Photo courtesy of Sarah Schrock The first graduating class from Liberty Bell High School’s current building had a reunion last weekend.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Schrock
The first graduating class from Liberty Bell High School’s current building had a reunion last weekend.

By Sarah Schrock

The 50th birthday party for the Wagner Memorial Pool drew supporters and pool patrons Sunday under the shade at Twisp Park. Attendees listened to live music by local favorites Fred Cooley with Lauralee Northcott, and Sky Kyss along with Noah Ashford, who supplied the sound system and DJ’d the event.

Many others played lawn games and pickleball, or swam for free. Susan Stone prepared and donated an adorable octopus cake, while Jill Stone cooked up hot dogs for kids and her husband, Bob Stone, grilled up delicious brats donated by Thomson’s Custom Meats. 

The party was a huge success with the help of many volunteers and those who attended. But the work is not done at the pool. Friends of the Pool still needs to assist the town with a gap of close to $20,000 for the new re-surfacing project that enabled the pool to open this season, and extend its life. Despite continuing water loss from an unknown source, the pool lining project has been a success and the future of the pool is bright. With three more weeks left to the operating season, make sure to come in and see the new pool.

Another well-attended affair this past weekend brought alumnae from Liberty Bell High School’s graduating class of 1996 to their 20th reunion. The ’96 class marks the first class to graduate from the current building and can be credited with starting the water tower painting tradition. Held at the Virginian Motel in Winthrop, the reunion-goers had a blast reuniting, reminiscing and laughing all weekend long out on the river.

Christie Milka, now of Bellingham, organized the event and almost lost her voice from all the laughing. Consensus is that she did a great job party planning, which included dinner at Carlos 1800 Mexican Grill and Cantina on Saturday followed by a riverside party where they danced to ’90s rap music and stayed up to the wee-hours reuniting. There was river rafting for some from Gold Creek to French Creek, followed by a family barbecue in the afternoon. The gathering also attracted former teachers such as Mr. Dixon, Roy Reiber and Lew Kallery.

Twenty-six out of the 47 graduates from ’96 came home to the valley from as far away as North Carolina, which Jessup Smith now calls home; New York City, where Jovan Charlton makes a living as a photographer; and from Anchorage, Alaska, where Brian Larson is an anesthesiologist.

John Triplet, now of Arizona, joined up with Andy Rundstom in Portland to take a road trip home. Nikki Edson, mother of eight kids now, managed to steal away a little time to herself and reconnect with old friends. Former ASB president Brooke Bourne and accomplice Dani Reynaud can’t remember where they buried the time capsule on the brand new campus in 1996, but took pride in being the first class to paint the water tower. 

Rumor has it that the ’96 class was seriously scheming to scale the hill again, equipped with ladders and prepped with paint, ready to re-claim their rightful place on the tower. But with 20 years of wisdom under their belts, the locals who still live here reminded the rabble-rousers in the group that they would face public scorn if the current “16” transposed to a “96” overnight. So instead, they set their eyes to the skies and watched the meteor shower. All the returnees took delight in visiting with old friends and faculty and promised to shoot for a 25th.  However, for those hailing from more-populated, far off places, taking time to be reminded of the landscape of their past and the vastness of the night sky left them grateful of the beauty that has helped shape who they are today.

Send me more reunion stories as the season is upon us to return home (which is where I was all week if you were wondering):


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