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Monday Motivation: Enduring Friendships

July 18, 2022

Monday Motivation, Monday Morning, Inspiration, Motivation

RFA Class of 1982

Orange and black balloons decorated a special wall at the venue. Pictured between them was an enlarged yearbook photo of a football team from 1981. Former members of the team were swirling around in the room mixing with non-football players, cheerleaders and former fans of the team. Pride in our high school’s athletics program was just one staple of our class of 1982’s gathering.

Although everyone in the room graduated from one combined high school, one of two junior high schools, and numerous elementary schools all over our city, which swelled with Griffis Air Force Base families at times in addition to homegrown generations, we were one. So what makes our alma mater, formed in 1860 and one of the first public schools in upstate New York, with an impressive 600+ graduates, return decade after decade to be together for 40 years when social media wasn’t close to part of our atmosphere?

I’m not sure any of the 200+ people gathered for our ruby anniversary knows the answer, but I would guess it was our unique sense of class spirit and caring for one another. Along with Dianne Hepworth Coriale, the pillar of event planning, who has been steadfast in gathering us through the decades for one reason. I also believe because we had many intertwined subgroups of people who bonded although they might be very different, made us a tight class. Thankfully back then there weren’t divisions on how we felt about one another like there is in today’s society.

Attending elementary school and then junior high school with different students and then funneling us into one high school worked to mix up our pot of personalities and interests.  Jocks (and jockettes) from all sporting groups mixed in well with each other. The lake residents invited city friends to parties and frivolities in the summer. It just worked which was evident at every decade reunion we continue to have.

Who knows for sure what exactly brings classmates from California, Florida, Texas, Utah, and more back to the historic city of Rome, New York every reunion, but I suspect it is an intangible love and memory growing up in a small lake and base town or the period of time we were there when no cell phones, riding bikes to get around, cheering on stellar football teams, and living life to the fullest was the WAY of life.

I, for one, am so grateful to have grown up a product of RFA with so many friends who keep returning to share the memories and good times, along with salutes to class members who have passed, and to evermore cheer on, not only the RFA Football team of 1981, but our enduring black and orange friendships. Until next time classmates…

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