By Sandra Abdelmalak/Garden Grove Journal
Returning to their alma mater 60 years after graduating from Garden Grove High School, the class of 1952 gathered with their fellow Argonauts from across the decades to celebrate their annual class reunion. The reunion, with a tour of the campus on Friday and a picnic on Saturday, was hosted by the Alumni Association for the 15th consecutive year.
“I think people enjoy seeing their old friends from when they were kids,” said President of the Alumni Association, Charles “Chuck” Lake, from the class of 1968. “You can see when you’re here how hard it is for us to announce anything because everyone’s so interested in talking to everybody. They just want to get together and relive their fun memories.”
GGHS first opened in September of 1921 and moved to its current loca
tion on Stanford Avenue in 1923. The school’s facilities continued to expand after its opening and many of its buildings were remodeled in the 60s. Once the only school in the district, GGHS is now one among seven other high schools in what is now the Garden Grove Unified School District.
“This building wasn’t here,” said Judie Reed, from the class of ‘55, as she pointed at the front of the school. “This was a lawn. We sat out there and had lunch; all the couples and the single friends would all sit there.”
Judie and her husband, Ken Reed, were among many other married couples at the reunion who were high school sweethearts.
“When I became a freshman, he was a sophomore and he asked me to the Farmer’s Ball,” said Judie Reed. “It was in the fall and we had haybales in the multipurpose room. After that we went steady off and on all the way through school.”
Once they signed in and received their name tags, the returning Argonauts had a chance to take pictures with one another in a photo booth, purchase GGHS paraphernalia, walk through the museum and participate in the 50-50 raffle. Along with socializing with each other, the returning graduates were also encouraged to sign their names and years onto the decade board so that everyone could look up which of their friends had made it to the reunion. “It was kind of sad to hear the list of all the ones that have gone on,” said Margaret Gutierrez, from the class of ‘52.
Attending the reunion with her old high school clique, Gutierrez and her friends shared some of the things they felt had changed in education standards in Garden Grove since they graduated.
“Back then the women were not looked at as the men were,” said Justine Carroll. “Teachers didn’t encourage you to go to college. In fact they expected a lot of people not to go to college at that time.”
“The girls were encouraged to do cooking and sewing and the guys were encouraged to do agriculture” said Mary Flores.
“The girls, we had sewing and cooking, and we wanted to do wood-shop,” said Blandina Hernandez. “And they said, ‘No, no, no. Girls no.’ But we rebelled and senior year we got to do wood-shop. I even made a couple of tables.”
Although many things have changed at GGHS since then, the alumni return year after year to reminisce with one another and share new memories. Walking through the museum, the alumni had a chance to revisit old yearbooks and school newspapers dating back to the Twenties. In fact one of the oldest people attending the event was Virgina Grafton-Wade, from the class of 1935.
“There were not even a thousand kids our freshman year. It was tiny; we knew everybody,” said Reed, who estimated that her class in ‘55 had only about 150 students. “I probably know a lot of the people that are here and that’s what makes it nice. It’s worth coming back for. I just wish we could get everybody to do that.”