SPARROWS POINT — More than 125 people gathered to celebrate good times, reminisce about the old days and look forward to the future at the Sparrows Point High School (SPHS) Class of 1968 and 1969’s 50th class reunion.
Students — now almost septuagenarians — came from all over to join in the fun last weekend.
“Our reunions are invaluable to us because it gives us a chance to reconnect with those we spent so many formidable years with,” said Hank Rode, a Sparrows Point grad of 1968. “Our youth was centered around not only our classmates, but schoolmates as well.”
For their last two reunions, both classes have combined into one gigantic reunion group.
“Since the demolition of the town of Sparrows Point, our high school reunions prove to be an invaluable venue to re-unite and relive days gone by,” said Rode.
Rode, one of the event’s organizers, said that approximately 130 people purchased tickets, with three dozen from the class of 1968 and 54 from the class of 1969. “Friends and family accounted for the rest,” he said.
At the reunion, SPHS alumni’s established a Memory Room full of school memories, including activities, plays, sporting events, teams, clubs, field trips, dances and concerts.
“The items on display brought back the memories of the 1960’s,” Rode said.
The building has changed much since their time as students, as the space now houses both middle and high school students.
“The school offers a magnet program bringing in students from all parts of the county,” he said. “Back in the 1960’s, we had teen dances which do not exist anymore. School-sponsored dances have been reduced to the Homecoming and Winter dances, to name a few. Graduations are no longer held at the school. There is also an Alumni Association providing scholarships and helping to preserve the history and integrity of SPHS.”
According to Rode, the older his classmates get, the harder it is to locate each other, as people move, married names change and phone numbers don’t always stay the same. “We have to depend on multiple avenues to spread the word,” he said.
To organize the reunion, they first contacted The Dundalk Eagle, then sent out individual letters, made phone calls and created postings on familiar social media sites.
Although the hunt for 50 year SPHS alumni was strenuous and involved lots of people, the steering committee remained unsuccessful in reaching many alum.
“One school of thought is that social media has had an impact on reunion attendance,” he said. “Reunions once served as an opportunity to catch up on the previous five years, but through social media our lives are updated daily.”
SPHS post 50 year reunion comments were very positive, according to Rode.
“Some attendees exclaiming that this was the best ever,” he noted.
“Smiles and happy conversations dominated the five hour event, with old friends exchanging treasured memories with each other and with our favorite teacher and counselor Mr. Tom Owen. We have traveled many miles individually, but for one evening, we traveled back in time and became one once again,” Rode explained.
“Our high school years were some of the best years of our lives, and we celebrated as if time stood still, anticipating our next chance to spend time together.”