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50 years later, Class of ’69 returns with a gift

50 years later, Class of ’69 returns with a gift

Class of 1969 reunion committee members visited Culver School on Nov. 25 to present a $1,500 donation for special education services. Present were (from left): Lorayne Anderson Russo, Ken Goodcase, Bill Johnson, Donna Partington Zeman, teacher Kim Perez, Tony Scipione, Bob Morrison and teacher Sharmai Huggins.

Five decades after graduation, a healthy contingent of what is now Culver School’s class of 1969 assembled recently to share memories and make a contribution to the school’s future.


Some 32 classmates gathered at Fairway Banquets in Niles on Saturday, Oct. 5 for their 50-year reunion. They were part of a graduating class of 87 at the school, then known as Niles Elementary School North.


At the time, District 71 had two buildings, the North and South schools. North was built in 1965 to accommodate growing enrollment. South School (the original Niles Elementary School), near the intersection of Milwaukee and Harlem avenues, underwent several expansions before it was closed in 1998. All district students then attended Culver, renamed in the 1980s for longtime superintendent Clarence E. Culver.


Bill Johnson, owner of Fantasy Amusement Co. in Prospect Heights, said a committee met regularly to locate graduates and organize the reunion. Besides the Oct. 5 dinner, attendees got a tour of Culver School led by Supt. John Kosirog the day before.


While the majority of attendees still live in the area or state, some came from as far away as Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri and Texas, Johnson said. According to organizers, 14 classmates have passed away.


Those attending did more than bring memories. From the dinner and other activities, the group raised $1,500 to donate to special education services at the school. Committee members presented the check when they visited the school again on Nov. 25.


The reunion committee included Lorayne Anderson Russo, Ken Goodcase, Bill Johnson, Dennis McEnerny, Terry Meisner, Bob Morrison, Donna Nietchmann Rirson, Donna Partington Zeman, and Tony Scipione. To read news coverage of the reunion, visit this link.