Class of ’74 to celebrate its 50th anniversary at Alumni Banquet

By Rick Palsgrove, Groveport Editor

Groveport Madison High School in 1974.

Upon graduating from high school, we do not think about such things as our 50 year class reunion.

Instead, in our youth the thoughts are of the promise of the future ahead, adventures to come, and taking one’s place in the world.

All the while time rolls on relentlessly until suddenly it is 50 years later and with it are incorporated the joys and sorrows, accomplishments and failures, and excitement and boredom life brings.

Over these years some classmates remain close and some drift apart as life presents its choices and distances. But there always remains within the members of the same graduating class a little spark of shared experiences from the time of our youth in school.

So much so that when we meet up again decades later we easily reconnect with just a look, a word or two, and shared memories.

This year my graduating class, the Groveport Madison High School class of 1974, is celebrating its 50th year of graduation in two ways – at the annual Groveport Madison Alumni Banquet in May and at a class reunion in September.

Class of 1974’s 50th class reunion
The 50th Groveport Madison High School Class of 1974 Reunion will be held Sept. 14 (an Ohio State football bye week) at The Pointe on Main Street, 1192 Noe Bixby Road, Columbus, from 6-11 p.m. Register online at: https://forms.gle/eEmPxBpUFWnJ1HNR8
Cost is $35 per person. One can pay online or send a physical check.

Groveport Madison Alumni Banquet
The 130th annual Groveport Madison Alumni Banquet will be held on May 18 at 5 p.m. (registration at 4:30 p.m.), at Groveport Madison Middle School Central, 751 Main St., Groveport. This year’s honored class at the alumni banquet is my class, the class of 1974, celebrating its 50th anniversary. Dinners are $25 each. Reservations must be submitted to Groveport Madison Alumni Association, P.O. Box 382, Groveport, OH 43125. Reservations must be made no later than May 11 and will not be accepted after this date. There are no exceptions. Make checks payable to the Groveport Madison Alumni Association.

Also at the alumni banquet, the new Groveport Madison Alumni Hall of Fame member will be announced.

The Class of 1974
Now back to the class of 1974. We are “baby boomers” who came from all around the sprawling Groveport Madison school district – Berwick, Edgewater Park, Brice, Edwards Station, Blacklick Estates, Groveport, Obetz, the countryside, and other neighborhoods. We funneled through six different elementary schools till we reached junior high where we came together in the late 1960s to spend seventh and eighth grades in a new building being constructed along South Hamilton Road. This building became the high school in 1970-71 and remained under construction the entire time the class of 1974 spent there. It functioned as the high school until 2018 until it was demolished to make way for the current new high school.

It’s a strange feeling to outlive your high school – a school that was brand new in our youth and a structure that seemed so permanent – but we did. The classrooms, the halls, the cafeteria, the band room, and the gym, now are all gone, but we’re still here.

Our old high school on South Hamilton Road, was never beautiful with its beige brick and utilitarian, blocky, architectural style and windows that looked back at you blankly. (The rectangular windows also sort of look like the holes in old computer punch cards.) It was a building without ornamentation, without flourishes. Though it was a kind of ugly duckling, it was our ugly duckling.

It took decades for the trees in the barren looking front lawn of its early years to grow into the wonderful leafy shade givers they became before they had to be cut down for new construction. Likewise, it took years for the grass to take root and thicken on the playing fields behind the building.

The school had its quirks. Even when the building was new the clocks throughout the school often did not synch up, when they worked at all. Leaks squirted through the flat roof from the start. The parallel, two “main” hallways in the sprawling building were really long.

The gym was smaller than at most other high schools. But despite these quirks, academics, the arts, and athletics flourished there. The building is now a ghost that only appears in our personal and collective memories and in photos.

Those photos portray the energy and changes we experienced there as well as the joys, the sadness, and even the boredom. Moments matter and the moments shared among classmates remain imbedded in our memory.

Along with its sister school next door – Eastland Career Center – our high school was a no nonsense place to work and learn.

School buildings and alumni age together. Though our high school is gone, its alumni live on and continue to make their impact on the world even after 50 years.
In the end, a school is just a place. But it is a place that provides the common shared experience and bonds upon which we build our lives and community.

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