OCEANSIDE — The annual reunion for Oceanside High School, formerly Oceanside Carlsbad Union High School, took place at Heritage Park on June 17.More than 200 alumni and friends showed up from the class of 1936 to the class of 1968.“We enjoyed our high school years,” George Buddy Watson, alumnus from the class of 1947, said. “We had a good time in school.”Class groups set up shade areas marked by signs displaying their class year to gather and share photos and stories.Watson said the reunions are all about seeing old friends.
“You can’t tell lies to people who know you that well,” Watson said.
Watson attended the reunion with his wife Barbara, who is an alumna from the class of 1948.
He moved to Oceanside at age 6 and continues to meet up regularly with three friends he attended school with from first grade.
“They are friends I’ve known my whole life,” Watson said. “We all went through school together.”
Mickey Hillan Stolzoff and Durrell Conner, both of the class of 1936, also meet up regularly with school friends.
“Seven of us meet up the second Thursday of each month,” Conner said.
Hillan Stolzoff said the get-togethers are a lot different than when they celebrated early milestones, like the class’ 20-year reunion. Now it’s about enjoying long-lasting friendships.
“We don’t care what they did, or how much money they made, we love them as friends,” she said.
Watson credits alumna Edith Swain, estimated class of 1938, for starting the reunions more than 30 years ago.
“She knows about all the families in town,” Watson said. “She organized it very well. We owe her a lot. She started this whole thing.”
Most alumni who attend live within 70 miles of Oceanside, but some travel from as far away as Oregon to attend.
This year the class of 1947 and friends also met for a dinner June 16 to celebrate their 65- year reunion.
Watson said recent graduate classes are not that interested in attending the reunion, at least not yet.
“In my class there were 100 students,” Watson said. “You knew almost everyone in class. Now classes have a couple of thousand. It’s a lot different memories and how well you know one another.”
Oceanside Carlsbad Union High School once served students who lived from Del Mar to Oceanside. Then the cities of Encinitas, Carlsbad and Del Mar built their own high schools.
Oceanside later built its second high school, El Camino High School.
The Oceanside High School Foundation and Alumni Association works with the Oceanside Historical Society and Friends of Heritage Park to collect and preserve the school’s memorabilia. Much of the memorabilia is displayed in a hallway at the school.
At the reunion Laurie Nelson Boone, class of 1968 and member of the alumni association, collected a 1938 all school photo from Ray Perkett, class of 1939.
Perkett pointed out that he is in the photo twice. Photographers needed to take several side by shots of the large group and then develop the negatives as one image. Perkett said while photographers were readying equipment for the next shot, he and his friends ran to the other end of the group and got in the photo twice.