It was a time when horses nearly outnumbered vehicles in the parking lot and the height of technology was a manual typewriter.
Yet for graduates of the Central Valley High School class of 1950, the absence of Facebook, iPods and texting may have actually translated to better communication – and more entrenched friendships – than those seen over a half-century later.
Representatives from the 1950 graduating class at Central Valley High School gathered for a reunion at the Timber Creek Buffet in Spokane Valley last week.
Photo by: Craig Howard
Nearly two dozen former Bears gathered at the Timber Creek Buffet last week to reminisce over days gone by at a 61st reunion celebration. The casual get-together – organized last year after a more elaborate 60th anniversary – was highlighted by laughter, good conversation and a slew of fond memories.
For Betty (Krogness) Snow, the chance to catch up with old friends was a chance to reflect on “a simpler time.”
“We didn’t have computers and all the things they have today,” Snow said. “But I’m glad I was in high school back then.”
First known as Appleway High School when it was built in 1928, the school held a contest to rename the school a few years later with Central Valley emerging as the winner, according to Florence Boutwell’s three-volume history of the Spokane Valley. Located on the site of the current Greenacres Middle School, the original home of CVHS was constructed at a cost of $43,000, stood three stories tall and housed 10 classrooms.
The building stood until 1967 when it was torn down. Central Valley High School students began attending a new campus on Sullivan Road in 1968.
The class of 1950 included 118 graduates, 30 of which attended last year’s 60th reunion. Sadie (Chalich) Ruckert, who has helped organize each reunion going back to the 20th, said less than half of 1950 alumni live in the Spokane area.
“They’re all over the U.S. – Florida, New York, New Jersey, California,” Ruckert said.
Rodney Hahn made the trek from Walla Walla to attend last week’s luncheon with his wife. Hahn was on the football and boxing teams at CV and, for a while, competed on skiing squad based at Mt. Spokane.
“In football, we didn’t lose too many games,” said Hahn who drove a 1935 Ford coupe to school. “We were in the old city league. Lewis and Clark was our main rival.”
The rural landscape of Spokane Valley meant students at CV often being referred to as “farm kids” when they went into Spokane for games and other events. Hahn was one of many students who participated in the Future Farmers of America program and, upon gradauation, earned a scholarship from Union Pacific to study agriculture at Washington State University.
While World War II had been over nearly five years when the class of ’50 received their diplomas, the Korean War was just beginning. In June 1950, President Harry S. Truman announced that the first U.S. troops would be deployed to South Korea to bolster military opposition to an offensive from the north.
Hahn served in the Navy after high school and contracted polio. He was told by one doctor that he would never walk again, but recovered and earned three college degrees, including a master’s in school administration. He went on to work as the superintendent of schools in Finley, near Kennewick.
Beverly (Shaw) Gibson met her future husband, Dwain, at CVHS. He passed away in 1991, but Beverly still attends each reunion. She is also part of a women’s group from her senior class called “The Nifty Fifties” that gathers for lunch several times each year.
“This is really important to me,” Gibson said. “It’s kind of unusual that, after 61 years, people still gather together.”
At one point during last Friday’s luncheon, Ray Perry – looking like he could still run a mile on CV’s old cinder track – took a vote on the question of holding another reunion next year. By the time hands were counted, it was unanimous – the group would meet again in 2012 on the second Friday in September.
“We have fun,” said Perry, who turns 80 next month. “We just sit around and gab.”