Saturday afternoon I had the privilege to provide a tour of Thomas Worthington High School for the Worthington High School class of 1972 who were celebrating their 40th high school reunion. I don’t normally get to provide reunion tours as someone at the high school is usually on hand to greet groups of returning alumni. For whatever reason this weekend I was the only one available and was called upon to provide the tour. I was lucky to get the call.
The class of 72 was to meet at the main entrance of TWHS at 4:00 P.M.. At 3:15 P.M. my daughter and I arrived at TWHS with the goal of disarming the security system (notice the word “goal”) turning on lights in the hallways, opening locked security gates, etc. I wrongly assumed that 45 minutes should be enough time for this process. If you are familiar with the sprawling TWHS building you would understand that I didn’t get everywhere I wanted to get before the 4:00 P.M. start time.
About 55 class of 1972 members showed up for the tour. (The class of 1972 graduated with around 505 students, so 10% were at the tour 40 years later. Around 100 were at a gathering the previous evening at P.K. O’Ryans’s in Old Worthington.)
We began our tour in the main reception area which houses the Hall of Fame. They located a student from their class and the father of one of the attendees. We then began to head east along the main hallway of TWHS. Every few yards the hallway slopes steeply upward as you walk east. Many classmates remember this slope and it is personally one of my main memories as a student at Worthington High School. We looked at the auditorium (didn’t exist in 72), the library (was the gym in 72), the Cardinal Theatre (opened in 92), various classrooms and headed to the athletic wing.
Up until this point our tour was going swimmingly. I was enjoying the company of proud alumni and enjoying the opportunity to showcase our school and discuss our school district. When we arrived at the athletic wing which was all new in 1992, we looked at the auxiliary gym, the competition gym, the various state champions, etc…when a piercing sound went off. Somehow we had set of the security system! Apparently TWHS as a separate security system in the athletic area that I was not aware of, nor could I find to shut off. The class of 1972 didn’t mind… I began to hear “Don’t worry Trent, it’s not a party until the police show up!” (They soon did, by the way, and were very gracious with my incompetence.)
The alarm shrieking hastened the end of our tour and the class of 1972 moved west across the parking lot to do what students in Worthington have done for generations. They were off to paint the rock!
After locking up the school and apologizing to the police I took my daughter to her first rock painting at TWHS. We hung out with a great group of people in their late 50’s who could easily have been in the late teens. Painting the rock, listening to kids play at the pool, telling stories and enjoying a beautiful Saturday in Worthington, Ohio.
In just about a month the TWHS and WKHS combined class of 1992 will hold their 20th high school reunion. (The class of 1992 was the first class to graduate from each of the newly split high schools and were together until after 11th grade, thus they are choosing to reunion together.) I’m not certain they will be able to top the class of 1972 for attendance, passion for Worthington, or for Rock painting, but it will be interesting to see.
No matter where you grow up, for many the connection with childhood and high school friends and the school is important. It was apparent to me that the connection is very strong for this group of alumni. It made me proud to be associated with Worthington City Schools in a small way.
The class of 1972 was off to their official reunion event. Don’t worry I reminded them to be safe!
(BTW: There are actually three “Rocks” that are painted on the grounds of TWHS. The Rock the class of 72 painted is the largest and most prominent. It sits east of the pool complex off of the traditional entrance to the high school. The second rock is seen by more people daily and is to the east of the entrance at the football field and into the parking lot or the flats. It is still currently painted in remembrance of 1990 Worthington High School graduate, Kristen Brown Reeve, who passed away last month. The third rock sits on the banks of the Olentangy river by the bike path and the 161 bridge. It is currently painted by the TWHS cross-country team who frequently runs by the rock.)