Members of the Columbus High School Class of 1967 took a trip down memory lane last weekend.
They visited their old stomping grounds on 25th Street, but the building carries a new name these days — and has since 1972, when it became Columbus North High School with the opening of Columbus East.
The school’s name change was just one difference for Columbus High School alumni who attended last weekend’s 50th class reunion. The physical building itself has changed much in the half century since the Class of 1967 graduated — just as their own hair, clothing and eyewear styles have done, as yearbooks reveal.
While the 35 classmates who attended the two-hour tour marveled at how much their high school had changed physically, more importantly their reunion was an opportunity to catch up with one another on what’s happened in their classmates’ lives, said Narda Godbey, a member of the Class of 1967 graduate who now lives in Indianapolis.
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“A lot of good times”
Godbey, who attended her 25th anniversary high school reunion, said it was important for her to attend her 50th reunion, too.
“It just means a lot, just a lot of good memories, a lot of good times,” Godbey said.
The reunion included a dinner gathering at the Harrison Lake Country Club on Saturday evening that drew about 200 people. A social gathering featuring graduates from the classes of 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968 and 1969 — including classmates two years younger and two years older — was also held Friday evening at the Garage Pub & Grill in downtown Columbus.
Hedy George, who retired from the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. in 2008 as Columbus North’s athletic director and now serves as director of the Bull Dog Alumni Association, led the group on Saturday’s school-wide tour.
George, who is also a graduate in the class of 1967, began the group’s visit with the school’s administrative offices and counseling center.
One of the group’s first stops was a look at the Alumni Hall of Fame, created in 2012, that recognizes distinguished Columbus High School/Columbus North graduates.
The wall honors 23 distinguished alumni — including last year’s honorees: race car driver Tony Stewart; former professional football player Dr. Terry R. Schmidt, who now provides dental care to veterans; Marty Newsom, whose work with the Girls Clubs of America movement improved the lives of countless young women; and the late Duane L. Barrows, whose work as a swim coach and teacher is still remembered around the state.
Steve Platt, a 1965 graduate of Columbus High School, took photos using a selfie-stick in various parts of the school to provide a visual memory of the tour, saying he enjoyed seeing all of the improvements. Platt and his wife Charlotte, who graduated in 1967, live in the St. Louis, Missouri area.
“It re-energizes your feelings about the future to see that the people behind us have taken the ball to improve things and that’s amazing,” he said. “It’s good to see the legacy has continued.”
While much of what has changed was mentioned in the tour, the alumni noted several traditions they once enjoyed that no longer exist — such as the homecoming dance that Columbus High School held annually, George said.
Instead, a combined prom of Columbus North, Columbus East and Columbus Signature Academy — New Tech high schools is held at The Commons each spring, she told the group.
“Things have come a long way,” George said. “It’s a big deal where parents and friends line up along Washington Street and watch (students) come in.”
A visit to the band area drew some loud cheers from current students as a welcome to the Class of 1967.
Current students were reviewing marching band videos when North band director Bill Stultz welcomed the visitors during the tour.
The band area is much larger than what 1967 graduate Susie Guth-Bennett said she remembered.
Guth-Bennett, who resides in Novi, Michigan, said she spent four years in band at Columbus High School and then participated in band at Purdue University for three years.
“It was the center of my life,” she said.
The group posed for a class photo at center court in North’s gymnasium, and then visited the Chick Newell Natatorium and the school library.
“It just brings back a lot of memories,” Guth-Bennett said. “It’s wonderful to see people you haven’t seen in a long time.”
“We’ve aged nicely”
Charlotte Platt said while many individuals in high school had their own group of friends, she was able to recognize many people she went to school with 50 years ago.
“I think we’ve aged really nice,” Platt said with a laugh. “It makes me feel so good that Columbus has taken such great care of the school.”
Platt also encouraged current North students to enjoy their high school careers.
“Focus on being yourself,” she said. “Focus on what you really want to do after high school. Don’t be afraid to try something new.”
Larry Black, who traveled to Columbus from Madison, Wisconsin, for the reunion, said he was enjoying sharing memories with former classmates and reconnecting with old friends, Black said.
“The friends that I met and the teachers I had really affected my life deeply,” Black said.
George also enjoyed being able to gather with her classmates and hopes to make the experience special for visitors who come back to visit the school.
“I think it’s fun to reminisce,” she said. “It’s a special time and I have a passion for continuing the history of Columbus High School/Columbus North,” George said.
Check out upcoming reunions planned for the classes of Columbus High School/Columbus North High School or Columbus East High School online.