Stacey (Jung) Dieckmann, who graduated from New England Public schools in 1986, started thinking about getting her classmates together for a 30 year class reunion about a year ago.
By RACHEL BOCK
Stacey (Jung) Dieckmann, who graduated from New England Public schools in 1986, started thinking about getting her classmates together for a 30 year class reunion about a year ago. After the first of the year, Dieckmann along with two other classmates Jason Jung and Perry Rettinger, started planning extensively for the event that was held in New England in the middle of August. For Dieckmann, who comes back to New England from Wyoming frequently to see family, felt that it was important to catch up and get together with her 18 classmates that she graduated with 30 years ago.
“We grew up in such a small community, and we didn’t have that many classmates. Our class in particular has always been close, and we have always gotten along. I just think it was important for us to get together,” Dieckmann said.
During the planning stages, Dieckmann invited the class of 1986 from New England St. Mary’s, and the New England Public School class of 1996 to join them for the festivities.
Friday, Aug. 12, started the weekend celebrations off with a welcome reception at the Golden West. The three classes joined together Saturday afternoon for Burgers in the Park, followed by a New England Public School tour. The class of 1986 spent the rest of the afternoon visiting with their classmates at the Lion’s Park which was one of Dieckmann’s favorite parts of the weekend. The group shared stories from high school, along with other funny stories about their life and their children.
Saturday night included a banquet at the Memorial Hall for all the three classes, which was followed by a street dance on Main Street. The class of 1986 from NEPS had the best attendance, only missing five classmates out of 18.
A major highlight for Jim Urlacher who graduated from NEPS in 1996, was seeing some of his classmates that he hasn’t seen in almost 20 years. He also enjoyed seeing how the school has changed with renovations, but how the school in some aspects has stayed the same as how he remembered it some 20 years ago. Urlacher also stated how nice it is to see that the small school of New England is still going strong. During the reunion, some members of the class of 1996 spent Saturday afternoon looking through pictures and old yearbooks, while sharing stories and reminiscing of their own high school memories.
“That was fun to reconnect and to see what other people are up to. It also feels like you haven’t been away from each other that long, that you kind of fly back into that routine where you were friends in high school,” Urlacher said.
Urlacher who is a Spanish Teacher at a middle school in Fargo, North Dakota, appreciates his small town upbringing and is grateful that he was able to be in every extra-curricular activity that he wanted to be in while he was in school. Something Urlacher feels can only happen in a smaller school.
“Now that I teach in a big school district people think there are more opportunities for you in a big school. There are, but you are only active in maybe one or two things. But for us, we could have been involved in everything, there wasn’t a limit. That was a great opportunity, even though it was a small school you still could be involved in everything,” Urlacher said.
Another highlight for the classmates of 1986 and 1996 was watching their own children interact with each other. Most of the kids had only met each other for the first time on Saturday afternoon, but by Saturday evening they had made friendships of their own and were interacting with each other like long lost friends.
Both the classes of 1996, and 1986 have already started planning their next reunions. However, instead of waiting 10 more years to get together, both classes are hoping their next reunion will be in a few years to celebrate some important milestone birthdays of turning 40 and 50 years old.