Did you graduate from Beaverton High School over 50 years ago or more? If so, then you’re a Golden Grad!
By Kathie Miles Henderson, BHSoc Volunteer
What’s a Golden Grad?
Beaverton High School started in 1902. In the summer of 1950 35 members of the class of 1930 held their first reunion, an evening potluck supper. This was the first reunion of BHS. Everyone had so much fun that Ruth Lundgren Pasley and a group of volunteers organized another one two years later. In 1952 the class members decided that they should meet every year at the school for an “indoor potluck picnic”. The high school welcomed them as a very special group. Other classes began to organize class reunions and join the class of 1930’s lunch.
By 1980, the class of 1930 had reached its 50th anniversary and someone suggested they call themselves the Golden Grads. The name caught on and Ruth and her group again organized the annual lunch adding a new representative from each class every year. When the class of 1935 had turned ‘golden’, it was then decided to include anyone in the golden year classes from then on and the format remains to this day. Most classes celebrate their 50th like the class of ’63 this year meets in August. They are invited to lunch with an informal and fun induction ceremony.
Past teachers, administrators and Beaverton dignitaries have always been invited. Speeches and ceremonies are brief as the classmates are eager to share stories and jokes and reminisce about the good and the bad. This year’s special guest is the oldest graduate of the group (Class of 1926)! The air is charged with smiles and warm greetings, hugs and handshakes.
Tradition calls for class members to tell jokes about each other. They were often repeated from year to year bringing gales of laughter. Many were stories of tricks they played on each other or on a faculty member. The Golden Grads remember Beaverton in a time when humor and fun was all of a simple vein and it was such a wonderful time to be a teenager. There was only Beaverton High School and Hillsboro High School and the nearest city high school was Lincoln. 50 years ago the population of Beaverton was about 3500. It was surrounded by farmland and patches of trees and swamps. There was the all important cannery, the Beaver Horseradish company and the airport plus train tracks in all directions. Farming was the principal industry. Then came the housing tracts in the 50’s. As one of our class members jokes “They stopped farming wheat and started farming people!”
What do Grads remember most about downtown Beaverton?
The pharmacy’s soda fountain. It was the social center of town and the chocolate ice cream sodas were legendary. We bought our saddle shoes, our letterman sweaters, our full skirts and cinch belts in shops in Beaverton. Our parents bought furniture, jewelry, groceries and farm gear on Broadway. We ran homecoming parades through town, we got ads for the Hummer (school paper) and the Beavertale (phonebook) from local small businesses in town. We hung out at the Tasty Freeze, Dairyland or The DQ. We had lots of hops (casual dances) and formal dances at the high school.
The school was the center of action for the town and whole surrounding area. It was once three stories high with administration offices on the third floor which jiggled off in the big earthquake of 1948. How many stories have been written and how many slinkies have traveled down those stairs to nowhere! The graduates of the 30’s and 40’s can remember the Noon Movies… movies shown during the hour lunch period! Graduates of early years were the main labour source for the surrounding strawberry and bean fields. We even had a big drive-in in the 40’s and 50’s where Fred Meyer is now. The graduates of the late fifties can remember the year we shared the building with Sunset High School, going to school in the morning only while Sunset invaded our campus in the afternoon until its school was finished.
While Ruth and her group had a very informal organization, by 1989, with so many classmates involved, the group set up a formal organization to run the event. Today the classes of the 50’s and 60’s are the custodians of the Golden Grads with almost 3000 on the data base.
Ruth Lundgren Pasley, from Bethany. Class of 1930 and founder of the Golden Grads She was the first female from Beaverton to graduate from a four year school of higher learning, earning a degree in Secretarial Science from Oregon Agricultural College (OSU) in 1936. She remained a solid supporter of the group until her passing in June 2012 two months short of her 100th birthday.
Categorised in: Our Stories
This post was written by Michael Wong