When the Kutztown Area High School class of ’63 recently celebrated their 50th reunion, they shared memories of a nostalgic past.
Classmates recalled the usual field trips, band activities, and basketball games. But one couple … now married more than 40 years… recalled being taken to the principal’s office for holding hands as they walked to the school bus. Another attendee remembered keeping his shotgun and ammo in his locker so he could go hunting for pheasants after school. Classmates noted that times have certainly changed.
The Class of ‘63 originally had 102 members and 90 remain, with about 60 of them attending the reunion held at C.J. Hummel’s in Lenhartsville. Including spouses, there were more than 100 attendees, some coming great distances… from California, North Carolina, Vermont, and several other states.
Some of the class members met before the reunion to recreate a first-grade class photo taken on the steps of the 1892 building on Whiteoak Street. Back in the early 1950s, most Kutztown Borough students of elementary age attended classes in that building, now the home of the Kutztown Area Historical Society. Other class members from the surrounding areas attended a variety of local schools.
Some attendees went to the “Lab School” for kindergarten through sixth grade. The Laboratory School was located in what is now the Stratton Administration Center on the KU campus. Others attended one- or two-room schools. Some attended Huff’s Church School, Eagle Point School, Bowers School, and Lyons School which all funneled into the new Maxatawny Elementary School, which opened in 1954. When the Greenwich-Lenhartsville Elementary School was completed in 1955, it accepted classmates who had been attending Christ’s School, Schucker’s School, Grimville School, and Center School. Finally, other classmates attended Bolich’s School, Mountain School, Heinley’s School, New Bethel School, Kempton School, and Stony Run School. These students lived in the Albany area. The consolidated Albany Elementary School opened in 1958.
When the new Kutztown Elementary School opened on Normal Avenue in 1955, the 1892 Building was converted for use as a junior high school. Classmates from all the outlying buildings joined the town kids to attend school there, crossing Whiteoak Street to the old high school (since demolished and replaced by homes) in sun, rain, or snow to use the cafeteria, gym, and library. They shared these facilities with the high school kids until the Class of ’63 classmates became high school students themselves and moved across the street. Finally, in 1961, the new high school was built on Trexler Avenue and classmates attended there for the last two years of their Kutztown education before going off to find employment, attend an institute of higher education, or join the armed forces.
At the reunion, members of the class of 1963 expressed their appreciation for the excellent education they received, despite all the moves from school to school. They treasure the friendships they made, and commented on the security they felt when attending these schools, despite the occasional shotgun in a locker.