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Bayside residents should celebrate 75th anniversary of high school

An open letter to Judy Tarlo, former principal of Bayside High School:

On behalf of the more than 250 participants in the 50-year reunion for the classes of 1957-59, I want to thank you for your help with our reunion 27 weeks ago. The alumni who attended were pleased to see the present school in session and with the opportunity to return to a Night of Music, with its nostalgia from a half-century ago. We are sorry you and your husband were unable to attend.

In talking subsequently with key members of the alumni association and the Bayside civic community, and noting that Bayside High School will be 75 on March 16, 2011, I propose a school-alumni-community celebration, similar to the 50-year celebration in 1986, which involved several thousand people.

Without a functioning alumni organization at that time, those who planned the 50-year celebration located more than 4,500 alumni, many of whom participated. Using that list five years later, we then started the B.H.S. New Alumni Association. We now have six times as many listings — 27,000-plus alumni from 1936-2003 — which can be used to start a larger celebration for the 75th anniversary, if you would be interested.

The New Alumni Association would like to help sponsor such a series of events and by a vote so will the East Bayside Homeowners Association, which provided seed money for the 50th anniversary two-and-a-half decades ago. That was something the then-city Board of Education would not do then; it is unlikely the city Department of Education will do so now.

As for the copy of the 50th anniversary program I gave you, the 50-year events included a parade from Bell Boulevard, school tours, use of O'Connor Park, etc., ending with a buffet dinner for 1,400 people at Terrace on the Park (marred by speeches from politicians and Board of Education officials).

It is fondly remembered by local residents today, although most faculty have retired since then. Ads in the journal and dinner tickets were used to provide most of the funding needed back then.

What I am suggesting is a two-year planning stage involving the school, alumni, EBHA, business groups and service organizations to promote Bayside High School.

Events could be spread out over the entire 2010-11 school year and include an expanded Night of Music, art show and other current student activities, bringing in the whole local community.

Of major help in 1986 was the Bayside Times, whose then-publisher was a 1944 graduate. I would hope that that local paper — and perhaps others — could give similar help to Bayside High School once again. To get the ball rolling on the 75th anniversary celebration, I am asking for a meeting with you and key staff members, alumni and civic and community group representatives.

Please let me know if you are interested in this proposal.

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