hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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October 25, 2012

Walnut Square School reunion truly hits home

Mike Conway was one terrific football player for the Hillies in his day.

He and his two brothers — Pat and Danny — comprised one of the more formidable family trios in Haverhill gridiron history.

Norman Shepherd became one of the top oral surgeons in the world while Ralph Grasso still maintains a prominent psychiatry practice in Boulder, Colorado.

Don White proceeded to Notre Dame after carving his niche in three Haverhill High sports and is often mentioned as the greatest Haverhill High athlete of all time after that 1955 undefeated football season. Two of his children graduated Harvard, another from Holy Cross and a fourth from Colby, all with strong student-athlete resumes.

John Ryan is still practicing law in the city. With his vast community interests, he’s helped shape his city into a mecca of respectability.

Mary Furber Raymond was a well-respected nurse in the Haverhill school system and still works part-time in that capacity.

So what do these individuals have in common? They are proud members of Walnut Square School’s Class of 1952, which conducted a 60th-year reunion last month in the city, drawing members from throughout the land.

One might argue this case as being a picayune affair, given its grammar school status and all. Quite the contrary, in fact. Yes, there were years to go before they received a high school diploma, but this particular school laid a foundation that led to many eminent livelihoods.

Keep in mind that back then, this was no four-year stand, then off to middle school. These students started in the first grade and remained here through grade eight, before venturing off to high school. The friends they got to meet became an extended family.

Seldom do you read about such reunions in the primary grades, given high school, college and graduate school reunions, military gatherings, business and other assemblies.

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