We started out as 78 green freshmen. Sixty-eight of us graduated.
Highlights of our junior year were our play, “The Patsy,” the Junior-Senior Banquet and Prom with “Stardust” as the theme, and selecting and receiving our junior rings. Senior Ditch Day in the snow at Laguna Mountains and the senior’s production of “Fog Island,” were among the biggest events of that year.
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In 1952, the 60-member school choir, with many seniors, had the privilege of singing for the Governor’s Dinner at the International Cavalcade in Calexico. Their musical production featured in the annual Winter Concert, and their most ambitious operetta to date, was “The Desert Song.”
In 1952 our senior class officers were Buck DePaoli, Bertha Wasson, Bobbie Haley, Mona Manley and Sparky Hefner. Student body officers were Vernon Highley, Elisabeth Schaffner and me.
The football season of 1952 was one of the most successful in Holtville history: we defeated Central twice; tied Brawley once and lost to Brawley once; beat Imperial twice; beat Calexico once, and lost once. Four of our classmates were placed on the Post Press All-Valley Football Team: Sparky Hefner, Vernon Highley, Earl Tankersley and Buck DePaoli.
As freshmen in 1949 we won first place with our float at the Carrot Festival. Earl Tankersley played the part of a prospector with his donkey. The parade theme was “Good as Gold,” and naturally referred to carrots. It wasn’t real good for the donkey. It keeled over dead as it stepped off the float.
In 2002, when we celebrated our 50th, we had another float in the parade and even won first place in our category. The float was very basic with crepe paper and some hay bales for us to sit on. Perhaps we received a sympathy vote from the judges. They probably thought this bunch of seniors wasn’t likely to be riding in many more parades. I guess 10 years takes a toll, we didn’t even consider building a float this year. We also didn’t consider doing our own cooking for our party as we have for some other reunions.
As in other years we had a few surprises this year. A 25 mph wind wreaked havoc with our plans for an outdoor affair. Two hours before our party was to begin we had to change our venue. Fortunately the spot was less than a mile away, and we were able to notify most of our guests. Aside from having some grit in our teeth, and sand in our hair while moving things, everything came together nicely.
Sparky Hefner, now of Cimarron, Kan., was our emcee, and Becky Nilson put together a wonderful video of our high school years, bringing tears to many eyes. Copies of the video are still available. We’ll be forever grateful to Mark Allegranza for handling everything so perfectly, and for preparing a most delicious feast. Thanks, too, for the scrumptious cakes baked by Patty Sharp, and the thoughtful door prizes provided for all guests by Marjetta Masserini.
We thank the Holtville Athletic Club for allowing us to use its facilities on such short notice, and I thank my children, Tony, Mary, Gina and Debbie for donating several hours of their time helping with dinner preparations and serving. They said they all had a good time being together, and “watching the old folks.”
It was a wonderful evening from start to finish. An old adage used in the video seemed to sum up our party: “The best antiques to collect are old friends.”