hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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October 25, 2012

Walnut Square School reunion truly hits home

(Continued)

We’re talking about that structure at the corner of North Avenue and Main Street with the 114-year-old clock tower which serves as a beacon of strength to those who encounter it each day. That same school now has two kindergarten classes, three first grades and two second grades.

The weekend began with a school welcoming, complete with a huge banner on the building. Immediately, some 30 members were shown to the third floor of the school and feted to a scrumptious luncheon, courtesy of the PTO and its president, Lauren Towler.

Present were all the dedicated teachers at Walnut Square, including their iconic first-grade instructor Judith Reilly, along with Pam Carr, director of technology, and School Superintendent Jim Scully.

Leave it to Judy for salvaging pieces of the old slate roof with a printed replica of the school, which were presented as souvenirs.

The students demonstrated their appreciation through speech and song, certainly a grand highlight of this occasion.

“It was astonishing to see how little the physical plant has changed ... ,” said Conway, who made the trip from California. “If we had stayed much longer, it may have inspired nightmares from past fights in the coat rooms (same hooks even) and slides down the same banisters. The only real change is that right field is now filled with bright playground equipment,.” he said of the playground area where students once played ball.

Members wallowed in nostalgia, greeting the entire student-teacher population and visiting their former classrooms. Only one teacher remains alive from that era. She’s Frances Cotton Donovan, their seventh-grade instructor. But she didn’t go unnoticed. The members paid her a visit at the Wingate Nursing Home and presented her with a floral bouquet.

From there, off they went to John Ryan’s home on Lawrence Street for cocktails, then to dinner at Roma Restaurant with more reminiscing.

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