By Woodrow Polston
The Vandalia High School graduating Class of 1954 met last Friday at Great Plains Kitchen to celebrate their 68th reunion since graduation. A total of 10 graduates were expected to be there for the occasion. One of the classmates, Larry Shaw, was running late, having to drive in from Des Moines, Iowa.
Linda Tate, wife of graduate Ron Tate, said that it was unreal to see the continued interest in the reunion.
“They keep coming back each year and it seems just unreal,” said Tate. “My husband spearheads the reunion. I asked him last year if he was going to continue and he said that he was going to do one more. I wasn’t sure if anyone would come this year, as we are all getting up there in age. Practically everyone here is 86 years old. But we are still kicking and doing well for the most part. Most of us have traveled to be here today, as many of us no longer live in the Vandalia area,” she added.
After a group photo was taken, some of the classmates walked over to a table that had a large display of photos from past reunions, while others sat at the long table to enjoy conversation. Ron Tate, who brought the photos, told the group that if anyone wanted to take any of the photos to feel free.
“I have plenty of photos of our reunions if anyone wants to take some home with them. I have a sheet going around for everyone to update their current mailing addresses on. Once I have made a revised copy, I will send it out to everyone in the mail. Unfortunately, we have lost two of our members this year. There were originally 28 of us in our graduating class,” said Tate.
The class of 1954 has historical significance tied to them. They were the last class to graduate in the original high school building located on South Main Street. They were also the last class that was segregated. As they prepared to eat their lunch, Linda Tate asked a blessing on their meal and their time together.
“There is a lot of love and friendship in this room. We have lost some of our family members that used to be with us. I ask that they be blessed and comforted, and that our time here together and our meal be blessed as well,” said Tate.