JIM ROBEY was one of many Howard High School alumni at the school yesterday afternoon to help celebrate its 50th anniversary.
He sat on the stage with other graduates and local officials, waiting his turn to talk, as proclamations were issued and memories shared.
When he finally stepped to the microphone, a handful of audience members rose and said in unison: "Yeah, Class of '59." And the crowd burst into laughter.
Robey, who was elected Tuesday to a second term as county executive, did his official duty and issued a proclamation in honor of the school. But he also spoke as a graduate, taking the opportunity to talk to one of his former teachers, who was sitting in the auditorium.
"Mr. Lupe, remember that paper I promised you? I'll get it to you soon," Robey said.
"I never did get it," muttered Frank Lupashunski, better known as "Mr. Lupe" to the hundreds of students in his government and politics classes from 1952 to 1983.
The school's Golden Anniversary Jubilee attracted hundreds of past and present Howard High students, teachers and admirers. Proclamations from President Bush and Gov. Parris N. Glendening were read, while other officials - including state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick and Del. James E. Malone Jr., a District 12A Democrat also re-elected last week - extended their congratulations in person.
A "memory lane" was set up in the gym, with pictures, yearbooks, awards and other memorabilia on display from each decade. The display for the 1950s included the front page of the Nov. 6, 1952, Ellicott City Times, with a banner headline announcing "Howard High School Dedication This Friday."
When Howard High opened its doors in 1952, it was the first consolidated high school in the county, with 385 students from Elkridge, Ellicott City and Clarksville in grades 10 through 12. It now has 1,187 students, according to a history compiled by Mary Burke, Class of '54.
In a brief recap of the school's history, Burke spoke of several high points, including sports successes and the school's 1996 recognition as one of 266 Blue Ribbon Schools nationwide. After she spoke, a representative from each decade went to the microphone to share memories.
Marilyn Embrey, Class of '61, remembered when students who were caught smoking were sent to the office to face "the paddle."
Mary Feaga Smith, Class of '53, the first to graduate from Howard High, remembered circle skirts and ponytails and sock hops in the gym.
Her four children all graduated from Howard High School, she said, and five of her nine grandchildren are now Howard High graduates.
"I still get chills when I hear the school alma mater, which our class wrote 50 years ago," she said. "It still makes me cry."
New West Pointer
Congratulations to Eva Armanas, who recently was accepted into the U.S. Military Academy Class of 2006. Armanas, 19, graduated from Centennial High School last year and attended New Mexico Military Institute for one year.
Her parents, Edward and Donna Armanas of Woodstock, recently visited the school's campus in West Point, N.Y., for Plebe Parent weekend.
Centennial High School will be transformed into Dogpatch U.S.A. when the Centennial Players put on their fall performance of Li'l Abner.
The performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday in the school's auditorium. The cast for the musical performance includes Centennial High students and adult members of the community.
Featured players include Dennis Wood as Marryin' Sam, Nicole Pannullo as Daisy Mae, Andrew Kiracofe as Li'l Abner, Holly Pasciullo as Mammy Yokum, Glenn Babcock as Pappy Yokum, Basil Lambrose as General Bullmoose and Jim Gross as Earthquake McGoon.
The director is retired Centennial High School drama teacher Mo Dutterer, and the choreographer is Tina DeSimone of the Burn Brae Dinner Theater.
Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door. Groups of 20 or more can reserve seats for $7 each. Information or ticket reservations: 410-313-2856.
A good cause
Fifth-graders at Centennial Lane Elementary School are asking fellow pupils to donate coins to Johns Hopkins Hospital to help fight leukemia.
Annie Emery, Natalie Frick, Shannon Kennerly and Jennifer Lucht have placed collection boxes around the school.
The coin drive will last until Nov. 18, and then the money will be donated to the hospital.