Class of ’61 in golden spotlight at WSHS All-School Reunion

June 4, 2011 6:33 am
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It is truly a “golden moment” each year when the annual West Seattle High School All-School Reunion spotlights the class that’s having its 50th reunion. Last night in the WSHS Theater, the curtain was opened to reveal all the 1961 alums you see above. Their celebration – which continues tonight at the Rainier Golf/Country Club – was onstage after the school’s principal had wrapped up her remarks expressing admiration for “the nation’s largest alumni association,” and before a round of honors including scholarships and new inductees to the WSHS Hall of Fame – details ahead:

It’s still a decade till current WSHS Alumni Association president Karen Seamens Dobbs gets her golden spotlight, as a 1971 alum. Last night, she opened the program with thanks for the many people who helped plan and carry out the annual event – from logistics to scholarship/Hall of Fame choices.

Those new Hall of Fame members, both honored posthumously, are 1934 graduate Mel Gangnes, who served as a captain in the Army Air Corps and received multiple medals for life-saving heroism in World War II, and 1939 graduate Patricia Feldman Noyes (known professionally as Patricia Harris), honored for her work in science and philanthropy, also celebrated for her photography (her biography notes that “her work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York).

The program was emceed by Gary Smith, Class of ’66:

Looking out over an audience spanning decades of school history, it might seem daunting to be a brand-new principal, addressing the crowd. But Ruth Medsker stepped out from behind the podium and told the story of how the West Seattle community – particularly the WSHS alums – have made her new role so appealing:

Finishing her first year as WSHS principal, Medsker also thanked the association for choosing “some bright, amazing kids” as scholarship recipents. This year, the program listed seven seniors receiving scholarships:

Lacey Ballard, going to Western Washington University, theater-production major
Lauren Jeglum, going to Seattle University, nursing major
Simone Machmiller, going to WSU, construction-product-manager major

Christian Carpio, going to UW, electrical-engineering major


Hannah Matalone, going to WSU, speech/language-pathology major

Haley Peterson, going to WSU, medical major

Other highlights from the All-School Reunion included the West Seattle Big Band (video clip to come) and the distribution of the annual reunion edition of the Chinook newspaper – this year, 32 pages, edited by Don Nokes (Class of ’67), including alumni stories, reunion announcements, and notes from some of the individual classes – most “senior” among them, the Class of ’42, whose Maury Nelson wrote that members meet monthly for lunch, but might consider something more formal to celebrate their 70th graduation anniversary next year.

(Speaking of graduations – this year’s WSHS commencement is 5 pm June 14th at Memorial Stadium downtown.)

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