Half a Century Later…

Kaneland’s 50th class reunion brings back the class of 1968


Photo by Samantha Callaghan

    The Kaneland graduating class of 1968 took a trip down memory lane on Thursday, October 4, starting their 50th class reunion with a meet and greet at Fishermen’s Inn.

    With appetizers and a band, the class was able to socialize and catch up with many classmates they had not seen since graduation. Thursday’s meet and greet was just the start to their long weekend. Activities for the class reunion continued into Sunday, featuring a dinner dance, golf outing, tour of the high school, field day and a brunch. This gave all the classmates many opportunities to catch up.

    “They look a little older and bigger,” graduate Bob Long said in reference to his classmates.

     There was not a person in the room who did not have a smile on their face. Conversations went from where all the former students are now, to their best memory from when they were Kaneland Knights.

    “I graduated in ‘68 and then went to Illinois State University and graduated from there in ‘73. I came back here in ‘78 and taught here (at Kaneland High School) as a health teacher. In fact, Mrs. Miller was my student teacher,” former Kaneland High School student, teacher, coach and Athletic Director Ralph Drendel said.

     While some students followed a more traditional path after high school, others pursued opportunities not everyone can say they had.

    “I went to Patricia Stevens Career College in Chicago for fashion merchandising. My job was as a Playboy Bunny at the original Playboy Club on Rush Street,” graduate and class reunion organizer Nancy Gilmore said.

    While this generation was happy to reflect on their past experiences, they also had some advice for current high school students.

    “Hold on to your friends. You will love to have them in 50 years. Don’t lose touch I guess is the point. Also at age 63 I went back to school to become a certified nutritionist, so don’t be afraid to do anything at any age. If you stop learning you start dying. I plan to retire the day after I die,” Gilmore said.

    Drendel and Gilmore were not the only ones with stories to share and wisdom to impart, as plenty of other stories were told as the night continued. Thursday’s event came to a close with a group picture of all the classmates in attendance, adding one more picture to the always evolving 1968 yearbook.