CCHS class of ’78 celebrates 40th reunion
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Next to a bulldog shaped flower pot, a sign read “When Dawgs were Dogs”, setting the tone for the 40th Class Reunion for the Copperas Cove High School Class of 1978.
Of the 364 who graduated in 1978, between one-third to two-thirds were present at the reunion held at the Copperas Cove Civic Center, ready to reminisce and socialize.
The reunion featured a buffet meal catered by Let Us Do the Cooking, a class photo by Lee Letzer from Camera Artistry and music from the 1970s and 1980s provided by Tony’s Karaoke and Variety DJ. Alumni enjoyed a happy hour on Friday evening at the Dead Fish Grill in Belton, with organizers Brigitte Mendoza and Jo Zunker chartering a bus to provide a safe ride to and from. The Dead Fish Grill used to be known as Frank’s on the Lake and was the formal restaurant of choice for prom and homecoming dinners back when they were in high school, Mendoza said.
The reunion on Saturday started with socializing and drinks and table snacks, as old classmates reunited and shared updates of their lives since the last reunion. Memorabilia featured yearbooks and issues of the school newspaper, The Canine Caper, along with photo albums and old cheerleading uniforms, a football jersey and pads and a letterman jacket.
Featured on a table with a white tablecloth and a faux candle were the pictures and names of the classmates who passed away: Greg Austin, Bill Barrett, Jr., James Beck, Mark Carter, Cindy Donaldson, Bruce Eddelman, Ken Faulkner, Sandra Gibson Mahaffey, Anthony Hood, Ken Hopkins, Bill Horn, LouAnn Hughes, Rodney Lower, Micaela Nettleship, Max Ogas, Gilbert Ortega, Ken Spurlock, Clayton Summers, Ricky Thompson, Patty Weigel and Barbara Yaggi Howard.
Mendoza and Zunker also planned and helped organize the 30th reunion in 2008 and said that the biggest challenge was finding all their classmates. They used Facebook and Twitter and the internet but also looked up phone numbers and called around and managed to locate at least two-thirds of their class, Mendoza said.
The 30th reunion was held in Austin, which is where Mendoza lives and close to where Zunker lives, but for the 40th, the location was put to a vote and Copperas Cove was chosen, allowing many to return to their hometown for the first time in a while.
Scot Rogerson, who has attended the 10th, 20th and 30th reunions, flew in from New York for the 40th reunion and said he thought Copperas Cove was completely different from when he was in high school.
“When I moved here in 1972, 10,818 people lived here, and I drove in yesterday and the population on the sign from eight years ago was 32,000 so I’m sure it’s bigger than that,” Rogerson said. “And you have so many roads that didn’t exist before, and then of course, it’s sad to see some of the buildings gone or changed but yeah it’s all for the good. The biggest change was we used to have the high school where the junior high was and now it’s switched. It’s enormous and it’s beautiful.”
Rogerson shared that Crossroads High School used to be the Avenue E. Elementary School as well.
Rogerson, who is retired and lives in Washington, D.C., is on the planning committee but credits the work to the classmates living in Texas for the success of the reunion. Rogerson said he was impressed with the turnout of classmates to the 40th reunion.
“You get basically a third of your class showing up, it’s good,” Rogerson said.
Rogerson said he has also participated in mini-reunions held in between the bigger reunions and attributed those to helping classmates keep in touch and remember each other better.
On reuniting with old classmates, Rogerson said that the experience was great, especially hearing about what they’ve been up to and their families. He added that he was looking forward to the 50th reunion in 2028.
Rogerson also shared that he had a terrific experience at Copperas Cove High School and was active in student government and other clubs. He said that the teachers and staff, including former CCHS Principal Glynn Powell, helped shape his time in high school.
Powell, who served as CCHS principal from 1973 to 1988 and retired from CCISD in 1997 before serving 12 years on the CCISD board of trustees, stopped by the reunion just in time for the class picture. Before the dinner started, Powell was pulled into conversation with many different former students who were thrilled to be able to share updates on their lives with their former principal.
Powell remembered many of the students right away but shared that more of them remembered who he was. He said it was a joy to see how his students turned out, adding that some of them surprised him.
“I like to come to these reunions, meet former students and chat with them, visit with them,” Powell said. “I like to know what they’ve done in life, and that always gives me a great deal of thrill to find those that have done well, made a contribution.”