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Welcome back, Wolves
In the 100 years since Sequim High School first opened, several thousand students have passed through its hallways and classrooms, all creating their own unique memories, friendships and high school experiences. Beyond these individual experiences, however, is a shared bond that spans all graduating classes and generations: being Sequim alumni.
On Saturday, Aug. 13, packs of former Sequim High Wolves will converge upon their alma mater for a weekend of reminiscing and reconnecting at the 2011 Sequim All-Schools Reunion. Former students and teachers of Sequim High School and any other school within the Sequim School District, including elementary or middle schools, are invited to attend.
"It's a chance to get reacquainted with old friends and make new memories and kiss all the girls I missed in high school," quipped 1975 SHS graduate Kevin Kennedy, co-chairman of the Sequim All-Schools Reunion Committee. "I'm making contact with people I haven't spoken to in 20-30 years for this reunion. It's really cool."
Kennedy said more than 350 attendees are expected at the reunion, with the largest alumni groups being SHS graduates from the 1960s and 1970s. He also said among those registered so far, the graduating classes span from 1934-1983.
"For a lot of people, it's their first time back to Sequim in 20 years," Kennedy said. "They'll be amazed at the changes."
Wowed by the growth
Annette Kertis Nesse, who graduated with Kennedy in 1975 and still lives in the area, said she marvels at how Sequim has grown over the years and yet retained its small-town feel. Having moved to Sequim from Kirkland in 1970, she recalls her old friends being amazed that her new hometown had just one stoplight.
"My precious memories are that Sequim was still very agricultural," said Nesse, a Sequim All-Schools Reunion Committee member. "I just really appreciate Sequim in the early '70s being a small town and a small school. I always felt there was plenty to do here, both in school and outside with recreation."
Sequim All-Schools Reunion Committee co-chairman and SHS 1961 graduate Judy McInnes Tozzer, who descends from one of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley's oldest pioneer families, shared similar sentiments regarding area growth and change since her childhood in the 1950s.
"When I was young, we went to Sequim only on Saturdays. Sequim was so far away," Tozzer said of growing up in Jamestown. "But then, being on the school bus was sort of your social life. When I think about it now, it was only 31/2 miles."
A reunion to remember
Reunion events include a Saturday morning golf tournament at SkyRidge Golf Course and lunch at the high school, which also will feature SHS memorabilia displays and a classic car show. Attendees are encouraged to participate in the car show by bringing their own muscle cars and hot rods to display in the high school parking lot.
The reunion revelry will continue with an afternoon assembly in the SHS auditorium featuring a full lineup of guest speakers from different graduating classes. The assembly also will include a retrospective digital slideshow, prepared by the Museum & Arts Center in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley, of school-related photographs donated by SHS alumni.
"What's different is you're back to where you were, on the high school grounds and in the brick building especially," Tozzer said of the event's uniqueness as compared to class reunions. "My folks went to school in that building."
Reunion activities conclude on Saturday evening with a dinner featuring live music and dancing at 7 Cedars Casino in Blyn.
Reunion attendees also are invited to attend two separate community events, both in Sequim, the following day. The Sequim Pioneer Picnic is at noon, Sunday, Aug. 14, at the old Macleay School, 290 Macleay Road, and the MAC will host a special open house from noon-4 p.m. at the historical Dungeness Schoolhouse, 2781 Towne Road, that includes a book signing by "Clallam County Schools, East to West" author Irene Wyman.
Get registered, help out
Reunion attendees, especially those wanting to attend the dinner, are encouraged to register by Aug. 1 by contacting Tozzer at 360-683-2585 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Registration forms are available online on the Sequim School District website at www.sequimschools.wednet.edu.
Those interested in contributing images to the retrospective digital slideshow shown during the reunion assembly should do so by Aug. 1 by contacting MAC Executive Director DJ Bassett at 681-2257 or email@example.com.
Tradition lives on
This marks the fourth Sequim All-Schools Reunion since 2001.
Held every three to four years, the current reunion was scheduled to coincide with the Sequim High School centennial. Kennedy said the next Sequim All-Schools Reunion will occur in 2015.
"Because Sequim graduating classes were small, we often interacted with classmates ahead of us and behind us. Individual reunions don't necessarily allow people to visit with others from different classes," Nesse said of the all-schools reunion concept.
"So even though the classes are years apart, it's important to have the bigger group interacting and visiting."
"We want them to take away stronger friendships," Tozzer added.
Reneé Mizar is the communications coordinator and executive assistant of the Museum & Arts Center in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley. The MAC is an associate member of the Sequim Alumni Association.