So this summer I'm helping plan my 40th (!) high school reunion. That seems like an awfully big number, us George Washington Patriots would never have imagined reaching - let alone celebrating - back in 1975.
It's such a big number that the 70s are now the subject of a CNN/Tom Hanks nostalgia television news documentary. Remember Watergate, Nixon's resignation, Mary Tyler Moore and All in the Family? If you don't, you're not a Baby Boomer. We obtained our Colorado Driver's License the same year as the 1973 Arab/OPEC oil embargo, a huge bummer and inconvenience to new drivers like us.
The experience of reunion organizing with my former Denver Public Schools classmates has been amazingly exhilarating. Pretty sure we all believe that we've survived similar life experiences and milestones; marriages/divorces, births and family deaths, professional successes and failures and have our roots sunk deep in that turbulent time in America of the early 70s. Classmates who haven't seen nor talked with each other since graduation are genuinely excited with the prospect of a Labor Day Weekend of 40th reunion activities - including a Give Back to GW Day.
Our formative decade was marked tragically in its first year by the May 1970 Ohio National Guard shootings of protesting college students at Kent State University. The event begetting Crosby, Stills & Nash and Young's Four Dead in Ohio - sung to close summer of 1974's Denver Mile High Stadium concert, ironically opened by the ever popular Beach Boys.
At the forefront for our public school generation, however, was the racial integration of Denver Public Schools, which overshadowed older boomers opposition to the distant Viet Nam War. Plus the draft had ended at the beginning of 1973, our sophomore high school year, so being called-up and shipped overseas wasn't a concern.
Our 2015 reunion planning committee is co-chaired by our African American former class president (who's never attended a past years reunion) he is working closely with many other classmates, including class overachiever 5-time Grammy Award winning jazz singer Dianne Reeves. We're pretty sure that our class has won more Grammys than every Denver Public Schools graduating class combined!
But back in the 1970s racial integration, which meant busing black kids across town to our mostly white neighborhood school, was a significant social/educational experiment. Probably much more traumatic for our parent's generation than for us, nevertheless we lived this new school-day reality and look back on the era with some serious amount of pride. We handled it. We worked together in student government, sports teams and activities like Future Business Leaders of America, DECA and Speech Club.
We think that after 40 years we do have something to Give Back to GW and are excited to spend a day with current George Washington High School students sharing our life experience, wisdom and good humor too! As published by our intrepid '75 Heritage year book editors, quoting Paul Simon's song of teen confidence/confusion ". ...I must be what I must be and face tomorrow...so I'll continue to continue to pretend my life will never end and flowers never bend with the rainfall." Congratulations Class of 1975!