By JOE JAROSZ
May 21, 2014
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – On Friday night, the most common, and overheard, phrase heard at the Kansas City Museum was, “Hey, you were in my class!”
On May 16 and 17th, the Northeast High School Alumni Association celebrated the high school’s centennial with, first a reunion at the Kansas City Museum, followed the next day by a neighborhood festival on the school grounds. Senator Paul LeVota gave the alumni association a proclamation during the morning of the festival.
The fun at the museum wasn’t just about catching up with former friends and classmates. The evening included carriage rides of the neighborhood, tours of the museum and memorabilia spread among the grounds on the museum. Mary Cincotta, Northeast High School class of 1969 graduate and one of the organizers, said the they were expecting up to as many as 700 people to attend the festivities at the museum.
Walk anywhere amongst the Northeast High School alumni on Friday and you would have caught stories about sporting events, classes and school events. Karole Zinger, class of 1962 graduate and alumni association president, said she believes one of the oldest attendee – John Heillman, 99, graduated in 1932 – was almost as old as the school. She added an area nursing home drove 10 alumni to the reception on Friday night.
Friday night’s reception wasn’t just attended by former students, but former teachers and administrators joined in the fun, as well. Judith Bradley, former English and reading teacher at Northeast High School, said what she remembers best about the school was that it was one of the most culturally diverse schools in the area.
“Everyone worked well together and I was impressed with the idea that this part of Kansas City was so culturally diverse,” Bradley said.
Stephen Brown, who served as principal from 1979 – 2001, said his first year as principal was the first year ninth grade students started attending the high school. He said, with a laugh, that was a fun first year. As principal, he always kept in mind that kids will be kids and said, for the most part, Northeast High School had good students.
“I will always appreciate the diversity through those years,” Brown said.
Carolyn and Dick Brooks, class of 1964, were high school sweethearts. Dick said the two of them had classes together and were friends before they started dating. The two were also part of the school newspaper team. As the business manager of the newspaper, Dick’s job was to “sell” subscriptions during classes. He said he came up with the idea of pairing Carolyn and he together, as a way to get to know her better. The rest, he said, is history.
The couple traveled from Evanston, Ill., specifically for the event, anxious to see old friends and classmates. Carolyn said in their time, friendships went beyond the grade level, as freshmen were friends with seniors.
“Everyone knew one another,” Carolyn said. “We really enjoyed our time there.”