Old faces are new again at PVHS's class of 1958 reunion|
BY BARBARA BOUCICAUT
Special to Passaic Valley Today
Imagine high school in 1958. The girls' hems fell far below their knees. The boys' hair was slick. Coed gym was unheard of and smoking cigarettes was the worst thing a student could do.
For Joan Palicia and her classmates at Passaic Valley Regional High School, it was a much simpler time. Their high school years may be long gone, but ghosts of high school came to life on a recent Friday night during their 50-year reunion at The Bethwood in Totowa. "I can't explain the feeling," Palicia said. "You get a tingle all over. There's something about seeing old faces."
Half of the 206 graduates were at the reunion, Passaic Valleys largest. Palicia, of Wayne, was convinced by classmate and friend Gail Humecky to organize the reunion, which took two years. Dressed in their finest, the class of 1958 worked the room, reconnecting and sharing memories. Alums could be heard around the room, asking, "Who's here? Where?"
Bob Sokalski, class vice president, traveled from Tennessee-to take part. "Somehow, we mean very much to each other," Sokalski said. "There's something there that we cannot define, but we know it's there." Sokalski created a DVD of photos and recordings from their heydays for everyone to take home.
"It all sunk in and suddenly everyone looked the same," said Roger Frye, co-captain of the football team and voted most likely to succeed. Today, Frye is a computer programmer and lives in Santa Fe, N.M. The students senior year was also marked with many athletic achievements, including the school's first Lakeland Conference football championship. Passaic Valley's track, cross country, baseball and golf teams also took the top spots that year. "We were committed," Sokalski said. "If you played football, you were committed. If you played baseball, you were committed." That commitment carried on after high school - many graduates pursued the careers they dreamed of in high school.
But along with success stories, came some sadness. Black and white yearbook photos of deceased classmates were placed in large red hearts at a memorial table. Many of the alums were shocked to learn that old friends had been lost not too long ago, and a moment of silence honored the missing 32 guests. At another memorabilia table, pictures of football players, class photos and.the girls athletics competition called Girls Show, were on display, as were faded greeh-and-white championship football and baseball jackets. The class of 1958 may not be teenagers anymore, but the 67- and 68-year-olds still know how to have a good time.
"Are you ready for some PV?" Sokalski said as the festivities began. "Let's rock!"
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