Then and Now: a Ramapo Retrospective

Ramapo alumni from the class of 1960 travelled across the country to collectively celebrate their 75th birthdays together. Excitement and love filled the air as twenty-three adults scattered the front lawn of Ramapo High school, reminiscing about their time as students. Although spirits were high, members of the class also gathered to commemorate the death of a former classmate, Bruce Geata. In honor of Bruce and the class of 1960, a tree was planted in the front courtyard as a gift to the current student body. Alumni member John Harkins spoke about the significance of the tree, “Often times trees represent life, but to us it symbolizes growth”. A sugar maple was chosen because of the localness it illustrates. It is a visible symbol that is expected to grow about 70 feet high and 50 feet across. Principle Smith joined the ceremony, as he read the poem ‘Trees’ by Joyce Kilmer. As this gift was unveiled everyone began chattering about their experiences at Ramapo. Chuck O’ Brien, a graduate of ‘59, described the importance of the students from 1960, “ They were the first class to fully graduate from Ramapo High School. I only attended this school for three years because it was still under construction.” Georgia Hoyer a member from the class of 1960 explained how they became the first four-year graduating students, “When I was a freshman, Ramapo was still under construction, it was suppose to be ready for the incoming students but there was a steel strike going on so there was no progress being made.” During construction students who were suppose to attend Ramapo were placed in night school at Eastern Christian from three to eight. The student body consisted of 400 people with outstanding spirit for their brand new school. O’Brien described the Principal, David T. Ross, as an extraordinary educator, along with the rest of the administration. They reminisced on their time spent in Senior Commons, which had large couches in the center of the room with a fireplace on the wall. The alumni chose Ramapo as their meeting ground out of respect for its significance in their lives. By returning they were able to witness Ramapo’s development into a place of opportunity and spectacular education.

 

By: Sara Williams ’18

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