Vicky Slaight, Class of 1978 Reunion committee member, holds her 1978 yearbook in the halls of what used to be Moffat County High School. The building now is Craig Middle School.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Vicky Slaight, Class of 1978 Reunion committee member, holds her 1978 yearbook in the halls of what used to be Moffat County High School. The building now is Craig Middle School.

High school reunion organizers look back, ahead

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If you go

What: Moffat County High School Class of 1978 organizational meeting for 30-year reunion

When: 7 p.m. April 29

Where: Craig Fire/Rescue Station, 419 Yampa Ave.

For more information, call 824-3532

— Children going to college, grandchildren and, for some people, a few gray hairs.

And memories.

They're what seven 1978 graduates of Moffat County High School said they have in common.

The group held its first meeting Tuesday at the Craig Fire/Rescue Station to plan a 30-year class reunion. While the group discussed details of the get-together, they talked about their families, their careers and their lives.

"Where have you been?" Reneta Kawcak asked Vicky Slaight. "I haven't seen you in forever."

Similar conversations began as reunion organizers trickle into the room.

This isn't the first time the organizers have met since they left high school, diplomas in hand.

"We all kind of see each other at the grocery store, the meat plant and downtown," Kawcak said.

If anything, time has set the barrier among these and other '78 graduates.

Although they may greet each other in passing, these seven agree that time's passage warrants a longer, more formal gathering.

Planning for that event takes time, effort and a little luck, reunion organizers said.

Six of the seven - Kawcak, Slaight, Dan Bingham, Dennis Jones, Billy Nicholson and Greg Knez - have helped organize past reunions, Kawcak said.

Chet Acord is new to the group.

"I never made it to the 10th or 20th" reunions, he said, adding that he made a point to attend the 30-year event.

In the coming weeks, the seven must set a date and time for the reunion and secure a meeting place. The group plans to meet again later in the month to get more feedback from other classmates, Jones said.

Reunion organizers also must find their classmates, some of whom moved out of the area long ago.

"It's hardest to find people" in the reuniting class, Bingham said.

Once classmates are located, he added, planning the event usually gets easier.

E-mail eases the process, he said.

Some organizers still plan on word-of-mouth to help them with their task.

"It's a domino effect," Kawcak said. "Some friends keep up with each other" and spread the word.

Sometimes, Bingham said, class members have called about the reunion before organizers could call them.

Not all details surrounding reunion planning are as effortless as picking up an unexpected phone call.

Getting people involved who still live in Craig can be as challenging as finding classmates who live out of the area, they said.

"That's what's disappointing," Kawcak said. "People who live here (in Craig) aren't here," she said, looking around the room.

And reunions sometimes include remembering classmates who have died.

"We've had a couple classmates that passed away," Kawcak said. "We do pass the word on (because) some classmates don't realize."

Still, reunion organizers believe their work will pay off, both for them and their classmates.

In one word, Kawcak summed up her motivation for wanting to reunite with her class: camaraderie.

"I think its fun just to see where people have gone with their lives," she said.

Reunion organizers also believe the gathering can help classmates move past negative high school experiences.

"I had a great time in high school," Kawcak said.

But, that may not be true for other classmates, she said.

Knez said he recommends high school alumni to go to their class reunions, "just to see that life goes on."

Bingham agreed.

"The older we get," he said, "the little cliques fold over.

"I think there's such a competition when you're 18," he said. "You have to make such a big swath at that age."

Now, however, Bingham thinks things are different.

"There's a change in how we react to people," he said. "We're in leadership roles now. We spent our whole lives trying to get to (this) point. We're comfortable with where we area and what we're doing."

Bridget Manley can be reached at 875-1795 or bmanley@craigdailypress.com

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