SHAMOKIN — It was a bittersweet 50th reunion for Shamokin Area High School Class of 1968 on Friday. Following a brief address from Northumberland County Commissioner Sam Schiccatano who wished them well, the group of 31 took a tour of their former high school building (now Northumberland County Career and Arts Center) located at Eighth and Arch Streets.

The original plan was to have the group explore a previously undisclosed portion of the building, which contained an original coal vein located inside a closet area near the old gymnasium underground. Unfortunately, that part of the tour didn’t pan out due to a lack of access by security staff according to Schiccatano, who told everyone that the maintenance crew members are the only ones who have keys to that area of the building and they were unavailable to participate in the walk-through.

Nonetheless, members of SAHS Class of ’68, a number of whom currently live out of state, shared many fond memories of their former school building and reminisced as they walked through the stairwells and hallways of each floor.

“I’m proud of our heritage. This is a nostalgic event and this was our school where we grew up,” said Bob Mattis.

Other classmates shared their thoughts as well. Those living out of state were happy to see their former high school.

“This is so exciting. I’m currently living in Las Vegas, and it’s great to be able to come back here and see everything again,” said Holly James.

Jody (Duceman) Callahan added, “What a blessing it is to be back here where I have so many memories and friendships after 50 years.”

Lester Dascani and his wife, Jean (Peipher), were looking forward to checking out their former classrooms and seeing what they look like now.

“It’s a great time and we’re going to do the tour now and see our old homeroom,” said Lester.

Joy Clark added, “It’s great to see everyone here and reminisce about old times.”

Former wrestling standout Joe Bordell said, “Some memories I recall are vivid, like they happened yesterday.”

Jerri Weaver summed it up by saying, “My high school years were the happiest time of my life, with all my friends and the experiences we shared together.”

John Klinger concluded the tour by speaking of the bittersweet memories and the difficulty in saying goodbye again.

“It’s kind of emotional seeing a number of people you haven’t seen for 50 years,” he said.

Following the tour, the group was invited to the Shamokin Bed and Breakfast for a special class reunion pizza party hosted by B&B owner and former classmate Dave Hughes.

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