Reunion planned for Rockland High School's class of '44

By Louis Bettcher | Aug 01, 2017
Photo by: Louis Bettcher Esther Novicka, left, and Gloria Witham gather July 25 to discuss plans for a Rockland High School class of '44 reunion.

Rockland — A group of alumni from Rockland High School's class of 1944 met at Bartlett Woods July 27 to discuss plans for an upcoming reunion.

"Most of us are pushing 100, and we wanted to have a meeting of the minds to plan a reunion and see what we could stir up, and let people know that we're still kicking," said Gloria Witham. She and the classmates assembled had many fond memories of their time at the high school.

"I think that we had the best of it," said Louise Knowlton of her class' high school experience. "It was the beginning of World War II, but we weren't a bunch of raggle-taggle roughnecks. On the whole, we were a pretty good class."

"We were the best class," enthused Witham. She and the group's organizer, Esther Novicka, both played on the girls' basketball team all four years of high school. Witham referred to the sport as "the love of my life," and remembered how much fun she had playing in the Knox/Lincoln girls' league under the leadership of coach Bill Sullivan.

Witham said the teachers at the school were terrific, and remembered when she and her classmates dedicated the school's yearbook, the Cauldron, to French teacher and basketball chaperone Mary Ludwig in 1944.

Since that time, the school has had its name changed to Rockland District High School and then to Oceanside, but for the alumni assembled, it will always be Rockland High School.

"We were Rockland High School, and we were the Tigers," said Witham of the school's mascot.

"They're not the Tigers any more?" asked Betty Knight.

"No, they're the Mariners now," said Witham, much to the dismay of her classmates.

Knight recalled vividly a time in 1941 when, as sophomores, she and her classmates were called into the school's gymnasium to hear a speech by President Franklin Roosevelt on the radio. The speech, delivered by Roosevelt Dec. 7, asked for the declaration of war against Japan following the attack on Pearl Harbor, and began with the famous words "a date which will live in infamy."

Although the class of '44 has had periodic reunions over the years, Novicka thought this summer would be a good time to organize her classmates for a gathering. She is currently in the process of reaching out to classmates in the area, and another planning meeting is expected to take place in early August.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Aug 01, 2017 14:31

We in the class of "66" feel the same.  Once a Tiger always a Tiger. Have a happy reunion ladies and many more.

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