Graduates of Steilacoom’s Class of 1967 held a pre-milestone reunion this past weekend. Sure, it was two years ahead of its official 50th anniversary, but that’s OK.
From Friday-Sunday, about a third of the 1967 Eighth Grade grads enjoyed the opportunity to reunite in the Town on the Sound where they’d attended school—from Kindergarten through 8th Grade. The official graduation for the class of 77 youths was held, according to Marlene Korsmo’s colorful graduation program, at 6:30 p.m. on June 8 in the school’s gymnasium.
This year’s pre-50th event began at the home of classmate Roberta Creger Black. The weekend gathering included a return to the former Pioneer Middle School, originally built as Steilacoom School, where they heard a short program about Pierce County’s first school district’s history that began in 1854*.
The session in the recently remodeled (2014) school building, now District Administration Offices, complete with an elevator, gave them an opportunity to explore former classrooms, see the collection of historic photos displayed throughout the building, and reminisce about teachers, classes and activities, such as the 6th grade camp held that year at Camp Seymour.
“We planted cedar trees around town when we were in the 4th grade,” Mrs. Black said. “They’re huge now.”
The weekend gathering also featured a bus tour that had a stop at the site of the district’s first school, a log cabin on Commercial Street, near present-day Pioneer Orchard Park. The grads dined that evening at the TopSide, and concluded the weekend with breakfast on Sunday at the Bair Bistro, Steilacoom’s historic 1895 general store.
“The reconnection was fabulous,” Mrs. Black said, “and plans for 2017’s actual ’50th’ already are underway. Those who enjoyed the return to the ‘Town on the Sound,’ especially those who took home copies of the District Sesquicentennial History Book, have many good memories to recall in the coming days.
*Note: Lydia Wright Bonney, wife of pioneer Sherwood Bonney, was the district’s first teacher. Her class of 27 students included seven Bonney children. The Bonney’s youngest son, William P. Bonney, authored the three-volume “Pierce County History.”