The evening of August 16, 2019 remained dry and warm as nearly two hundred fifty former classmates gathered together for the thirty-fifth annual Reynoldsville-Sykesville High School Alumni Reunion and dinner.
Those gathered represented twenty-eight graduating classes: 1938, 1943, 1944, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950 through 1970 and 1972. Ruth Engle, currently of Brookville, was the most senior lady (Class of 1938), and Paul Keller of Winslow Township was the most senior gentleman (Class of 1943).
People from eighteen states traveled home for this evening of reminiscing with friends. Fellowship time before the meal was enhanced by an amazing array of appetizers provided by Laudrea Frampton. A choice of either roast turkey or Swiss steak was prepared by –then expertly served by–the volunteers of St. Mary’s Catholic Church. The meal was topped off with ice cream donated by St. Mary’s Catholic Church and again served by their efficient volunteer crew.
A short program followed the meal and then there was more time for conversations.
For the viewing pleasure of those at the reunion, The Reynoldsville Historical Society provided a display of yearbooks, sports team photos and sports paraphernalia including a football helmet, jacket, megaphone and the marching banner of the high school band.
The original yellow brick building remembered by the classmates was dedicated on September 4, 1896, with the first graduation in May of 1897. That building was destroyed by fire on February 16, 1902 but was rebuilt in time for school that fall.
Through the years, many small country schools closed, and the students joined those at the Reynoldsville School. Beginning in the school year 1961-1962, Reynoldsville-Winslow High School and Sykesville-Henderson High School became one.
The black and gold Bulldogs and their archrivals, the orange and black Leopards, merged to become the green and white Reynoldsville-Sykesville Falcons.
Things changed again drastically in the school year 1965-1966 when the students from the school on the hill were sent to DuBois (or Punxsutawney) to become the red and black Beavers, a jointure that was not popular with many.
The school building was eventually sold and, in the summer of 1971, the yellow brick building was demolished, the ground was landscaped, and construction was started on apartments for senior citizens. The first occupant moved into the new housing on August 8, 1972.
During demolition, historic items (photos, artifacts and records kept in the building) were loaded into dump trucks to be hauled away, but some were rescued by caring former students and have been preserved.
Judging from the faithful turnout for the Alumni Reunion year after year those who attended classes in that building took away more than readin’ ritin’ and rithmatic’; they took with them friendships that have lasted through the years.
The Reynoldsville-Sykesville Alumni Reunion is a meeting of former classmates; but more than that it’s a gathering of friends.
The next reunion is tentatively scheduled for August 14, 2020. Mark your calendar.
Submitted by Peggy Zortman, alumni committee
Historical facts researched with the help of Christy Weaver and the Reynoldsville Historical Society.