Preserving the Past While Building the Future: GGHS Alumni Reunion Picnic

65-IMG_8040The GGHS campus thrums with layers of rich history and achievements — it possesses a sort of unforgettable magic. With all of its school spirit, community involvement and campus haunts, the school is already a fantastic place to spend those four years of high school. Yet it is the people who truly bring life to the school, and why the GGHS alumni reunions are such a success.

On June 13, the GGHS Alumni Association held the All Class Reunion and Picnic, an event with a fantastic turnout of over 500 people. Its theme, “Preserving the Past While Building the Future” blended the treasured history of the school with the exciting promise of modernization and the future. It was held right on the GGHS campus, from eleven o’ clock in the morning until three in the afternoon. Alumni from almost all classes attended, including some from classes as early as 1941, and enjoyed a lunch, social breaks, performances from the school’s band and cheer, raffles, and introductions from the Alumni Class Decades.

“There are about five hundred people who attend every year, and each year it grows.” says former GGHSAA president Marshall Banderburg. “There are association meetings once a month, and the whole event takes about two to three months to plan.”

The outside wall of the LMC was draped in large sheets of paper for each decade, spanning from the 1930s to the 2000s. Alumni would sign their name and their graduation year, and by the closing of the event, nearly every sheet was full. One notable signature was Mayor Bao, class of 1990.

Not only was there the sign-in wall, but there were also booths selling old GGHS yearbooks and memorabilia. Trophies from years ago were given away for free to those who wanted them. Activities included a free photo booth provided by Minh Ho, Class of 2001, complete with silly props, and a DJ booth ran by DJ Gummo, otherwise known as Josh McIntosh, a graduate from the Class of 1991.

Inside the Heritage Hall, old marching band uniforms were on display amongst the regular glass showcases of memories and trinkets from decades past. In Room E6, yearbooks from 1923 to 2015 were laid out upon long rows of desks for attendees to come and look through.

Check-in began at 11 o’clock, and fifteen minutes later the Alumni association delivered its welcome and the Pledge of Allegiance. The Alumni Association delivered its general announcements, and then everyone in attendance enjoyed social hour and lunch.

There were lunch boxes catered by Kaye’s Kitchen on Main Street, as well as various cookies. The event also saw special performances from the current GGHS band and cheer, who blew away the audience with their talent.

There were two raffles including the highly anticipated “Wild & Crazy” Raffle. Prizes consisted of  baskets of goodies from each class, containing items such as GGHS memorabilia, gift cards, Angels gear, food, and movie tickets. The air was filled with excitement as people checked their tickets as the numbers were announced,  and every now and then a thrilled cry broke the silence of anticipation.

Alumni from all different classes were able to meet and mingle, and reminisce over their time at Garden Grove High School. This community spirit shined brightest at the very closing of the event, where the GGHS choir led everyone in singing the Alma Mater, a key part of Argo history for decades.

Not only was it a time to honor the past, but it was also a time to look to the future. As for this year’s seniors and upcoming graduates, alumni had some words of wisdom to share. Kathy Cantu, Class of 1965, says, “Just keep working hard, get a higher education than just high school, and just enjoy life.”

“If you’re married, make sure you kiss your wife good morning and good night.” Ken Reed, former GGHSAA president and Class of 1954 adds. “If you’re not married, be serious about your education.”

Mr. Reed also encourages Alumni to attend the reunions, saying, “These events are a lot of fun. I’ve helped out in these since the first one in ‘97. Til about seven years ago, the organization was run by all classes from the 50s. Now we’re getting people from the 60s and 70s.”

The traditions of the GGHS Alumni are being passed down from class to class, as well as the history and some of the school’s treasured memories. It is these events that are what help preserve such a unique and powerful past for future Argos. Thank you to everyone who attended and helped organize the reunion!