Odessa graduates celebrate 55 year reunion
ODESSA—For many Odessa Central School class of 1955 graduates, the 55th year reunion, held last Friday and Saturday, was a celebration not to be missed.
While the ‘55 graduating class has been holding reunions every five years, this 55 year reunion attracted many graduates who hadn’t been back to the area in a long while. It was the first reunion Carol Anne Clark attended, driving in from North Carolina
“I haven’t been back since 1955. It was interesting to see who you recognized and who you don’t,” she said, adding there are many she didn’t recognize at first.
“I wouldn’t miss this for anything,” said Sandra Cunningham, who came from Ohio with her daughter and granddaughter for the reunion.
The graduating class had 63 people in it, with over 50 people attending the two day reunion. On Friday, Aug. 27, graduates toured the Odessa-Montour school, and then later had dinner. Two former teachers, Geraldine Goodnow and Jack Davis, were guests of honor. The next day, the former classmates had lunch and took a boat cruise at Captain Bill’s.
Marianne Martin O’Rourke explained that when they graduated, it wasn’t Odessa-Montour. She explained, “it was just Odessa high school then.” O’Rourke added she has brought an old yearbook to every class reunion.
She explained one unique thing about the class of 1955, was that they had around seven teachers who were also parents to students in the grade. Her own father, Charlie Martin, was honored by having the school’s football field named after him.
“Charlie Martin was loved by all,” said Ann Wood, fellow classmate.
While O’Rourke’s last name is no longer Martin, she added everyone has been calling each other by their maiden names. She explained, “we’re not using our married names.”
The person who came the farthest for the reunion was also one of the organizers: Ginny Donnelly Belba. She said that after the last reunion, the job fell to her, even though she lives on the west coast. She was helped by Lois Halpin Sprague, who still lives in the area. Sprague said she worked with the school district to arrange the tour, which happened despite construction still taking place on the building.
“We got to see enough of the old school we were familiar with,” said Belba.
“We were tripping over construction,” said Pat Clayson Couch. She added, “what is being done is great for the district and the kids.”
She was there with husband, and fellow classmate, Tom Couch. They came from Pennsylvania, but have children and grandchildren in the area.
Joan Brown Farrington also came from the area, Hector, but only moved back here recently. She said she lived in California for around 20 years.
“It’s amazing you live here and not see other graduates still in the area,” Farrington said.
“It’s good to see classmates,” said Fred Todd, who now lives in Watkins Glen. “A lot of people came from way, way out of town.”
And now, instead of in five years, the class of 1955 will hold its next reunion sooner.