The first Blanco School opened 126 years ago on October 27, 1884. Saturday, June 19, a class reunion was held honoring Blanco graduates from 1930 to the present at the former Blanco High School cafetorium. Panthers were contacted through letters, phone calls and even Facebook inviting them to attend this memorable event held every 5 years.
The response to the invitation was tremendous with 427 pre-registered graduates and 100 more Blanco alumni registering on Saturday. The huge Panther football run through tunnel greeted guests at the outside door. Inside the cafetorium was decorated with blue and gold tablecloths and flowers. Wooden, royal blue schoolhouses served as centerpieces.
After attendees received their name tags, they could view a Memory Lane display of yearbooks, football programs, class photos, and scrapbooks spanning generations. The oldest artifact was a diploma from 1919.
Another table display was titled, In Memory of Friends. The lace covered table held parchment scrolled sheets of paper listing classmates from each senior class who are deceased. This memoriam was a very special way to honor those missing friends.
Midway through the event, co-chairman, Yalene Hobbs, class of ’54, spoke, thanking the attendees, the volunteers who helped with various committees, and the co-chair Johnnie Mae Barnett, class of ’56. Mrs. Hobbs recognized special graduates from the class of 1930, Elizabeth Sorrells and Pearl Greebon. Mrs. Sorrells will celebrate her 100th birthday in December and she still wears her class ring. Can many locate their high school class ring, much less, still be able to wear it? Other graduates of the 1930s were Gladys Reeves, Doris Cage, and Bernice West, class of ’39.
Some graduates traveled great distance to attend the reunion. Wayne Wilson, class of ’76, came from Cabott, Arkansas, and Jimmie Felps, class of ’56, traveled form Colorado Springs, Colorado. The longest journeys were made by Margaret Wilcox, class of ’68, from West Palm Beach, Florida and Rodney Bruemmer, class of ’76, from Laurenceville, Georgia just outside of Atlanta.
Harold and Florene Lord were then recognized, although not BHS graduates, they have been steadfast supporters of the Blanco schools for many years. Billy Ray Gloor, a former teacher, coach, and principal was recognized; he served in these positions through the early 1950s. During the early ‘50s, Mr. Gloor’s wife, Clair, wrote the school song. This song is still the current Blanco High School song. Former cheerleaders, pep squad members, and drill team Pantherettes were asked to come to the stage to lead the graduates in this song. No one was shy. The stage was full and voices were raised high.
Next, group pictures were taken under a Blanco High School banner. While everyone waited for their class year to be called for their photo, friends and classmates talked and searched the room for more acquaintances.
Melissa Blackburn, class of ’89 attended high school in the gray limestone building that currently serves the Blanco ISD as the administrative building. Melissa stated, “I love this. It’s a great tradition. It’s wonderful to see all the generations.” In fact, across the table sat Leslie Blackburn, class of ’78, Melissa’s uncle. Leslie was a senior when Melissa was in Kindergarten. Leslie said his class had 42 seniors with 160 students in the high school.
Dorothy Gourley Troppy, class of ’50, graduated with 21 classmates with 10 surviving today. She recalled that in 1950, the football locker room floor was a dirt floor! The pep squad of ’49 and ’50 had vests made of oil cloth. The girls paid $5 each to have a Panther hand painted on the back of each vest. Mrs. Troppy added, “When I was senior there were 98 students in the whole high school. This reunion is great!”
In 1943 Dorothy Wagner Smith graduated with a class of 13 members in the limestone building. These students grew up in a unique time in the midst of World War II. Mrs. Smith married in July of 1942 in the summer between her Junior and Senior years, but the early marriage was not due to an early start on a family. Actually several girls married their beaus during that time because “life was fast-forward, we didn’t know if they (their military husbands) were coming back.” Her husband did return in May of 1945 after flying in missions over Germany. In regard to the reunion, Mrs. Smith stated, “It’s nice; half of them I’m related to! My 3 sons graduated in’67, ’68, and ’70.”
Wonderful stories and memories were shared throughout the afternoon. The fellowship continued as the graduates enjoyed a catered meal of barbeque. There were many hugs and some tears as graduates promised to keep in contact and to return to their next reunion in 5 years from now in 2015.