MHS Class of 1979 Celebrates 20th Reunion
By Terry Peoples, Former Editor, MHS Warwhoop
A long, long, time ago... we were
anxiously looking forward to getting out of high school and getting into the real world.
But for three days in August (6-8), over 200 graduates of Meridian High School's
class of 1979 stopped, took a look back, gathered again with high school friends, and
reminisced about those "good ol' days" at our 20th class reunion. It was a
time to party, and what a party it was! With spouses and kids, the total number of
attendees at all events probably exceeded 400.
The first day's events began with a very special gathering held in conjunction with the
Meridian Fire Department's annual Salmon BBQ dinner near the Meridian Speedway. The
food was great, the beverages were plenty, but more importantly, the reuniting of old
friends began in earnest -- from the moment we picked up our registration packets until
the fire department lit the M at dusk. Unlike 20+ years ago, nobody tried to climb
the fence and jump into the nearby Meridian pool (and no cops came to break up the party
and steal the keg!). As the M burned, a small band of die hards made a feeble
attempt at singing the Alma Mater (but in classic MHS tradition, few if any remembered all
the words). Following the BBQ dinner, the reunion class photo was taken.
Getting more than 100 buzzing classmates rounded up and onto the wooden bleachers for
the picture was quite a task (I'd say a bit like herding bumblebees on horseback).
Fortunately, we managed to get it done... and with no loss of life (the bleachers held up
under the weight and none of the revelers in the top row fell off the back).
Day two began with a golf tournament for some and a float trip down the Boise river for
others. The winning golf team (at 12 under!) included: Larry and Tonya Bowers, Diane
Schnebly Cortez, and Doug Schnebly. Dave Rumple got closest to the pin, but Stan
Schooler got even closer on another hole -- with a hole in one! The long drive awards went
to Rick Cope and Becky Hammond Philipps.
That evening, we gathered at Boise's DoubleTree Downtowner for the
"Dinner-Dance." John Berg and Brian Burgess, our distinguished
"emcees," took attendees on a stroll down memory lane (or, for some,
"what's left of your memory" lane), with news, sports, TV and other trivia from
1976 to 1979. Although no official record was kept, a number of "awards"
were presented that went something like this: Debbie Wagner Watkins for longest married
(to the same spouse!); Traci Olpin Rogers for most kids (ten--count 'em -- ten), Terry
Kowallis/Michelle Sanders for most changed (thank God for name badges!), David Harr for
most years in school (no, he's not still at MHS!), Brian Burgess for traveling the
farthest -- from Japan (bet he'll have a few frequent flyer miles to use up soon!), and
Diane Schnebly Cortez for most grandkids (and yet, doesn't she look as stunning as ever?).
There may have been more awards, but my mind was focused on something else that night
(like trying to keep the butterflies at bay before getting up to sing in front of my old
classmates). Yes, yours truly wrote and sang a song for the 20th class reunion
entitled "Twenty Years Have Gone By," sung to the tune of American Pie, by Don
McLean. Check out the lyrics in the Bulletin Board section
of this web site.
The song captures people, issues, and events from the pages of our old high school
newspaper, the Warwhoop, as well as from the Yearbook and my own fading memory banks.
The e-mail and comments I received afterward indicate it was quite a hit.
(Okay, Fred Wood said it sucked , but everyone else liked it ;-). Special thanks to
Tim Mitchell for being a good sport and letting me lampoon his hairdo (not that he had a
choice). My only regret -- no video or audio recording.
The evening concluded with great music, dancing and more reminiscing. Tim Huston
can still dance up a storm -- and so can Alisa Looney. The reunion planners added a
special touch, setting up a display of photos and keepsakes that included not just high
school memorabilia, but stuff from some of our grade school and junior high school days
too (for a real test of our memory banks).
The final event -- a relaxing "Sunday Funday" picnic in Municipal Park --
gave the former classmates a chance to show off their kids and rest up (or sober up) for
the trip back home. The weather cooperated fully and the photo and keepsake display
was set up again. (I could see it much better in the daylight.)
A lot of time and energy went into putting this event together. It was well
appreciated by many of the folks I spoke to personally. A very special thanks to the
planning committee: Robin Ripley Stuart, Lisa Meredith Kiser,
Bill Segel, Jodi Hancock Segel, John Berg, Tim Mitchell, and Jerry Holloway. You
helped make August 6-8 part of our "good ol days." We might have to do