Dec. 4, 2013 — Graduates of the Hitchins High School Class of 1963 often reflect on the closeness they shared at the school.
After 50 years, the bonds of friendship between them have grown even stronger.
Members of the '63 class held their annual gathering last summer at Carter Caves State Resort Park where they commemorated their 50th anniversary.
The graduating class that year was comprised of 26 students, 22 of whom are still living.
A total of 15 former students attended the reunion, as well as class sponsor Wilma Mobley.
“Mrs. Mobley is very special to us. She's like part of our family and we always invite her to attend our reunions,” said Rella Duncan.
Mobley, now 81, served as a mentor for the class and also accompanied them on their senior class trip to Washington, D.C.
The members of the Class of '63 hold the reunions very dear to their hearts.
Take Philip Heaberlin, for example, who spent the better part of a year constructing artistic centerpieces and other decorations to give away as door prizes at the event.
In total, he fashioned 75 pieces of art themed in the school's colors.
“My hands shake so sometimes it took upwards of a week to complete one of the bigger pieces,” said Heaberlin.
The pieces are made out of recycled aluminum, mostly from soda cans, all of which are hand-cut to form the floral shapes. The most prominent design is that of the orchid, which is the class flower.
Members of the graduating class travel from throughout the region and from other states such as Georgia, Ohio and Indiana to take part each year.
“I thought I was going to have to whip someone during the Jeopardy game we played,” said Duncan, with a laugh.
“Not all of us played. Some of us just sat back and made snide remarks at each other,” added Heaberlin.
The constant jokes and banter back and forth between the longtime friends are prime indicators of the deep friendships that the class shares.
And all of the members believe is the reason the reunions are so well attended, even after 50 years.
“We elected the right people back then to be our leaders. They deserve a lot of the credit for helping keep us all together,” said Duncan.
Joe Lewis can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 286-4201.