Green Class of 52 recalls school days
GREEN — The Green High School Class of 1952 has seen a lot of changes since its members graduated 60 years ago. About 18 of the 33 members of the graduating class of 55 students still living attended a reunion Sept. 14-16 to reminisce about their school days and catch up on friendships, according to Green resident Arch McConnell.
McConnell said he helped to organize the three days of activities along with a number of others from the class. He said the Class of 1952 attended both elementary and high school at Kleckner, which was closed last year. He was the class vice president and is a retired principal from Hudson High School. He said he went to Kent State University on a basketball scholarship and got both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education there. He has been married for 55 years to Ellie, and he and his wife have two grown children and five grandchildren. He added that they live on the same land he grew up on in Green.
McConnell said the three-day reunion drew former students from as far as California, Montana, Florida and Illinois, and began with a lunch visit to Green High School.
“It was exciting to see the new high school,” he said. “It is beautiful and a real change from the building we went to school in.”
McConnell said the high school staff “laid out the red carpet for us and treated us special,” and gave the group free tickets to attend the football game that night. He also said Green Mayor Dick Norton and Superintendent Mike Nutter stopped by to speak to the group.
The group also gathered for brunch at Menches Brothers Restaurant on Saturday and dinner at Prime 93 that evening. The weekend events ended with a picnic at the century home of one classmate in Green on Sunday.
“We all got reacquainted and had fun,” said McConnell.
Green resident Jim Beard, president of the Class of 1952 and retired from owning his own insurance agency, also attended the reunion events. He has been married 58 years to his wife, Eileen. He said prior to owning his own business, when he was in his early 20s, he worked as a substitute teacher and was paid $14 a day, and full-time teachers earned an annual salary of $2,700.
Beard said he was amazed to see so few books in the high school library and to learn how much information students get from computers today. He said he also was surprised to see the size of the graduating class today (325 in 2012) and the size of the student parking lot.
“It was amazing to see how many kids drive to school today,” he added. “Only one or two kids drove when I was in high school.”
Canton residents Loretta (Nichols) and Louis Boettler (Class of 1949) also said they were impressed with the new high School. Louis Boettler said his uncle owned the Boettler farm.
“The new school is overwhelming,” said Loretta Boettler. “ And I don’t even recognize the city anymore its grown so much.”
Louis Boettler said students in their days all knew each other because they went to school together for 12 years. He also said he enjoyed reflecting on the past.
One thing Barbara Neidert, also a member of the Class of 1952 attending the reunion events, said she remembers from her school days is that on her second day of school in grade six, the school caught on fire and students had to go to East Liberty for the rest of the year. That building was eventually sold by the district and is now Chapel Hill Christian School’s Green campus.
Neidert said she grew up on a farm on Mount Pleasant beginning in 1945 and still lives in Green. She is widowed and has two children, three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
“The changes in the city are humongous,” she said. “There are so many new buildings and businesses and even two hospitals. There is a lot more traffic now.”
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