (I don’t remember it) or vote for me, but it didn’t affect the outcome.
A traditional duty of the senior class president is organizing reunions. I had no idea that this was the case back then. I learned about this later, from Phil, but he suggested that Betty Bryant (now Betty Rohloff) might be interested in organizing our first (the 10-year) reunion. She accepted the challenge of doing so, and with great results! I attended and had tremendous fun, there was a nice turnout, and I think almost everyone there enjoyed it immensely. So, what happened after that?
Here’s where I bear considerable guilt. I know the 20-year event was again successful and fun, with several people contributing heavily to that outcome. I was unable to attend. I had shirked my traditional duties. Then at 30 years, Scott Clayton and Milissa Sayner headed up an effort to organize some reunion events, and they were well done, really fun, but only lightly attended (42 people at the main gathering at the Pointe at South Mountain). When the celebration of the 100th anniversary of THS was announced, several classmates (most notably Scott and Pat Burdette, and Tom Pian) and I tried to get a good showing from 1971, but the number of participants from our class was pretty disappointing. Then it seemed that none of us could muster enough enthusiasm to try for a 40-year get together of any kind. Now we’re 44 years out.
As many of you have noted, our numbers have begun to dwindle owing to mortality. If we hope to see one another again, we have to make it happen. I hope to shed my personal guilt by at least providing some catalyst. That, with my desire to learn more about life and love, is why I’m doing this.
A note from Scott Clayton:
"When you mentioned the 30-year reunion and myself and Milissa as organizers, you must edit/add Tony Powers and Debbie Nelson as co-organizers....the four of us worked equally to make that happen.....don't want to leave anyone out. Also, in your history we did have a 15-year reunion at the Pointe at Squaw Peak.........for history's sake if you want to mention it (not really necessary but just in case)....10-year was at Fiesta Inn, 15-year at Pointe at Squaw Peak, 20-year at Pointe at South Mountain, 30-year at Pointe at South Mountain.........as I recall there were 379 in our graduating class...........EXCELLENT JOB in putting this blogsite together....hopefully we'll get some participation."
Thank you, Scott!