Hanford High School Class of 1981
30 Year Reunion Recap
Written by Tracy Snyder Otterholt
Friday, July 22, 2011
Wine Tasting Tour
Hanford’s Class of 1981 kicked off their reunion weekend with a Winery Tour on Friday afternoon. After meeting in the Fred Meyer parking lot, exchanging hugs, catching up, taking the first pictures of the weekend, and organizing cars, they were off. The first destination was Kiona Vineyards, followed by High Tower Cellars, and then Tapteil Winery. It was a gorgeous afternoon; a perfect beginning to the weekend. Even though the samples of wine were plentiful, there were enough designated drivers to ensure the safe return for the evening event. *Note to all the other guys…Les Splattstoesser seemed to know the right place to be this afternoon!
Friday Night Social
As classmates arrived at the Shilo Inn, they quickly got over any nervousness as they realized that they did indeed recognize the faces of the people around them. It helped that the nametags had pictures, and large-size writing. After lots of mingling, catch-up, and appetizers, the classmates were rounded up for a group photo.
The evening continued with the drawing of raffle tickets. The lucky winners included Dave Hopkins, Jody Cearlock (twice!), Jennifer Meade, Ginny Newsom, and Darren Wheeler. It was a funny sight to watch everyone holding their tickets with arms outstretched far enough to see the small numbers in the low light of the room. I think a few people even pulled out a pair of cheater reading glasses! A special thanks to Jennifer Meade for illuminating the winning numbers with the ‘flashlight’ app on her iPhone so that Tracy Snyder could announce the drawn numbers.
The fun continued until past midnight…and for some into the wee hours of the morning. It was reported that several cigars turned to ash, and someone (who shall remain nameless, Paul) took an after-hours swim in the hotel pool. People are still wondering who the stranger was that had the "Dude" nametag.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Morning Fitness Class
Ginny Newsom started our day at 8:00 by introducing us to a form of exercise called ‘Bodyflow’. It was a grueling combination of yoga, tai chi, and Pilates. Top that off with the heat from the fitness center sauna, and we were working our tails off! Those brave enough to attend admitted to finding muscles they never knew they had.
Hanford '81 Fun Run
At 9:15, people gathered by the river for the Fun Run/Walk. After the official start, everyone headed north along the river. 1½ miles up, and 1½ miles back for the runners; ½ mile up and ½ mile back for the walkers. The first to cross the finish line was Curtis, the son of Bob Condotta. Close on his heels was Kristi Sorenson, the first ’81 Grad to finish the run with a time of around 26 minutes. But that wasn’t enough for Kristi, so she turned around and ran to catch up with those that chose to run, jog, walk, and chat. Third and Fourth place go to Nancy Newsom and Doug Coates respectively.
Everyone who crossed the finish line was rewarded with an edible medal called a Spudnut Donut! This was followed by a vein check from newly-graduated phlebotomist Robin Haney. (Congratulations Robin for graduating with honors!)
Hanford Classic Golf Tournament
The golf team consisted of four brave groups of four people. They endured the scorching heat and desert sun on the Horn Rapids Golf and Country Club oasis. One by one, the boys teed off and did their best to win the KP prizes set up by Stuart Hubbard.
The winners include:
Closest to the Pin: Mark Edison (Joye Dowdy’s husband)
Longest Drive: Greg Jimenez
Longest Putt: Jody Cearlock
Sportiest Golf Shorts: Les Splattstoesser (Okay…This was made up, but check out the photos and tell me it's wrong.)
This group just couldn’t resist returning to our old stomping grounds to see what changes had been made. Even after 30 years, the schoolgrounds were very familiar. Same streets; same parking lots; same tennis courts. But there has been major change to the buildings. Many have been completely torn down (the entire wing that had our classrooms and lockers; the entire elementary school building). And there were many new structures to replace the old.
Did you know that the Falcon Store is now big enough to walk in and shop in? (Remember the days of pushing and shoving to get to the front of the candy counter?) They even have a GESA Federal Credit Union branch inside.
A special thanks to Assistant Principal Tory Christensen for guiding us through the beautiful new school and letting our imaginations take us back to our favorite haunts: The Band Room (Kim Cummings), The Chemistry Lab (Tracy Snyder & Michelle Heffner), Cheerleading in the Gymnasium (Ginny and Nancy Newsom), and those who instinctively seemed to know where the back parking lot was, although all the old landmarks were gone!
Saturday Night Dinner, Dancing, and More
The second evening of fun began at 6:00 at the Shilo Inn’s International Ballroom III. People received their nametags and checked out the Memorabilia Board created by Kathy Kosiancic on their way into the room. Again, there was immediately a lot of mingling, catching up, laughing, smiling, reminiscing. Once everyone filtered in, Dave Sauressig gave a blessing for the food and for the opportunity for us all to share it together. There was a nice buffet, with a variety of salads, BBQ chicken and pulled pork sliders, beef brisket at the carving station, and warm fruit cobbler for dessert. After dinner, everyone gathered around as MCs Patty McCann and Les Splattstoesser took the stage. They gave recognition to the following:
- Joye Dowdy for organizing the Wine Tour
- Ginny Newsom for the Exercise Class
- Tracy Snyder for the ’81 Fun Run, and School Tour
- Stuart Hubbard for the Golf Tournament
- Kari Jacobs for her photography
- Kathy Kosiancic for assembling the Memorabilia Display
- Mike Peterson for the Slide Show
- Randy Otterholt for creating and maintaining the Hanford81 website.
- And all those on the Reunion Committee: Anne Gnoza, Joye Dowdy, Jennifer Ellis, Tracy Snyder, Les Splattstoesser, Patty McCann, Kristi Sorenson, and many others who helped pull the event together.
Next, Les and Patty announced the ballot winners of various categories:
Who Traveled the Furthest to get to the Reunion? Doug Coates. He won a set of travel toothbrushes for coming all the way from Abu Dhabi. Of course an honorable mention goes to Ginny Newsom for coming across the country from Virginia.
Who Lives the Closest to Hanford School? Seana Oldfield. She is a mere ½ mile away. Her prize was a world map so she may see that there are places outside of Richland.
Who has lived in the Most Places? There was a tie between two people with an amazing 12 locations each. The winners were Laura Dagle and Joe Morrison. Their prize was a roll of bubble wrap in preparation for their next moves. Anyone care to guess where? Laura and Joe, feel free to provide us with the answers to post. We can all imagine the list would be fascinating.
Who has the Most Children? Tamara Adams with an astounding count of NINE! Thankfully for her little body, she explained that they were of the Brady Bunch variety, but naturally she considers them all to be her own. Of course, it stands to reason that Tamara would also win for Who has the Most Grand Children (10), and Who has the Youngest Grand Child (6 months). Her prizes included a bottle of aspirin, a Proud Grandparent bumper sticker, and a photo Brag Book.
Who has the Youngest Child? Rob Carpenter arrived just in time to receive a new pacifier for his bouncing baby boy of 6 months. The prize was supposed to be a joke, but Rob was happy to have an extra pacifier on hand, with a shirt clip to boot!
Who has the Most Pets? Joye Dowdy. It would take more than two hands to count all the dogs, cats, horses and rabbits Joye shares her farm with. She listed 12 pets…but you know how rabbits are. It was probably 20 pets by the time the she came up to claim her prize of a pack of lint rollers
Who has been Married the Longest? Anne Gnoza and her dear husband Brian. They have 29 years of wedded bliss under their belts. Perhaps they can share the box of earplugs they won with Russ and Cheryl Wakeham that came in second with 28 years together.
Who are the Newlyweds? Doug and Kathy Coates. Pop the cork on the bottle of champagne and raise your glass in a toast to the honeymoon couple of just 1 and ½ years.
Who has been Married the Most Times? Lance Manthey takes the prize with four trips down the aisle. As he waved the Prenuptial Agreement he won in the air, he proudly announced, “Nobody likes a quitter!”
Who is the Least Changed? Tracy Snyder took the prize for that one, and promised to use the ‘Trendy Magazine’ she won to update herself before the next reunion. It has to be said that this category had the largest spread of winners because everyone still appears the same and/or acts the same. Right behind Tracy, the most votes went to Dave Hopkins and Joye Dowdy. Also in the running were Laura Dagle, Kathy Kosiancic, Cynthia Purcell, and John Schmale. Tracy says to the entire class, ‘Let’s never grow up, and keep our child-like enthusiasm for life.”
Who is the Most Changed? Mark Praetorious won this category with a landslide of votes. Les and Patty couldn’t help but tell the story about one of the reunion planning meetings where we were gathered around a table at Applebee’s and noticed this man pass by us a time or two. Finally this man approached the group and said, “I know who you are.” We all looked him over and were stumped. Even after he declared, “I’m Mark Praetorious,” Tracy Snyder demanded to see his driver’s license. His identity was confirmed. But Mark, don’t you dare use those Mr. Clean Erasers you won to change a thing. Now that we know who you are, we love you all the more!
Who has the most Hair? It was clear why Seana Oldfield won this category as she came to the front of the room with her long lush hair to retrieve her prize of a packet of barrettes. But just in case any of you are wondering who came in second place, it was John Schmale. (However, I’m not sure if that would be for ‘the most hair’ or for ‘the wildest hairdo’?)
Who has the Least Hair? There were only two names written on the ballots in this category. However, Lance Manthey ‘shined’ as the ultimate chrome-dome of the group. Les Splattstoesser was the other choice, but the fact that he sported a goatee could have been the reason the votes weren’t an exact even split. (Thank goodness for that, or we might have had to check for chest hair as the tie breaker!)
Once the last of the categories had been announced and the final winners of the raffle drawing had claimed their prizes, the lights dimmed and the slide show created by Mike Peterson began to roll. Special thanks go to Mike for digging up the old slides, putting in hours of scanning, and compiling them into this movie format. To view the slide show, click here.
After a well-deserved round of applause for our MC’s Patty McCann and Les Splattstoesser, DJ Snell took control and set us all to dancing the night away. Yes…yes we did dance to the YMCA song. No matter how much we’d like to deny it, the YMCA song was a 1981 chart hit!
The evening continued, filled with catching up with old friends, and conversing with new friends, and missing those people that weren’t able to attend. Kudos go to Russ Wakeham and Dave Hopkins for being the last ones to leave the dance floor before we had to turn out the lights. I know many of us barely had the energy to shuffle back to our rooms after kicking up our heels all night. But the treks home were made with smiles on our faces.
Slide Show by Michael Peterson
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Shelter #4 at Columbia Point Park provided almost enough shade for the many classmates and their families that braved the Tri-Cities heat. The kids kept cool by utilizing the squirt guns and Nerf balls for their water fights. A special thanks to Anne Gnoza’s husband Brian for being the most excellent grill master and making sure we had an endless supply of hotdogs to feast on. And everyone chilled when the Dairy Queen Dilly Bars arrived! (The sight of us all munching on ice cream bars still makes me light up with joy.)
As the clock neared 4:00 and the thermometer crept up to 100 degrees, final hugs and good-byes were made as we all left for our homes. But not without penciling in plans to get together with old and new friends sometime sooner than 10 years from now!
The next couple of days, there were a lot of comments on Facebook, in emails, text messages, and through phone conversations. It was obvious that this was a successful reunion! Lots of fun; lots of recalling old memories and creating new ones. See you again soon!
Group Photos, higher resolution for downloading
If you were unable to attend the reunion, or didn't get one at the big event, Kari (Jacobs) Cordle still has Music CDs available.
Facebook Group for the 30-year reunion: