Milford High Indians return for another All-Class Reunion
This coming June 30, the former Milford High School athletic field on West Main Street will come alive again with “Indian” alumni, who will ‘pow-wow’ and ‘whoop it up’ one more time at another All-Class Reunion.
According to All-Class Reunion Committee members, MHS classmates from as far away as California, Arizona, Florida and even Germany have already signed up to attend the 2018 reunion, last held in June 2013 when more than 1,400 registered to attend. All proceeds from the All-Class Reunion go into a scholarship fund for area high school seniors.
Deb Franco Smith (Class of ’75) and Win Smith (Class of ’76) will again co-chair the event, reprising their roles for the 2013 event and overseeing the committee that has met a handful of times since November.
With the last graduating class year in 1983, it is no secret that the youngest Milford High graduates are now 52- and 53-years-old, and no one sitting around the All-Class Committee meeting table is kidding themselves, either, acknowledging that the clock is ticking.
Reflecting the fact that MHS grads are passing away by the scores every year and are not being replaced by new graduates, Deb, Win and committee members acknowledge that fewer and fewer grads are attending each succeeding all-class event, which was first held in 1983, the year Milford High closed, and attracted 10,000 enthusiastic attendees.
Despite that fact, if the prevailing trend holds true, Win Smith noted that more than 800 people are expected to register for the 2018 event.
Among those who have signed up via the online registration page at mhsallclass.com, are Patricia and Jonathan Jeffery of Elkton, Maryland.
Patricia Jeffery wrote on her online registration recently, “I was Pat Williams back in the day, Class of '68.
“I married my high school sweetheart, Jonathan Jeffery, also MHS Class of '68, and I taught English at Milford High from the fall of 1972 to the spring of 1975, when Jon and I moved to Delaware, where I taught and advised at the University of Delaware for 37 years. Jon was a reference librarian at the University of Delaware for 40 years until retiring a couple of years back.
“Both Deb Franco and Win Smith were my students and I was the assistant swim coach to chemistry teacher Angela McCann for our girls' swim team when I taught at MHS.”
As a student, Patricia said she “even swam with — well, practiced anyway — with our boys' swim team, which my future husband Jon was on, back in the late ‘60s under Coach Walt Shimchick.”
She added, “I still own the house in Woodmont where I grew up — my daughter is there now, and we visit Milford frequently as all our family are here,” including her brother, Tom Williams, Class of ’64, owner of The Williams Agency in Milford and an All-Class Committee member himself.
Another online registrant is Ann Broomell, Class of 1964, living in Medford, MA. Ann wrote recently, “I always enjoy these reunions. It is wonderful seeing friends from other classes. Thank you to the entire committee for all your effort to put it together.”
Another, Robert Arserio, is a MHS Class of 1967 member who now lives in The Villages, Florida. He wrote, “Our 50th reunion last October was great,” adding that, “I went in the Air Force in 1968 and moved around for 22 years.
“Seeing friends from long ago was awesome. With some it was like we just talked last week.” Arserio will be attending with his wife, Kim, and he called living at The Villages in Florida, “Disney for adults.”
So given that the youngest MHS alumni are now in their early 50s, it is fair to ask: How many more All-Class Reunions will there be?
Win Smith noted that 10 years after the first All-Class Reunion, the second event was held in 1993 with more than 7,000 MHS alumni attending. This translated to a net reduction of 30%.
That number was halved again by the next All-Class Reunion in 2003 with 3,500 attendees, he said.
At that time, organizers decided the reunion would be held every five years instead of every 10, and the 2008 event attracted 2,273 attendees, while the most recent event in 2013 saw just over 1,400.
These numbers prompted Smith to quip at the January committee meeting that “in just a decade or two, the All-Class Reunion might be held in this room,” Conference Room B of the Parsons Complex (aka Milford High), where the committee meeting was being held that evening.
At the time it closed in June 1983, Milford High School had existed for 141 years and was the first public high school to operate in the town, beginning in 1842.
The first classes were held in the old Town Hall located on the site of the present City Hall. The old Town Hall was destroyed by fire in 1915.
Prior to that in 1908, a new Milford High School building serving center of town grammar school and all high school students had relocated across the street to the large yellow stone building on West River Street, commonly known through the years as the Diane Toulson building and the “Yellow Building.”
In 1951, the “newest” Milford High School opened in what is today the Parsons Government Complex and served as the high school’s home until the 1983 closing.
In 1993, the Yellow Building was renovated after falling into disrepair and became the home of the non-profit River Park apartment complex for seniors and disabled citizens, which is overseen by a Board of Directors, the majority of whom are MHS grads. It will be open for tours during the morning of June 30.
For more information on the MHS All-Class Reunion, go to: mhsallclass.com, where registration forms can be printed and reservations made online.