It’s Reunion Season


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Helen Hess Lowe (dark sweater) and her classmates from 1960

Fifty years ago this weekend, Jerry Graff and class officers Carl Geck, Helen Hess and Jim Citrano were settling into their final year at Verona High School. How the decades went by so fast is anybody’s guess, but they, and many of their former classmates will be back in Verona this weekend for the 50th reunion of the class of 1960.

Yes, it’s high school reunion season. But this year there’s a bit of a twist because the classes that are coming back for the milestones are all those that closed a decade: 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000. They are classes that shared many of the same teachers: There’s a very young George Stiefbold in the 1960 yearbook and a more seasoned coach in that of the class of 1980. They shared many of the same hallmarks of Verona: Bunky’s was an advertiser in the yearbooks for both 1960 and 1980. And, as is often the case in Verona, the classes share many of the same family names.

There’s one more similarity: More than ever, they are using technology to find and reunite their classmates well before they ever get into the banquet hall. The class of 1960 has a well-used Web site for its members, and Graff, who was one of the organizers of this weekend’s events, used e-mail extensively to reach attendees and gather photos, like the one from their last big reunion below.

Class of 1980 cheerleaders

Others have been using Internet searches and social networking sites to connect. Sam Armijos, who was president of the class of 1980, reconnected with classmate Barry Kolodkin through LinkedIn. Their “what ever happened to” musings led Steve Boyle to find the sad news of classmate Joe Cheu’s passing through Google. When Bobby Ball, also class of 1980, died earlier this year, Armijos sent an e-mail that wound up collecting the addresses of 130 classmates.

Armijos thinks all this technology helps reunions in other ways too. “We’ve read about each other on Facebook before we get to the reunion,” he says, “so we don’t have spend time catching up. We can talk about a lot of other things.” The class of 1980’s reunion will be at Il Tulipano in Cedar Grove on November 27 at 7:30 p.m. and if you haven’t yet RSVP’d to Armijos you can contact him or Jackie Nice Castellano, Sharon Citrano Licitra, Debbie Pacifico Keenan, Karen Hartke Cassel and Marlene DeCheser.

The class of 1960 will be the featured guests at the home Hillbillies football game against Newark Academy on Saturday at 1 p.m. It is also having an informal gathering at the Primavera Restaurant in the Wilshire Grand Hotel in West Orange on Friday evening, October 29, that is open to all VHS graduates, starting at 7 p.m.

Taking photos at your reunion? Send them to MyVeronaNJ!

Class of 1960, at their 40th reunion
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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected].


  1. The class of 1985 will be having their 25th reunion on Friday November 26th at Avenue Bistro. Anyone who has not responded can contact Joe Peda on facebook.


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