The Greenwich High School Class of 1970 is planning a reunion on August 20 and 21, billed as two days of peace and music. The class of 1970, all around 70 themselves, is unique in many ways.
They were the largest class as well as the last class to graduate from the “old” high school when it was located on Field Point Road, now home to City Hall.
The year of their graduation was also the year that Greenwich Avenue changed to a one-way traffic pattern.
This week, some members of the Class of the 70s Reunion Committee – Patti DeFelice, Jon Asch, Tim Haymon and Kevin O’Connor – held a planning session in the Gisborne Room at City Hall. Recalling memorable moments, they punctuated sentences with gestures down the hall or upstairs, depending on where a classroom was or an incident had taken place.
Some of the memorabilia included senior class pranks over the years, including the 1968 class that brought a Volkswagen Bug to the third floor.
For their part, the class of 1970 builds a replica of the Spirit of St Louis, the single-engine, single-seat, high-wing aircraft, and hangs it from the ceiling of the auditorium. Having the AV Recovery Center have keys to every room in the building helped.
At the time, John Bird had just been appointed director. “He came up when we had the plane suspended and said, ‘You did a really good job, but it should be taken down by the teachers,'” O’Connor said. “It took 24 hours to withdraw. He was a really nice human being. »
The committee also recalled that the parking lot behind the building was usually full of Volkswagen Bugs. Greenwich Avenue was steps away for an after-school ice cream, and football and marching band reigned supreme.
It was a time of Oxford shirts and jacquard sweaters, Peter Max and paisley prints. It was also a time when students dressed for their senior portraits – the girls often in beads, their hair styled in bobs that were flipped at the ends, and the boys in suits and ties.
“The Madras throw was great,” DeFelice recalls. “But we weren’t even allowed to wear blue jeans.”
While girls couldn’t wear pants, smoking was permitted outside.
Smokers hung around under the tennis courts, but there was a rule against cheerleaders and athletes smoking.
The committee shared fond memories of teachers and individual coaches who made an impression, including Carmel Signa who taught instrumental music from 1967 to 1992. Under his leadership, the marching band was legendary and featured at football games.
“Everyone loved Mr. Signa,” said DeFelice, who was a stick twirler with the high school band.
“I said to him, ‘I’d like to twirl with high school. We were champions, and he said, ‘Okay,'” she recalled. “Tim was in the Stateliners Drum Corps,” she said. she said of Hayman, who was also her prom date all those years ago, “And he made us all join the band.”
Knowing that I was a champion baton twirler, I asked Mr. Signa if I could twirler with the group. He made me audition and included me right away! she remembers. Timmy and I were also part of the local Stateliners Jr. Drum & Bugle Corps,” she said of Haymon, who was also her prom date all those years ago. Haymon then taught Industrial Arts at Western Jr High School for 10 years.
“We had rooms entirely dedicated to metal, woodworking and drawing,” he recalls. “Roger (Stenz) was my inspiration. He was very enthusiastic and disciplined. I did an internship with him to get my teaching diploma.
The committee described a high school anchored not only to Greenwich Avenue, but also to the Havemeyer Building, where some of their classes were taught since the high school was packed.
“But you had to have a pass,” O’Connor said, of trips to Havemeyer where industrial arts classes were taught.
In fact, they said, since the school had such a high enrollment rate, the district also introduced “portable” classrooms – two on each side of the Field Point Road building.
“We were the largest promotion with 760 graduates. The school had over 3,000 enrollments,” O’Connor said.
“We were the last class in this building and we didn’t want to leave here,” DeFelice said.
When the school moved to the new campus, that meant it could have its own swimming pool. The Field Point Rd building did not have a pool. The boys swim team was able to use the Boys Club pool.
After the students transitioned to Hillside Road, the rear of the Field Point Rd building was demolished.
Three floors of classrooms fell, along with the boys’ gym and lockers, which were in the basement. The demolished part had been a 1939 addition to the original building. The auditorium was just beyond and to the left of the main foyer.
Third-floor classrooms had views of Long Island Sound. Truman Capote, who attended GHS from 1939 to 1942 and contributed to the school’s Green Witch literary magazine, wrote a short story commemorating this view.
The reunion committee questioned the design of the building, as well as the choice of the school’s new location on Hillside Road, noting that the campus was a swamp where the ice was cut in winter.
The Field Point Road location offered many other advantages, starting with proximity to Greenwich Avenue, convenient for a quick bite to eat at Woolworth’s or Neilsen’s, known for its soda fountain and ice cream.
O’Connor described the ’70s class as cohesive above all else.
“We had the greasers and the hippies – the jocks and the smart guys, but the people weren’t sitting down,” he said.
“Supposedly, you make lifelong friends in college,” he added. “But my lifelong friends are from high school.”
And, the committee noted that many graduating classes from the 70s are still in town, including some notable names: Terry Betteridge of Betteridge jewelers, Eddie Fong, formerly of Star Laundry, Charlie Hubbard of Greenwich Blueprint; Bruce Hudock, retired TB state judge; former Chancy D’Elia landowner Chris Jensen; and Angie Stover of Whidmans Pastry shop.
DeFelice said classmate Jeff Maguire, a class officer, would become a screenwriter whose most famous film was In the line of firereleased in 1993, starring Clint Eastwood.
DeFelice recalled that Maguire was in the Drama Club at GHS when he came up with the idea of a killer planning to assassinate a president and taunting a Secret Service agent assigned to protect him.
With over 50 years since graduation, the reunion committee urged people to RSVP, and would even like to include Class of 70 graduates from all private schools, including the former Rosemary Hall and St Mary’s.
In fact, the committee said that so far the people who have responded have come from out of town, so they are urging people who live locally to join the group.
“We need excitement,” Asch said. “Show up and light up.”
“We’ve all aged, so don’t worry about how you look,” Haymon said. “It’s about how you feel.”
“Seventy is the new 50,” O’Connor added.
The reunion itinerary includes two events:
On Saturday August 20, the events will take place at the Hyatt Regency in Old Greenwich. The event begins at the Hyatt Regency in Old Greenwich with cocktails followed by dinner and dancing to live music from Long Island’s LPS Band.
On Sunday August 21, a barbecue is organized by Garden Catering, in the clambake area of Greenwich Point. The picnic includes hot dogs, sirloin burgers, grilled chicken, veggie burgers, salads and more, plus beer, soft drinks and water. background entertainment provided by Alum Billie Jean Engborg and husband Pat Duffey. The reunion committee assures everyone that they are “BAD ASS BOOTS” from California.
For updates, visit the Class of 1970 reunion at Facebook.
To receive information about the Class of 1970, send your e-mail to [email protected]