Annual banquet draws 90 alumni to THS
Some came from as far west as San Diego. Some came from as far east as Virginia. Others just came from down the street.
Wherever they started from, they all had one location to be at on Saturday night: the Tonganoxie High School Alumni Banquet.
For 72 years THS has invited all of if its graduates to come back to the school grounds and reunite with fellow alumni.
The class of 1982 was in charge of arranging this year's reunion and making sure everything went smoothly.
"There is a special bond for people who went here, and they want to reconnect every year," said Kevin Adams, the 1982 graduate who was voted to be in charge of this year's banquet at the end of the 2006 banquet. "It's the sweet spirit of Tonganoxie."
The 90 THS alumni started the evening with a prayer and the singing of the school song.
After that, the alumni and their family were invited to eat dinner and catch up with old friends and think back at the memories -- both good and bad -- of their time at Tonganoxie High School.
During his speech recognizing the class of 1957, Larry Deaton, who was also a member of that class, remembered special times during high school, like how he and his friends would unsuccessfully go to Lawrence in hopes of imressing Lawrence girls.
However, he said he had spent "many a pleasurable evening" at the drive-in, with Tonganoxie girls.
"We never saw the movie, but we enjoyed the evening," he said.
He also told the alumni how his class "believed as a group that we would never be old, and that we would be thin. That didn't happen."
Gary and Kathy Guinn, who live in Olathe, graduated from THS in 1958. Gary said he hasn't been back to the high school and he wanted to come back to Tonganoxie so he could reunite with a cousin he hasn't seen in a while.
Larry, and Francean Moore graduated from THS in the 1942. Their memories of high school were a little different because of World War II.
The Moores recall their music and math teacher Carl Knox gathered their class together and told them what was happening in the war and how many of the young men would soon be drafted and many would lose their lives.
Knox later went on to be the Lawrence School District's superintendent.
This year's banquet also had the added bonus of giving the alumni a chance to look at some of the recent improvements made to the school, including the new auditorium where the alumni held their annual meeting.
"They took us on a tour and it's fantastic," Adams said. "I'm jealous they have this and we didn't."
As an organization the alumni also honored two members of this year's graduating class with $1,000 in scholarships.
Amie Riddle and Jake Heskett will each receive $500 each semester with this scholarship.
That was not all Riddle, Heskett and the other five members of the graduating class received for attending.
Deaton passed on wisdom that the soon-to-be grads should never forget.
He told them they would always remember three dates in their life, "your birthday, they day you get married -- at least you better -- and the day you graduate from high school."
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