FREEDOM Alumni gather for reunion celebration Several classes of Freedom graduates attend event at Career Center

Donna Alexander Published:

The Freedom Township alumni from the James A. Garfield school district, Maplewood Career Center and associates recently gathered at the Career Center in Ravenna for their 85th reunion to remember classmates, renew old friendships and honor the classes of 1933, 1943, 1953, 1963 and 1973. Eisele Catering provided the full-course, buffet style dinner under the direction of Sam Eisele for the 112 members attending. President Matthew Garrett (1977) and Caroline (Garrett) Davis welcomed the group and recognized its members. Representing the class of 1933 was Myrtle (Lange) Rosenow of Mantua and Ruth Warner of Kent. It was the largest class (24) to graduate since the schools opening in 1918. At that time, it was a three-year high school and the fourth year was completed at the nearest of four high schools to their home. The class of 1943 class adviser Dr. Agnes (Monroe) Smith of West Farmington, welcomed Helen Soltis of Parkman, Shirley (Smith) Mirande and Al Pochedly of Freedom with the memories of the war years that led to many of their classmates having their studies interrupted by the war draft and available employment in the area. She said that of all her years of teaching, the years from 1940 to 1944 were the best and most enjoyable of her life. The class of 1953 was represented by Ralph Stanley of Ravenna and Dolores (Gillespie) Koscher of Mantua. Their class was the third to graduate from the newly-consolidated James A. Garfield district. The class was small, with only seven graduating from Freedom. Grade school was still being held in the township school while the upper grades were bused to the Garfield district. The class of 1963, represented by Vivian (Papiska) Forgus of Ravenna and Joanne (Minski) Stefanisk of Freedom, shared their memories of attending the old Freedom building, especially the hide and seek games where they hid in the gymnasium in a small room above the old stage where no one ever found them until it was time to ride the bus home. They said they both appreciated the years of education in the large school district. The class of 1973 was represented by Philip Ziska of Garrettsville and Barbara Bailey of Ravenna. The old school had been closed in the township and they both remember the widespread building of homes as the small farms closed and the land was developed with homes. Theirs was a group of 45 students from the township to graduate with the Garfield School District. They experienced an expanded curriculum and broad education from the district that they said helped develop their careers. Out-of-state alumni Martin Pochedly of Conneaut, Pa., Gloria (Burkholder) Lowen of Norman, Okla., Bob Wilson of Florida, Helen (Stanley) Podojil of Florida and John E. Garrett of Florida were recognized and welcomed home. Garfield Superintendent Charles Klamer commented on the current class of 2003 township students and recognized Carolyn Flint and Faith Leet. Maxine (Brookover) Flint welcomed them to the Alumni Association and said she looked forward to their attendance in the coming years. Leet is a fifth-generation graduate from the township. Seven other graduates had alumni parents and grandparents. The association read in memoriam the alumni who died this past year: Anna (Kubo) Keepler (1928), Eva (Ensinger) Petitt (1928), Andre Harry Nelson (1933), Franklin McClintock (1933), Ann (Pechac) Huzl (1934), Paul Peppeard (1934), Ethel (Farrell) Berg (1938), William Lowther (1943), Marilyn (Sandridge) Moore (1944), Ruth (Sandridge) Day (1952) and Darlene (Richards) McBride (1965). Garrett thanked Gene Brunn for the daffodils that decorated the tables. The alumni spent the remaining evening looking over the memorabilia and pictures of grade school classes and the old Speedometer and Jaguar yearbooks.

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