High school fifty years ago was similar to today – there were cliques and rivalries, sports, and superlatives. 

Back then the students at Saratoga Springs High School and St. Peter’s Academy (now Saratoga Central Catholic School) did many things together, and in June this year, they celebrated the 50th anniversary of their high school graduation together. 

In the years since high school a lifetime of things have happened to the 278 students that graduated from Saratoga Springs High School and the 70 from St. Peter’s in 1970. To stay in touch, every five years since they left there’s been a reunion. Although their 50th was delayed due to the pandemic, there were 80 in attendance at the Inn at Saratoga this year.

“Every reunion we’ve had so far has been a chance to reconnect and have fun,” said event organizer Leta (DeGregorio) Betor. To “keep the dream alive” she runs the Class of 1970 Facebook page and relies on the dedication of the reunion committee, she said.

Returning from Afar

Even in an age when technology makes it so easy to stay connected, these former students circumnavigated the globe to be together in person. The furthest flew in from the Philippines, with others coming in from Honolulu and Minnesota. 

Denise (Powers) Dixon flew up from Florida, where she’s lived for the last twenty years. She was excited to see her lifelong friend Pamela (Johns) Wilusz. When they were five years old, the two played together. In high school they spent their summers together at SPAC, seeing bands like Chicago, The Who, the Allman Brothers, and Santana when tickets were still just $2 each. They even lived together for a while in Tucson, Arizona after high school. 

Seize the Day

On this night, Skippy and the Pistons, whose members were in the graduating class, as well, were playing at the Inn while Jim Collins laughed and joked with some of his former teammates. Like many, he played football, basketball, and baseball in school. 

“The beauty of it is, we all played together and tried to stay out of trouble,” he said. Today, it’s the absence of those who have been lost that continues to motivate his actions.

“Why did I come? Because we’re still alive. We keep losing folks so we have to make sure we take advantage of every day we have and take the time to just be friendly with one another.”

An Unbreakable Bond

For their Senior Day in 1970, the class celebrated with a huge spur-of-the-moment snowball fight, remembers Bruce Jones. Bruce also played all three sports in school and recalls that his was among the first teams to play in the then newly-formed Saratoga Springs Pop Warner football team. Voted the Funniest, Friendliest, and Most Athletic in his class, Bruce is now a coach at the Saratoga Springs Recreation Center. 

“It keeps me going,” he said, “but I feel like I’m the last man standing sometimes.”

The ski team was where Cathy (Woodcock) Hay really found her niche. Her family owned the Alpine Ski Shop and her boyfriend, Jack, loved skiing as much as she did. He was a senior and she was a junior when they became the prom king and queen. The couple now run the Alpine Ski Shop together and  celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary on September 18th this year. 

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