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Home » News » Forever Young Since Graduating from Lee’s...

Forever Young Since Graduating from Lee’s Summit High School Fifty Years Ago

Forever Young Since Graduating from Lee’s Summit High School Fifty Years Ago

June 14, 2014

Biannual 50th Golden Alumni Reunion Brings Together 26 Graduated Classes

Jack Hall
Tribune Photo by Ron Wight

By Jay Mejia

The oldest man at the high school reunion, Jack Hall, class of 1935, leaned over to his son-in-law Bob Collins and pointed. “That gal used to be my girl when we were kids. Wandalee’s the best-looking 96-year-old woman I’ve ever seen.”

When Wandalee Rice Anderson, class of ‘36, hears about this later, she guffaws. “There’s something wrong with that man’s eyesight.”

Jack, 97, and Wandalee dated while attending Lee Summit High School and later broke up. They both graduated and they still see each other at the school, at least every other two years, always in June. That’s when an alumni group holds a unique biannual tradition – welcoming all of the graduating classes who have reached the half-century mark.

Last Sunday, more than 360 people, alums, spouses, families and friends from 14 states came together for this year’s 50th Golden Alumni Reunion.

The tradition began in 1984 when Dr. Ralph Powell, Frank Graves, Jake Hoke and Henry Poos decided they could get more people to attend reunions if they started adding other graduating classes once they reached the half-century mark, according to the alumni group’s historian Shirley Garland.

This year, the LSHS 50th Golden Alumni Association welcomed and inducted the classes of 1963 and 1964. Alums representing 29 graduating classes attended.

Gathered in the LSHS Field House, the alums visited for several hours before lunch, renewing acquaintances, trading banter and embracing friends not seen for years. After singing the school song,

“LSHS Here’s to Thee” and an invocation from Bob Bergen, the group enjoyed a buffet of smothered chicken and roast beef catered by the Neighborhood Café. They dined on 63 apple, cherry and coconut cream pies.

Dr. Robert E. “Bud” Hertzog, class of ’48, introduced this year’s inductees for the 2014 LSHS Hall of Fame. They include: Marvin Ensworth, Class of 1952; Mark Bradford, Class of 1977; Jeffrey Carter, Class of 1979; Shannon Lawrence, Class of 1977; and Dr. James Williams, Class of 1963.

“The Hall of Fame members represent the best of the school and are good achievers in life,” Dr. Hertzog said. “All of us give credit to Lee’s Summit High School for giving us a great start in life.”

Dr. Hertzog, who dated and married his high school sweetheart Betty, also class of ’48, marveled at the breadth of the memories and friendships shared during the reunion and how far the city of Lee’s Summit has progressed.

“When I graduated, Lee’s Summit was just a one-stoplight farm town with about 2,500 folks. Now we’re up to 100,000 people with three high schools and the city just keeps growing,” he said. “A lot people during the reunion had a chance to go to the Downtown Days festival and they were just amazed at how far we’ve come as a city.”

As for the reunion itself, “a great time was had by all,” said historian Garland.

The next 50th Annual Reunion will be held on June 12, 2016.

“I hope to make it to the next one,” said Jack, who reveled at being the oldest man in the room.
Added Wandelee: “If Jack makes it, I’ll be there, too.”

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