CLARK, NJ – It’s the big “3-0” for the Arthur L. Johnson High School Class of 1986, and more than 50 people got together to celebrate at the Gran Centurions last weekend. It was a night of dinner, drinks, dancing and dessert – but mostly an opportunity to catch up with old classmates and reminisce about high school in the ‘80s.
While many of the former classmates were local, a contingent carpooled from the shore area, and one stalwart Crusader traveled from Texas to join in the fun. Many of the revelers stayed at the Holiday Inn, and the committee arranged a shuttle bus back and forth to the party.
“It was a lot of work to throw together but so worth it in the end,” reunion committee member Nancy Morris said. “Classmates had a blast wearing different props and having fun; being goofy in the photo booth. Facebook was flooded with photos, both from the reunion and high school.”
The committee had arranged for an oversized photo-booth that held a lot of people at once, Morris said. Both the photo booth and the dj were huge hits, she said.
A slide show of the group’s high school years played throughout the evening. Committee member Adrienne Scott produced the show and made a copy for each of the classmates to take home.
The reunion committee included Morris, Scott, Sheila Retkwa, Elliot Chalef, Sandi Larocque, Doreen Claridge and Lori Abate Federico. Federico, however, was not to attend the party.
“After tracking down and contacting all missing classmates, and really putting her heart into this reunion, Lori Federico passed away several months before the reunion took place from cancer,” Morris explained. “It just devastated all of us.”
Four other classmates had also died since graduation, Morris said. They were Tim Dunn, Eugene Heinz, George Nicholas and Jerome Grande. Their names and memories were kept alive, Morris said, as the classmates at the reunion reminisced.
The evening was topped off with desserts made by Retkwa. “You haven't tasted heaven ‘til you've had one of her cannoli-cone desserts,” Morris said.
The party didn’t end when dessert was over, though. According to Morris, the group went back to the Holiday Inn for an “after-party” that closed the bar at 2 a.m.