East Syracuse Class of 1958 reunites, donates tree

Mr. Stanley Zamory, former principal at East Syracuse High School, would have been proud. The Class of 1958 met over the weekend to celebrate its 50th reunion and even went a step further. The graduates planted a red maple tree on the grounds of the former high school, now known as East Syracuse Elementary School on Kinne Street.

The tree, located behind the playground, will be large enough in a few years to provide some necessary shade for the children, said James Felber, assistant superintendent of Buildings and Grounds, to Marilynn Warner Arkerson, reunion co-chair, via email. He said he and his team found the "perfect spot" and planted it prior to the classmates' arrival on Aug. 16. The class dedicated the tree to the "students, faculty and staff of the original East Syracuse High School throughout the years," Warner Arkerson said.

Asked why high school reunions are so special to people, Joyce Lagana-Ralston of Canastota replied: "Because when we saw each other last night, it was just like we melted. And when we realized who was who, it was wonderful."

The 11-person committee began working towards their special weekend about 18 months ago.

"It has been so much fun and so rewarding," she said. "So many friendships have been rekindled and memories of past events talked about."

The small class, comprised of approximately 70 students at graduation time, gathered for an informal evening Friday night, followed by dinner at Traditions at the Links on Saturday, and a picnic on Sunday. For many who attended these functions, it was the first time in 50 years that they had seen each other.

"You'd never miss your 50th reunion," said Roland Werner who traveled from San Diego, Calif. to join his friends. He reasoned maturity and experience for the lack of recognition the first night, laughing while he spoke.

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