EXETER — The hands of time were turned back 50 years when members of the 1968 graduating class of Pittston Area High School gathered to celebrate their golden jubilee anniversary Sept. 1 at Fox Hill Country Club.
The Class of ’68 was the second class to graduate from the district after schools from Avoca, Dupont, Duryea, Hughestown, Pittston, Yatesville, Jenkins Twp. and Pittston Twp. merged in fall 1966.
Known as the Class of Champions, the class holds the distinction of having championship teams during the ’67-’68 school year in football, basketball, baseball and the top district golf champion. “Our class to this date has had the most success in sports in the history of the district,” said Sal Licata, class president and reunion organizer.
According to Licata, 85 classmates out of approximately 367 who graduated attended the reunion. A memory table was set up at the reunion honoring over 55 deceased members.
“Personally, I’m relieved,” Licata said, a few days after the reunion was held. “All the work done finally arrived and everyone had a good time. I just got a message today from (classmate) Billy Brogna from Florida telling me what a great time he had.”
The attendees of the reunion received two gift bags, one from the PA class and one from classmate and former cheerleader, Janet Boyanoski Martin.
The official class gifts were coffee mugs with the Pittston Area logo and the saying, “Celebrating 50 years.” The other gift was two half dollar coins, one from 1968 and the second from 2018. “We stole the idea from the PA Class of 1967,” Licata said.
Martin’s gift bag contained items from the foundation she started 30 years ago named Angels in Africa. A native of Dupont, Martin created the foundation after a trip to Africa where she crossed paths with a village woman who had been banished from her tribe for various reasons.
Over the last 30 years, the foundation created a school and housing for 800 students, offering scholarships for advanced schooling.
According to Martin, she had not attended a high school class reunion in 30 years, attending only the 10th and 20th anniversary reunions. “It was really nice getting a chance to see, in some cases, people you haven’t seen in 50 years,” she said. “What really surprised me was how many classmates are deceased.
“I had forgotten how much I liked them (classmates) and enjoyed their company and, when I saw them at the reunion, it felt like no time had gone by and we picked up right were we left off,” Martin added, admitting she is now looking forward to the next class gathering.
Former cheerleader, Leona Mendelssohn, of Dallas, was happy to attend the reunion. “I’ve only been to one other reunion and I attended with my husband and he passed away, so it’s bitter/sweet to attend,” she said.
Mendelssohn recalled all the championship teams, including cheering at Shikellamy, for the school’s championship run in football when the temperature was below freezing.
“I was reluctant to come and I’m very glad I came,” she said.
“It worked out really well and the committee was very, very pleased,” Licata said. “It was just a first-class party.”
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