Alumni celebrate reunion

Judy Crume laughed aloud with friends Saturday as she recalled cramming into a classic Volkswagen beetle with 10 other classmates for lunch at a local restaurant while in high school.

Christina Calloway: Portales News-Tribune

Members of the Portales High School Class of 1962 met Saturday for a 50-year reunion at the Memorial Building.

Christina Calloway: Portales News-Tribune

The Portales High School class of 1962 enjoyed hamburgers and sharing memories Saturday at the Memorial Building.

Christina Calloway: Portales News-Tribune

Wiley Teel of Milnesand writes down contact information in a guest book so that he can stay in touch with his fellow classmates from the Portales High School class of 1962.

Crume and her classmates were just as joyous as they were when they spent their last year together as the Portales High School Class of 1962.

The tight-knit group shared laughter and memories at their 50th high school reunion at the Portales Memorial Building.

"We learned to be resilient, that's what we have learned in the past 50 years," Crume said.

She and friends tossed "do you remembers" back and forth. They all agree that they were a fun class and it couldn't have been any better than it was.

"The best memory was just the friendship this class had," said Carol Renee Modrall, owner of restaurant in Carlsbad.

Modrall said this was the first formal reunion she's attended with this group while pointing out names in her senior yearbook of people she has never forgotten.

"It's been 50 years and it's like we've never been apart," Modrall said about some of the conversations she'd had with classmates.

According to reunion organizers, former classmates traveled from across the U.S. including Texas, Illinois, Ohio, South Carolina and New York.

Organizers added that of the class of 117, there were at least 10 couples still together from high school.

Of the 117, organizers said they can account for 27 students who have died.

Former PHS speech and drama teacher Donald J. Lacey was thrilled to see his students at the reunion and that feeling was returned from his students, who said he was one of their favorite teachers.

"With age comes maturity and I think most of (his former students) here seemed to have weathered the times pretty good," said the 84-year-old retired educator.

His former students enjoyed catching up with their teacher.

"He was the best teacher I had and I was a I shy guy," said Jim Dickson, a pilot from Florida.

Dickson said Lacey helped him become more confident in his speech class.

James Simnacher of Clovis is now Lacey's eye doctor but remembers when Lacey called the shots.

"He was tough and smart, he could outsmart all of us," Simnacher joked.

Gay Su Pinnell said her family has left the area but the bond of her class was strong enough to bring her back.

"These reunions are the only thing I come back for," said Pinnell, an educator in Columbus, Ohio.

Pinnell remembers when her classmates used to move her vehicle to odd locations as a joke.

"I would come out from class and it would be up on a lawn," Pinnell said.

She also recalls acting in Lacey's plays.

"He was wonderful at creating good drama," she said. "We just had really good times."

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