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In 1956, 56 students graduated from Grant County High School and recently, a mere 56 years later they gathered for their 56th high school reunion.
“We were just a good, close class,” said Goodloe McMurtry of Dry Ridge.
Thirty-six of the 56 original class members were able to attend this year’s reunion held at the Dry Ridge Christian Church.
Attendees came from as far away Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Utah.
“It was a good chance to catch up with everyone,” said Betty Brewer, also of Dry Ridge.
Of the 56 original members, 14 are deceased. To honor their departed friends, the class took up a collection and has purchased a memorial paver, which rests now at GCHS on Warsaw Road.
GCHS’s Class of 1956 has among its ranks a college profession, a state representative, teachers, a retired Kentucky State Police dispatcher, a NASA employee who worked at Kennedy Space Center, bus company owner, a newspaper publisher, farmers, excursion boat owners, a pilot instructor, a Ford quality assurance worker, as well as those who were employed by the health department, railroad, telephone company, IRS and the the post office.
The class has meet for several other reunions including their 23, 25, 50, 55 and now 56th.
They initially met in homes, but moved to public locations when the numbers increased.
“I think we like each other,” McMurtry said.
The Class of 1956 came together as sophomores when the four high schools in the county – Crittenden, Dry Ridge, Mason and Corinth, became Grant County High School.
McMurtry and Brewer were able to recall funny stories from their time growing up in Grant County.
Brewer remembered how one classmate, Stewart Hedger, was struck by a car while mowing the grass. He had a cast and was forced to use crutches for several weeks. When his arms were too tired from the crutches to get up and down the hallway, Brewer said his male classmates carried him.
Brewer said the Class of 1956 was also the first class at GCHS to take a senior trip. The class worked at scrap sales to earn $50 to take a train to Washington, D.C., New York and eventually Niagra Falls.
“We all pitched in and worked to raise that money so everyone could go,” Brewer said.
McMurtry credits Brewer with being a catalyst for keeping the class connected. She organized a group of local classmates to begin preparing for a reunion and the group continues to meet for a monthly breakfast at 9 a.m. on the first Tuesday of the month at the Country Grill in Dry Ridge.
When a set of twins, Jenna Brown and Patsy Smith, were diagnosed with cancer a few years apart, Brewer organized other classmates to visit them, often taking a pie or other homemade goodie.
“I think everyone just enjoys each other’s company and seems to have a big time,” she said.
McMurtry said another reason the classmates are close is because they grew up, not just knowing each other, but knowing their classmates entire families.
“Now our kids are involved with other classmates kids,” Brewer said.
Her eyes twinkling, she said, “Maybe that’s what we need to do is get all the families together.”
Because the reunion has become so popular, the organizers hope to make it an annual event.
“We put it to a vote and they all said they wanted to get together again, so we’re going to do it the same time next year,” McMurtry said.
“I read this once, ‘you can only be 18 again if you are with those who were 18 with you.’ Maybe that’s why we like getting together,” he said.