SWEDESBORO — On Oct. 29, Swedesboro High School held its 30th, and final, All-Class Reunion at the Holiday Inn, Logan Township.

For those who may not be aware, there once was a Swedesboro High School. In January 1923, the school first opened. June 1924 saw the first graduating class with 19 members. Forty years later, June 12, 1963 saw the final graduating class with 71 members.

Lew Zarfoss, Ben DeAngelis, Cathy DeAngelis, Carolyn Slusar Dupper, Bill Dupper

There was over 40 years of educating students from Swedesboro, Woolwich Township, Logan Township and East Greenwich Township which joined the student body in the fall of 1931. There was a total of 1,729 graduates.

The first All-Class Reunion for Swedesboro High School was held on Nov. 28, 1991.  Jack Scott, Class of 1949, gathered a group of former students to help him plan this big event.

That first reunion, held at Auletto’s, saw close to 600 in attendance including many teachers and at least one representative from every class from 1924 through 1963.  Jack hosted the annual reunions until his passing.

Reunions continued until the pandemic and were paused in 2020 and 2021.  Resuming in 2022, classmates once again were able to meet and share memories.

With the loss of so many of our classmates and teachers, the current Reunion Committee (Carolyn Slusar Dupper, Marvin Dare, Frank Pennell, Milt Leap, Carol Thompson Gahrs and Donna Pennell DeForrest) made the difficult decision to make this year’s reunion the last one as it would commemorate with the 100th anniversary of the opening of Swedesboro High School.

Lorraine Marsh Boker, Nancy Hollenack Elliott, Susan Kitchen Frank, Elaine Barber Matteo, Edie Auten Rohrman

We welcomed a much smaller group of 123 guests. We were pleased that this group included two members of the class of 1943, Rose Musumeci and Minerva Owen Ward, and one member of the class of 1944, Leslie Viereck, Jr.

We also were able to welcome two of our teachers, Helene Stanfield Zinzarella who taught French and History from 1952 to 1957 and Anthony Petrongolo who taught Biology, Chemistry and Physics from 1951-53 and returned 1956-1961.

Teachers Anthony Petrongolo and Helene Stanfield Zinzarella

Included in our celebration were displays of memorabilia including championship trophies, sports uniforms, yearbooks, issues of the school newspaper (Hi-Swede) established by the Class of 1931, and many class photos.  The Reunion Committee members thank the Swedesboro-Woolwich Historical Society, particularly Lois Stanley, for allowing us access to gather these items for display.

Sam Casella, Joe Nicolosi, Charles Ragonese

Special awards were given to our attending teachers and various classmates (oldest attending, first to respond, and traveled furthest to attend). Door prizes were donated by the following local businesses:  Damask’s Candy, Heritage’s Dairy Store, Swedesboro Hardware, Swedesboro Pastry Shoppe, Swedesboro Diner, Pat’s Pizza, Tribeca Hair Salon, Shop Rite, Latteria Ice Cream, Angels Community Outreach, Flowers by Dena, and Petals and Paints Florist. Private contributors also donated gift cards from AMC Theater and Wawa.

The local Philadelphia ABC television station filmed a segment about the reunion and aired it on that Sunday night’s 11 p.m. local news.

Preceding Sunday’s All-Class Reunion, a tour of the old Swedesboro High School (now “repurposed” as the Walter Hill School) was held on Oct. 28. Many former students attended the tour and shared memories of the school and their teachers and marveled at the changes in the old high school that now serves a much younger, 6th grade only, student body.

Thank you to the administration and staff members of the Walter Hill School for their assistance in making the tour take place.

A great time was had by all who attended the All-Class Reunion, and many expressed disappointment in the ending of the annual event.  We all come away with fond memories of our small-town school and the wonderful times we shared.

A quote from the Class of 1963’s yearbook: “For Swedesboro High School, there is no posterity save the memories harbored in the hearts of her alumni.”

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July 19, 2024, 2:25 pm
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