I just read Susie Hobby's letter on our Class Page and she has inspired
me to record some of my own thoughts. WHS was truly a unique place and
the great support of individuality and creativity helped me to be the person
I am today. I came to the PI in November of 1976 and began attending WMS.
As all of us know, it can
be daunting to step into a new school, especially after school has already
been in progress for a time. I didn't have any problems fitting in (at
least in my rose tinted memories accompanied by a soundtrack o'seventies
hits)for it was there that I was finally given an outlet for my creative
juices. There was Rosalie Tucker's Theatre class (suddenly there I was
writing sketches and song parodies for our own SESAME STREET & CHRISTMAS
EXTRAVAGANZAS - WOW!), THE WIZARD OF OZ (actually rehearsing during school
hours) and the wonderful History teacher, Jack Smith, who moved over to
WHS along with the Class of '80 in '77. Jack allowed me to have film festival
periods where I would showcase my latest Super Eight opus to the classes.
He also saw how much the history class loved the musical 1776 and produced
a production of it with us. That wasn't our grandmother's history class,
now was it? Thanks Jack wherever you are.
When I hit WHS in the Fall of '77 I had already begun to work with the
local community theatre, playing Snoopy in YOU'RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN.
The juices were really flowing now. Keith Tucker and C. Byron Wood were
directing the shows, Tucker taught a great "acting" class. So many of the
teachers there recognized that creative spark and went out of their way
to help nurture it throughout the years - Barbara Goff, Milt Sosnick, Harlene
& Dan Mitchum, Pat & Dick Saddlemire, Eugene Edgerly, all of the
FLEDGLING sponsors, Vernon Harmelink, Rene Garcia, and, of course, Mr.
Wood, who taught me not only biology and theater, but humility - the greatest
lesson of all. Byron, if you ever read this, I started a theatre company
in NYC a number of years back and we designed our own costumes, but didn't
want to put that in the program. I put you down as the designer, and you
have quite a career going now. I have since left the company, but C. Byron
Wood still designs most of the costumes.
Milt Sosnick is also forever in my heart and soul for always pushing me
academically. He knew how important the arts were to me, but never let
me do less than my best - if I did he would rip my head off. Milt also
was the man who helped me get choose and get into Northwestern University
and I will forever be grateful (God Bless). Barbara Goff, Vern Harmelink
& Harlene Mitchum (who didn't let me get away with anything substandard
either - Thanks) were my creative writing muses, Dan Mitchum (who did his
best to fill me in on what the acting profession would be like) gave me
the music, and Pat Saddlemire was the guardian of my heart and psyche.
To all of those teachers and to my friends and classmates I say, "Thank
you." I hope the years have been good to all of you.
was just browsing through the Wagner Homepage and thought I would add to
the Class of '80 list as it does not seem to be very well represented.
have to agree with the assessment of the class of '77 that those were the
best years of Wagner High, but I would like to add the class of '80 to
the classes of 77,78, and 79. I only attended my freshmen and sophomore
years there, but they had such an impact on me, that I never really felt
like I left in '78. I think the thing that made Wagner stand out from other
schools I attended was the sense of being treated with respect and trust
by teachers and pupils alike. We were given alot of freedom to come and
go without question. The staff treated us as individuals worthy of autonomy.
We were allowed to dress as we liked, spend our resource hours as we liked,
create and be in charge of our education. The learning atmosphere at Wagner
was rich and unstifled. This is why the alumni from this period have achieved
have not attended the reunions, but I have so wanted to. I seem always
to be in the wrong place when one occurs. However, I did go back to the
Philippines in 1990 and was there in 1991 when Mt. Pinutubo erupted. I
went back as a teacher and was able to reconnect with many of my former
teachers not as a pupil anymore, but as a peer. What an experience that
was. I wept for all that was lost as the volcano brought everything crashing
down upon us. I wept for the death of Wagner High School and all that it
had represented to me. I wept for all of the students both present and
former, who would never set foot in its hallowed halls again. I wept for
the demise of a great institution and the memories that will never leave
any of us. I have many great memories from Wagner, but the one overriding
is of the school itself and the sense of belonging to such an important
part of Wagner History.
Wow, it is amazing how we can go so quickly back in time when we write
about a particular period of our lives. To this day I still feel so connected
to Wagner High School and the people I knew there. I have only run into
a few by chance, but I feel through the periodic reunion newsletters we've
had, and now through this great homepage, that I could quickly resume relationships
that have been dormant for almost twenty years.
looking at the In Memoriam section, I would like to mention that Danny
Grant has also passed away, I believe around February of 1995. He was one
of my best friends at Clark. We first met at the Stables where we both
kept horses. It later turned out that we would live next door to each other
on base. Danny was probably best known for his lead roles in such plays
as Our Town and George M. Cohen to name a few. When I learned of his death,
I was so saddened that his was one of the friendships I had allowed to
lapse over the years. Life is short and nothing can ever be taken for granted.
Death so often reminds us of this. Well, let me get this off to you. Thank
you so much for this wonderful homepage. It allows us to maintain a connection
with a part of our history that has left an indelible mark on each of us.
Susie (Hobby) Helton
Class of 1980
From Johnnie Terry
remember standing in line to graduate, Rich Taft, giving the Valedictorian
speech, suddenly there was a great loud blast. Guess what? someone had
blown-up a bomb at the theater. I'll always remember that.