The Original Pioneers: New Providence High School Class of 1960 Returns for Reunion

c7a9e552ce16f9890f2f_cas5.jpg
Dave Marzane, a 1960 graduate of New Providence High School, and his wife, Andee, listen as Principal Paul Casarico talks about changes to the school. Andee Marzane said the class of 1960 is so warm and friendly she feels closer to them than she does her own high school classmates.
f801939456d6b448fb98_cas4.jpg
The class of 1960 had its 50th reunion this weekend.
ee1a776cfd1e4fa9b8bf_cas3.jpg
New Providence High School class of 1960 had its 50th reunion this weekend. The class of 1960 was the first to graduate from New Providence High School.
77debce03b341f44a20d_cas2.jpg
New Providence High School Principal Paul Casarico and members of the class of 1960 visit the gymnasium during a tour of the school as part of the class's 50th reunion.
341b6cb9b1db14ecae0c_cas1.jpg
New Providence High School Principal Paul Casarico talks with the class of 1960 during a tour of the school as part of their 50th reunion weekend.
c7a9e552ce16f9890f2f_cas5.jpg

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Air raid drills have given way to bomb threat drills. Chalkboards are gone, computers are everywhere, all classes are co-ed and the sewing class is now known as “fabric arts.” But for New Providence High School’s class of 1960, seeing their high school again was a step back in time.

The class had its 50th reunion Oct 15-17, and more than 30 of their 88 members came from all over the country to see each other, tour the school, and share memories. The class of 1960 has a special place in the annals of New Providence High: they were the school’s first graduating class. While that honor gives them a place of distinction, it also is a key part of the reason one of the class members said they were a very tight-knit group.

The school was under construction during the mid 1950s, and the class of 1960 had no place to go to school. None of the surrounding towns wanted them added to their high schools until finally Chatham agreed to take them in.

Sign Up for E-News

“But the students at Chatham weren’t interested in getting to know us, because they knew we’d be leaving as soon as our school was open,” said Delia Morrish Chang, who now lives in Hawaii. “After being rejected so many times by other schools, and not forming any real friendships in Chatham, we got very close as a class. We went through life with our backs together and our claws out.”

New Providence High School opened in 1958, and the class of 1960 finally had a home. It didn’t take long for them to establish themselves in their new school: the principal asked them to choose the school colors (green and white with gold), they established the school paper, and penned the school song.

And this weekend, they walked through the halls of their alma mater again, lead by Principal Paul Casarico, laughing at how familiar some of it was, and how different it is in other ways. The school has undergone several expansions, but even those who hadn’t been back since they graduated were able to point to where the original building stopped, and where certain rooms were. The “senior lounge,” which was another innovation of their class, has been removed and the spot it once occupied is now a trophy case.

Stepping into some of the classrooms elicited strong memories and comments, as class members reminded each other of the quirks of certain teachers, and what the classes themselves had been like. Men laughed as they remembered the views the drawing room class offered of the girls’ gym class. Women shuddered as they remembered dissecting frogs in biology.

Casarico talked about some of the changes that have taken place since the class of 1960 graduated. Desks are now clustered together instead of placed in rows, so students can learn in a more interactive way. White boards have replaced blackboards since chalk dust is bad for the classroom computers. But some of the classrooms haven’t changed much. The wood shop, the home economics cooking class (now called “Foods”), the drawing class are largely unchanged.

The class of 1960 erupted into applause when Casarico said that 99 percent of New Providence High School graduates go on to college, and the school hasn’t had a dropout in 10 years.

“The whole atmosphere of this school is so warm and positive,” said Carol Christian Helmar, who now lives in California. “It always was, and I can see that hasn’t changed.”

Ten years ago, the class of 1960 established a scholarship fund in memory of Walter M. McCarthy and Edward H. Lieder. McCarthy was the first principal of New Providence High School and was a math teacher at the junior high. Lieder was the school district’s first athletic director.

Each year, the class of 1960 recognizes a graduating New Providence senior who has demonstrated a commitment to community service. This year’s recipient is Rachel Brust, who was honored during reunion events on Saturday.  

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Providence

A Better Summer with the Y: Join by May 31 and Have Your Joiner Fee Waiver!

May 26, 2018

From now through the end of May, new members joining the Berkeley Heights YMCA will have their joiners fee waived, because at the Y we believe that everyone deserves to reach their health and wellness goals. With a savings of up to $95, you can focus on the perks of being a Berkeley Heights YMCA member:

Unlimited attendance to more than 100 group fitness classes a week
• State of ...

The New Providence 2018 Memorial Day Parade Begins at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 28

The Borough of New Providence and American Legion Post #433 invite all to attend this year’s Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 28, 2018.   The parade will begin at 10:00 a.m., rain or shine, at Springfield and Central avenues. Post 433 and the New Providence Community Activities Department have co-sponsored the town’s Memorial Day Parade for more than 65 years. The parade, ...

How the Holi Color Festival Came to Summit; Event Planner Shares Her Story

May 21, 2018

Back in India, Holi was a holiday observed by almost all states. The holiday would be declared at all educational institutes and offices. It's a two day spring festival also known as the festival of colors. The festival signifies the victory of good over bad, the arrival of spring with the fragrance of flowers in the air and aura of warmth and happiness.

Holi festival is the time ...

Fallout Continues from Lawsuit Against Mountainside; Police Chief on Administrative Leave

May 19, 2018

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – Police Chief Allan Attanasio is the latest member of the police department to suffer repercussions from a complaint filed against the borough on May 11.  Attanasio, who is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit, was “placed on administrative leave,” on Thursday by Borough Administrator and former Police Chief James Debbie, said  Lt. Joseph ...

Cycling Champ Laura Van Gilder Returns to Somerville Memorial Day to Defend Race Title

May 26, 2018

 

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Laura Van Gilder, 54-year-old cycling champion from Cresco, Pa., will return to defend her title at the 75th annual Tour of Somerville on Memorial Day, attempting an unprecedented fifth win in the 25-mile women's race, just one of several races that begin at 10:30 a.m..

The Kugler-Anderson Tour of Somerville, often referred to as the Kentucky Derby of ...

Coach Bottone Tribute

May 19, 2018

2017 Pioneer football players took on a tall task of filling a lot of open spots with not many returning players. We had 30 kids on our football team who all wanted to be there. With a new head coach who just came on board in late April, we had a lot of things to do without much time. Most people would say being on a 1-9 football team would be no fun and, at times, it wasn’t, but it was the ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, May 26, 9:00 AM

Miller-Cory House Museum, Westfield

Aunt Carrie's Attic Sale

Giving Back Other

Sat, May 26, 11:00 AM

Home For Good Dog Recue, Berkeley Heights,

Dog Adoption

Other

Sat, May 26, 2:00 PM

New Providence

Memoir Writing Workshops @ NPML

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_0906ca383804ad4ba17c_tai-chi

Sun, May 27, 9:30 AM

Providence Health and Fitness, New Providence

Tai Chi Chuan

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_f2342d687dc0c02ade5e_rec_swim

Sun, May 27, 10:00 AM

The Connection, Summit

Recreational Swim

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_fc9553e9258ab1b1cc8b_paolo_zumba_teacher

Sun, May 27, 11:00 AM

Providence Health and Fitness, New Providence

Zumba meets Bolly DazZ

Health & Wellness

The Evaluation of the College Search

It’s is a bizarre time of year as a college counselor as I find myself at both the beginning and end of this process.  Sophomores and juniors are excitedly and idealistically starting to consider what will be important to them in a school.  At the same time, while only separated by a year or two, my seniors have all committed within the past month to a school and have spent the ...