Blazers from the past come back to relive old memories and make new ones
On a chilly Saturday morning, Blazer alumni found themselves making their way to 313 Wayne Ave: the site of the 'old Blair,' which housed Blair for 63 years, from 1935 to 1998. The campus now houses Sligo Creek Elementary School and Silver Spring International Middle School. The Blair graduates entered, looking around at the hallways that they had traversed in their teenage years.
Joe Sperling, also from the class of 1964, remembers high school as some of the best years of his life. "It was just wonderful. My friends were my favorite part, but the annual shows were grand as well," he commented. "Going to Blair was like living in American Graffiti": the popular 1973 George Lucas film about a couple of high school graduates spending one last night together before heading off to college. However, Sperling remembered a terrible event that brought the school together in mourning: President Kennedy's assassination. "We were just living these idyllic years, and then suddenly, dark, painful reality sets in. It shocked us: assassinations were academic to us, something you learn about in history books, but suddenly we were living it," Sperling recollected, his voice grave. "Teachers and students alike were crying together. And we were dismissed early in the afternoon." Despite that time of turmoil, Sperling felt that everyone went through that "normal adolescent angst of getting pimples, having bad hair and being a geek, but despite all that, having a great time." Sperling, now an insurance broker, practiced law for 16 years, and worked at a law firm with another Blair graduate present at the reunion: Victoria "Pinkey" Crutchfield.
Pinkey Crutchfield was volunteering at the front desk at the Wayne Avenue event. From the graduating class of 1981, she was an avid basketball player, starting for both JV and varsity. Being on the basketball team, Crutchfield recalled, was one of the best parts of high school, especially since her team won regionals. "It was a good team that liked playing basketball," Crutchfield stated proudly. Her favorite part of her graduating class was their integrated nature. "Nerds, jocks, jockettes, band members, artsy people – we all got along. Everybody listened to the same music. Watched the same shows. It was really like a brother- and sisterhood."
As the event drew to a close, the alumni made their way to the current Blair campus on University Boulevard to check out the current community of students.
At the current Blair site, displays that showcased the most prominent aspects of Blair today lined the sides of Blair Boulevard. Alumni strolled down, noting how much the Blair student community has changed and grown.
Sarah Hart, the Organic Chemistry teacher at Blair, ran the first display, which sold creatively designed car license plate frames to raise money for the STEM murals on the third floor. Staff writers from the print edition of Silver Chips, who had on display both copies of the recently published paper and old Silver Chips issues from the 80s, manned the next table. The next few exhibits included a display for Sankofa, Gap Buster, the League of United Latin American Students and the Green Club.
Down the hallway in the gym were tables set up with memorabilia such as old newspapers, yearbooks and pictures from different graduating years. Two brothers, Jim and Bill Corey, from the graduating classes of 1974 and 1975 respectively, noted their amazement at the age some of the memorabilia could be dated to. "There's a good deal here from before my time. Things from the 30s and 40s. Whoever put this together did a great job," The older of the brothers stated.
Blair Principal Renay Johnson mirrored his sentiments. "I'm very pleased. This event celebrates 80 years of education," Johnson stated. She also connected the alumnus' visit to its impact on current students at Blair. "Current Blazers realize that there's a lot of value in older generations," she explained. "Our Blazers have a lot they can learn from Blair alumni."
Divya Rajagopal. Hi! My name is Divya Rajagopal. I'm a junior and I love writing. I enjoy watching Suits and How I Met Your Mother and listening to Coldplay. I play tennis on my school team and ski in the winter. More »