Our Family of Fate
The LaSalle High School Class of 1977 came togetherfor no other reason than our families lived within some imaginary boundary on a map drawn by a group of bureaucrats hidden in an office of the School Corporation building in downtown South Bend. They didn’t know us, our likes or dislikes. We were simply dots on a map.
We came from many different backgrounds: every nationality, religion, and skin color represented by the population of our county were included. At the time, LaSalle was noted as the most culturally diverse student population in the school district. We came from ten different grade schools which merged into four different Junior High Schools.
We first all met when we were put together in the old Central High School for our freshman year of high school. This school had history! Most of us had parents, aunts, uncles, even grandparents and beyond who attended high school in that building. For most of us, it never quite became home. Some of us were there since 7th grade and perhaps they had grown to feel at home, but it takes more than one year to feel like you belong somewhere.
Our early childhoods were spent in some very turbulent times. We started Kindergarten the fall after the assassination of JFK. Martin Luther King and RFK were killed around the end of our 3rd grade year. On the TVs of our childhood was constant coverage of the Viet Nam War and protests, for civil rights and anti-war. We had Woodstock, Kent State, Wounded Knee and Watergate as the sound track of our childhood. We weren’t strangers to dissension or racism. We saw religious war being waged in Ireland.
In September 1974 we strolled through the doors of what was to become our home. We were put together into a class that numbered about 500 people. We had our differences, but in spite of that, perhaps because of that, we did become a family. We saw on television, read in the newspaper, and in some cases heard from others that we shouldn’t trust “them” because “they” were different. Still we became a family. We didn’t see colors or religions, we saw, us. We saw that we were in this together. We were one.
Now, many years have passed since we graduated from the building that was the “Lions’ Den,” yet, the Class of ’77 is alive and well. We no longer have our building, teams, or the studies that bound us. In some cases we no longer have the friends who have since been laid to rest. We do, however, have our Class. We recently held our 35th Class Reunion. Once we were in that room together, the feelings of camaraderie returned. We were, once again, The Lions.
We had a very diverse group attend. For the most part, we looked more like the teachers that had helped mold us into the people we are than the students that we were. But in that room, there was more than the LHS Class of ’77, more than the Lions. There was a love permeating the room. We were surrounded by Family.
I wish love, good health and good fortune to all of my family, The LaSalle High School Class of 1977.