All-class reunion held for alumni of the old Smithsburg High School

August 04, 2013|By JULIE E. GREENE |
  • Smithsburg High School Class of 1951 graduate, Don Brown, wore a pin with his senior portrait on it at a class reunion for Smithsburg graduates.
By Ric Dugan / Staff Photographer

More than 250 people gathered Sunday at the Hagerstown Elks Lodge, sharing photographs and stories about their families and their times at the old Smithsburg High School.

The all-class reunion for the old high school included alumni from the early 1930s through 1965, when the old school closed, and the new, still-standing Smithsburg High School opened.

The reunion, started by Charlie Slick in 1997, is held about every three years, said Rick Reynolds, who graduated in 1959 and is a member of the reunion committee.

Harry Reynolds, Rick’s brother, said he was with Callas Contractors when the company built the Washington County Housing Authority homes at the old Smithsburg school’s site in the early 1980s.

Rick Reynolds said he remembered watching 16 mm films in the school auditorium and playing basketball on the stage, which was in front of the auditorium seats.

Like his father, Reynolds went on to become an elementary school principal. He was principal at Boonsboro Elementary School for 26 years.

Before the Reynolds brothers’ father, Robert, became a principal, he taught sixth grade at the old Smithsburg school in the 1930s and 1940s, Harry Reynolds said.

The old high school housed grades one through 12 when the brothers attended, they said.

Pat Reynolds said she started attending elementary school at the old Smithsburg school in fourth grade after Cavetown Elementary closed.

That’s when she met her future husband, Harry.

“He was a cute little boy,” Pat Reynolds said.

The pair started dating in 11th or 12th grade, she said.

“She helped me with my French and I think I helped her with her trigonometry,” said Harry Reynolds, 74, who lives in Smithsburg.

“He has more of a mathematical mind,” his wife said.

Barbara (Deal) Gardenhour, Class of 1965, said the old Smithsburg school housed seventh through 12th grades in 1965.

Gardenhour said she and her classmates stay in touch and get together every once in awhile.

“It is so fantastic to be with our classmates,” said Gardenhour, 65.

Near the start of Sunday’s reunion, Rick Reynolds recognized Estelle Pitcock, 98, for being the oldest alumnus at the reunion. Pitcock graduated in the early 1930s.

“I’m surprised that so many people turned out,” Pitcock said.

Asked about any fond memories she had of attending high school, Elsa Hoffman, 92, said, “They’re all fond memories in high school.”

Like other alumni, Hoffman recalled some of her favorite teachers, including Eva (Draper) Black, who taught music, and English teacher Virtue Clopper.

Before giving the invocation, Paul Harne, Class of 1958, received raucous laughter from fellow alumni when he said, “I just hope Mrs. St. Clair is watching today. Yes, I did amount to something.”

Harne, 72, is a pastor at Virginia Avenue Church of God.

Harne said his former civics teacher, Mary St. Clair, saw a newspaper story several years ago that stated he received an advanced college degree. When the pair exchanged greetings, he said she told him, “I knew that one day you would amount to something.”

“I was just hoping she was watching today from wherever she’s at,” Harne said.

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