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Posted: Monday, Jun 27, 2005 - 09:54:31 am CDT

Uvalde Alumni gather for first-ever
All-Class Reunion June 10-12

BELOVED EDUCATOR - Longtime Uvalde teacher Wave Thompson (left), on hand for numerous reunion activities, is presented a bouquet of flowers by Bob King at a June 11 Mexican Fiesta at Willie De Leon Civic Center.
by Quin McWhirter-UHS Class of 1958

In its first-ever, all-class reunion, the Alumni Association of Uvalde High School celebrated June 10-12 with a weekend of activities, which filled Uvalde almost to overflowing

Several hundred alumni and their families representing 36 graduating classes of UHS enjoyed a continuous series of events that provided fun for alums, profit for local merchants and an unprecedented opportunity for so many to get together and reunite with former classmates and long-time friends.

With an appropriate start at El Progreso Memorial Library, registration began June 10 and gave many alumni their first look at the new facility on the historic site of West Main School, where many had been students so long ago.

They received goodie bags and event information from the Uvalde Convention and Visitors Bureau, tours of El Progreso and the first chance to visit with old friends, which signaled the perfect beginning of a memorable weekend. A very impressed group of alums and former students enthusiastically launched this significant time together.

The calendar of official and optional events gave attendees the chance to really see Uvalde from one end to the other, and included two performances of "Its Now or Never" at the Janey Slaughter Briscoe Grand Opera House sponsored by the Uvalde Arts Council, an all-day opportunity to visit the arts and crafts show on the Downtown Square and ample time to tour the many historic and cultural facilities and attractions in Uvalde.

Alumni almost literally swarmed Uvalde in much the same fashion as the honeybees, which made Uvalde famous as the Honey Capitol of the World.

Saturday began with breakfast for the alumni at Uvalde High School catered by Joe Garza, and then all of the former high school buildings and campuses were open for tours.

The Getty Street campus where many of the reunion attendees graduated, was a very popular tour choice and 50s grads were especially happy to see Bill Jackson tickling the ivories of the piano in the auditorium there, as he had done so many times as a student.

Also on Saturday, a golf tournament was held at the Uvalde Memorial Golf Course for alumni and there was skeet and trap shooting at the Uvalde Gun Range.

A trophy and a dozen golf balls were awarded to each of the top-three finishers of the golf tournament with first place going to Karen Kirk, class of 1970; second place, to Eddie Roosa,'61; and third place, Sumner Hunter,'66. Closest to the pin awards went to Dr. James R. "Jim" Winn,'60, and Bob Lester, '66, and highest score award went to Bennie L Honaker,'56.

Time was provided on Friday afternoon, during the day on Saturday and on Sunday for individual class reunions and several were held by the classes of '47, '48, '49, '58, '60, '62, '63 and '66. Alums from classes who didn't have individual reunions took the liberty of crashing the ones that did.

The first, scheduled to be annual, membership meeting of the Uvalde High School Alumni Association was held Saturday afternoon in the McNelly Room of First State Bank of Uvalde, and UHSAA chairman George Speir, '57, presided and introduced current board members Sue Heard Helveston, '60; Gary Heyen, '59; Quin McWhirter, '58; Nathalie Campbell Patton, '60; and newly elected board members Bill Carman,'49; Neil Gilligan Jr., '45; Terry Harrison, "88; Carmen Iruegas, "55; and Kay Jungerman, '65.

A review of the business of the association was conducted with focus on the granting of scholarships to deserving graduates of Uvalde High School. In its first two years of existence, the association has granted five scholarships and will continue pursuit of this major goal in the future.

Bill Cockerill, member of the UCISD Board of Trustees, spoke briefly to welcome the Alumni Association and invite their interest in and support of school district activities in the future.

The main event of the reunion was the Fiesta banquet, held Saturday evening at the Willie De Leon Civic Center. The evening of fun, food, entertainment and dancing was attended by approximately 465 alums and guests.

Wave Thompson, who was present for many of the weekend's activities, was honored and remembered as a favorite, having taught so many of the alums in the first grade.

Special recognition was awarded to David Beard, the first chairman of the association, Gary Heyen and Mel Glauberg, founders of the organization, and Gary and Beverly Heyen, who chaired the reunion.

Keynote speaker was Dr. Lawrence Ray Smith, UHS class of 1954, and entertainment was provided by Joyful Noise, The Memories and The Texas Guns. The disc jockey for the evening was Jon Garcia, and Danny Ortiz of radio station KVOU served as master of ceremonies. A Mexican food dinner was catered by Juan Martinez of Town House Restaurant, and class pictures were taken by Wade Carpenter.

The Fiesta was a delightful conclusion to the scheduled activities and the buzz of alums could surely be heard from far away as they visited into the evening, which concluded with the singing of "Loyal and True" in good UHS style.

The Uvalde Alumni Association would like to express its appreciation to the people, businesses and organizations in Uvalde for their wonderful support and hospitality, and for enabling this brand new organization to have the opportunity for such a successful first reunion.

Based on feedback from the alumni who attended, it is expected that a repeat of the reunion will be held in the near future. For more photos of the classes and the reunion or information about the association, visit the Web site www.uhsalumni.com.

Reunion 2005