It was September of 1972 when you sat in the Auditorium of Crestwood High School as a freshman, a 9th grader, new to this big School at 1501 N. Beech Daly - that was an unbelievable 44 years ago! The Assistant Principal of Crestwood at that time, Mr. Douglas King, welcomed you and brought to the lectern on that stage, Mr. Messner. You never saw this man before. Little did your class know but he was “drafted” to that job just the day before by Mr. King. Mr. Messner talked to you at the High School that day trying to calm your fears and raise your hopes, that from 1972 to 1976, he would be there for you.
In that first speech to you in the Auditorium, he told you that he was going to be what was known as your class sponsor. That a class sponsor would be working with the class officers you chose to plan most of the extracurricular school events that would be a big part of your life for the next four years. He also told you, on that September day, that because you were going to be graduating in 1976 that from this point forward, you would be, to him, not the Class of 1976, but The Spirit of ’76.
Your first homecoming float was the most memorable to your Class Sponsor. Where the houses on the south side of Ford Road in the Heights are now being torn down to build strip malls, there was the house of Al and Lottie Walker, Suzette’s wonderful parents. The turnout of 76’ers on those float-building nights was incredible. The Class of ’76 was just short of 500 at the time; the largest freshman class to ever enter Crestwood High chool. Parents and teachers chaperoned that float building and around 9 p.m., when the float-building was closing down, Lottie would mention to the adult chaperones that it was “boozie-boozie time” and she invited us in and then made some “refreshments”. What a wonderful couple they were; your class sponsor will never forget them. We had three more wonderful float building years; the “Winnie the Pooh” float probably the cutest one of all. Who can forget the small nucleus of young float builders, like Peter DeLaRosa, who came early and stayed late, at every float construction, every year? What great classmates you had.
Your first dance was the Jingle Bell Rock. You were such a delight to watch; just a great bunch of kids. Johnny Barlett seemed to have the best time of anyone! The Cafeteria of CHS never looked better than when the Class of ’76 hosted this annual dance. No matter whether it was Winter estival Week or Spirit Week, the Class of ’76 always showed enthusiasm.
You class officers were absolutely wonderful to work with. Mostly girl officers; Greg Hadfield snuck in there very nicely though. Mary Averill was there from 1972 on and is still there today for all of the alums of Crestwood High School; how proud the Class of ’76 has to be for all that she is doing for Crestwood. There were times, back then, that your Class Sponsor wanted to pull his hair out with the little battles that took place among your class officers as they had to make some hard decisions but all of this worked out well; just part of the learning experience of those high school years.
We had sales and more sales and your classmates worked their hearts out every time to raise money for their individual accounts! Magazines, mugs and more. And the Class had a carnival; it was probably the largest fundraiser ever put on by a class at CHS. Many of your parents worked so very hard to bake, and to man booths like the cake walk, and the fun that was had throughout that weekend was so special; just too bad that the weather didn’t cooperate or we would have actually made money to put in the Class treasury!
Your class Committee of students and parents chose Kane Ring Company to be your class ring company in your Sophomore year. What fun that was and how you looked forward to being more grown up by wearing those rings. I wonder how many of the Class of ’76 still wear those beautiful reminders of your high school years?
Parents, such as Jackie Young and Donna Averill, stand out in the mind of your Class Sponsor as the most active parents for the Class of ’76. These parents could not have been any more helpful; they truly were the nicest ladies that anyone would ever want to meet. And who will ever forget Ma Skrzypek – she was one in a million. The Class of ’76 was truly blessed with the support and love of very caring people.
And then June of 1976 rolled around too quickly. You had a beautiful graduation day. Janice Yarber made some pretty funny faces in the front row on the field that evening, as we endured the longest convocation prayer in history! Sweet memories for sure. So many of your class have died too young and yet the spirit of the Class of ’76 still lives on strongly.
It is so great that you are getting together after all of these years. The Spirit of ’76 is still in place. Even though all of you are now 57 or 58 years young, your Class Sponsor will always remember you the way you were from 1972 to 1976. Have a great reunion!