2012-02-09 / Schools

Shore Regional H.S. marks 50 years

BY KENNYWALTER Staff Writer

WEST LONG BRANCH — Shore Regional High School alumni from throughout the country have returned home to commemorate the 50th anniversary of their alma mater.

Andrew Ker, Shore Regional School District public information officer, explained that the 50th anniversary celebration started in 2011 and will conclude next October.

“The idea of it was to celebrate 50 years in terms of the school’s years,” he said.

“The doors opened to the school in 1962. The construction was finalized in 1961 and the first school year was 1962.”

Shore Regional serves students from West Long Branch, Monmouth Beach, Oceanport and Sea Bright, and Ker said the first graduating class was in 1964.

The 50th anniversary was kicked off in October with a gathering of members of the first five graduating classes.

Members of the 1963 undefeated football team also came back to the school in October to host a student assembly.

In November the school hosted a 50ththemed homecoming dance, and in December the anniversary of the 1981 state championship football team was celebrated.

Ker said the event that has generated the biggest buzz is the Shore Players’ Cabaret Night scheduled for March 24.

“The one that I think has caused the most enthusiasm so far is the cabaret that is going to take place in March,” he said. “They are going to have all the Shore Players that ever performed here that are able to get back and perform in our newly refurbished auditorium.

“It is sort of impromptu singing, dancing and groups doing their own little skits.”

Other events planned include the 1987 class digging up a time capsule in June, and the 50th Anniversary Gala in October, which will be the culmination of the celebration.

The Shore Regional Education Foundation is putting the celebration together, and Ker serves as liaison.

“The foundation is a group of between five and 10 alumni who are actively involved in raising funds and driving the school toward higher academic achievement,” he said.

While tracking down 50 years of students from all over the country may be a daunting task, Ker said social media has had a big impact.

“It hasn’t been very difficult now that we havemoved on to social media,” he said. “The mass of alumni that we have, even in their 50s and 60s, have moved toward Facebook.

“That football reunion was a completely Facebooked event,” he added. “People move, and phones become disconnected, and phones don’t carry over.”

He went on to say that alumni from Mexico, Canada, Ohio and Chicago have all returned to attend events at the school.

“They all come back, and it would be impossible to orchestrate that over the phone,” he added.

According to Ker, the older alumni have tended to be more involved in the celebration and have taken a nostalgic approach to the anniversary.

He also said that one thing the foundation has focused on in celebrating the anniversary is producing affordable and/or free events.

“The interesting thing is none of the events really cost any money,” Ker said. “One of the things that we looked at was raising funds at a cost-free event.”

He said that different clubs and organizations within the school are using commemorative cookies as a way to raise funds for their specific groups.

“For example, you might have an athletic dinner and they want to raise funds for their club,” he said. “You might buy them in bulk and sell them to raise funds for your club.”

In the past 50 years, Ker said, the school has transformed from a small school to a large campus.

“The school physically has grown quite a bit,” he said. “It has grown from two wings to three wings to four wings.

“It is still great kids, from 1962 to 2012, still great faculty,” he added. “The faculty has always remained almost family-like.”

Some of the notable alumni that Shore Regional boasts include Toronto Blue Jays manager and former major league pitcher John Farrell and Holly Black, author of the “Spiderwick Chronicles.”

The district is including the 50th anniversary logo, which was designed by an alumnus, on all mastheads, letters and emails and will be incorporating the logo on diplomas for graduating seniors.

For more information on 50th anniversary activities, visit the website at http://www.shoreregional.org/domain/17.

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