of '83 Reunion ----
By Arla Taylor Monday
of planning and anticipation, the
Class of 83 reached
another milestone in its life, the
20th year High School Reunion. Endless
e-mails, phone calls, and letters
searched out as many classmates as
Invitations were mailed and responses
counted. Flyers were posted, radio
and cable advertisements ran, and
contact information was quickly scribbled
any form of paper all over the city.
Hurricane Isabel blew in and complicated
last minute planning and Xeroxing
activities. Calendars were cleared,
hired, new outfits purchased, and
a crash diet or two were common activities
before the weekend of October 4th.
As the crowd gathered at the Richmond
Omni, unsure glances gave way to screams
of “Oh my Gosh!” and waves
of laughter. The cliques of youth fell
by the wayside as joy filled the room
with each hug. Memories were sparked
by Alumni books and great displays
of memorabilia. A special table honored
Patrice Foster and Oliver Stith for
their continuing service in the United
States Military. Another display remembered
the four Faculty members who have passed
away since graduation. Portraits with
spouses or groups of friends could
be taken. The many hors d’oeuvres’ and
Stir Fry bar were enjoyed for hours.
After a brief Welcome by Class President
Mary Pastore Bestafka, the members
of the Reunion Committee were introduced:
Angie Riggle Matthews, Darlene Gibson
Clavin, Anna Hurt Pope, Mary Pastore
Bruce, Willie Fobbs, James Bracey and
yours truly. Master of Ceremonies,
Willie Fobbs, then presented several
awards. Those included:
Revina Atkins Payette – first
check received in the Post Office Box
Eda Spivey Price – newest Mom (18 day old Patricia was
even in attendance)
David Wright – newest Dad
“A lot of you may dream about Rockets at your job, but
how many of you actually help test them?” asked Willie
as he presented Ron Olton the award for “ Classmate with
the most interesting Job”.
Many classmates received gifts in
honor of their 15 year or longer marriage.
(NO, we were not allowed to add up
Four couples were recognized for
their special “Classmate married
Thomas and Anna Hurt Pope
Ronnie and Pam Cash Robbins
John and Karen Kirkland Brooks
Brian and Susan Paciocco Pence
“Farthest Distance Traveled
to Attend” was award to Oliver
Stith, who flew in from Italy to attend.
Honorable mention was given to Doug
Liggons for driving in from Tennessee
with his 6 year old in the car.
But all agree the most special moment
of the evening was the standing ovation
as Liza Bruce was recognized as the “Classmate
who has overcome the most Challenges”.
Cheers, whistles, and applause filled
the room as eyes filled with tears.
Of that moment, Liza later commented, “I
was overwhelmed by the kindness and
support of my classmates. I feel so
grateful to have been able to celebrate
our 20th reunion with so many good
friends who were such an important
part of my life when we were in school.
The evening was more special than I
could have ever imagined.”
After a group picture of all the
classmates was snapped, the formal
program gave way to the true party.
The dance floor didn’t get a
rest once the DJ began his program.
The days of Sugar Hill Gang and Eye
of the Tiger were long forgotten as
The Cha Cha Slide filled the night.
Guests of the wedding reception in
the banquet room next door couldn’t
resist our fun and bailed out on the
bride and groom to party with the Springers.
After pushing the Omni to its limit
of 12 midnight, many left in groups
to continue the fun downtown, at home,
and even in the penthouse. “Everyone
just sparkled. I thought the whole
night exceeded my expectations in every
Jennie Aultman Marron.
Despite the late hours and hangovers,
a large crowd turned out for the Family
Picnic on Sunday at Dorey Park. As
the toddlers played catch, those classmates
with teenagers compared stories and
methods of torture for dealing with
kids who, strangely, sounded just like
the very classmate we were talking
to. During lunch, many enjoyed the
chance to catch up with those that
they missed the night before and exchange
phone numbers with promises made to “Do
this more often”. As the families
gathered to leave, each classmate seemed
to walk a little taller. The memories
of teenage awkwardness and self-doubt
were finally laid to rest. The realization
that we are all friends, spouses, parents,
employees, employers, homemakers, and
citizens together, all just trying
to get by, gave great comfort and self-confidence.
We are the Class of 83.
We are Springers.
See the photos from the Class of '83
20-year Reunion in the Yearbook >>