DUNDALK — A bull and shrimp feast made for tons of fun Saturday at The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) Hall in Dundalk for a multi-school, multi-year high school reunion for those who attended Southeastern Baltimore County Schools.
Chesapeake High School alumni Paula Waddell organized the event as a way to "bring a bunch of old friends together who haven’t seen each other in a very long time."
Waddell invited alumni from all over the Dundalk and Essex area, and dozens of people came.
"It’s for everybody," she said. "It's for multiple classes and multiple schools because we had a lot of friends that went to different schools."
During the reunion, Waddell and other attendees raised funds to support charities such as first responders, St. Judes Children’s Hospital and a special fund to send five teenagers to a volunteer trip to Chile and Peru for a month.
“We have a money wheel, a liquor and prize wheel, and an auction for some baskets,” Waddell said.
Participants at the events said that many of the guests have not seen each other in over 30 years. Most make an effort to keep in contact through Facebook and other means.
"There were a lot of parties back then," said Carl Haffner said with a smile. "You got to go meet a lot of people. High school was a lot of fun." Haffner attended Patapsco High School, and graduated in 1985.
In Haffner's day, many of the southeastern Baltimore County youth worked retail at stores in the Golden Ring Mall, now known as Golden Ring Plaza.
"There was never not a party to go to because you knew somebody from like six different high schools," Overlea High School alumnus Peter Armada said. "You would walk into a party and see people you knew."
Armada worked at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor, formerly located at Golden Ring Mall, where he met Waddell’s older sister, Wendy Welch.
“Farrell’s was the coolest place,” Haffner said.
“It was like Friendly’s, but cooler and on steroids,” Armada said. "We all knew kids from Perry Hall, Overlea, Kenwood, Eastern, Chesapeake, Catholic High and Calvert Hall, all from working together."
Attendees spent time meeting each others' families, eating, drinking and continuing to reminisce and tell stories from high school.
“I remember I had planned this big pool party and my boss called me in to work at Farrell’s at the last minute. So, while I’m working, there were like a 100 people at my party,” Welch said.
Mark Porter, an Eastern Technical High School alumni, also worked at Farrell’s with Armada and Welch.
Porter spent a little over 22 years in the Air Force after high school, securing locations for the President. After traveling the globe and seeing places like, Germany and Africa, Porter joked that Iraq reminded him most of Essex.
“There’s no place like Essex,” Chesapeake High School alumni, Charles “Chuck” Sennett said.
Robert Dinatale, the UAW Hall's president, also graduated from Chesapeake High School in 1985. "It’s cool and fun to meet up with people from high school," he said. "I’m usually here for work — and now I’m here partying!"