Glassport High School classmates reunite
As more than 200 graduates of the former Glassport High School eased into their seats at the Sons of Italy to reminisce during the school's first all-class reunion on Friday evening, the Rev. Bill Bennett of the Class of 1957 offered a brief blessing.
“We're all still standing,” he said with a chuckle at the Glassport club. “Well, we're sitting, but we're all still here.”
The dinner and dancing event was preceded earlier in the day by a golf outing at Seven Springs Golf Course in Elizabeth Township, marking the start of a three-day extravaganza for anyone who attended the school while it was open from 1920-1966. A spaghetti dinner and oldies dance from 6-11 p.m. will take place on Saturday at the Sons of Italy and an old-fashioned picnic is planned for Sunday from 1-4 p.m. at the Polish National Alliance Club in Glassport with polka band Ray J and the Carousels.
Organizer Chuck Widel said the reunion has drawn Glassport graduates from as far as New York and Los Angeles.
“As soon as we brought it up, my phone started ringing off the hook,” Widel said. “It's been so successful, we're going to do it again next year even bigger and better.”
Glassport Mayor Michael Evanovich, who graduated from South Allegheny High School the first year after Glassport High School merged there, said the community misses its old alma mater.
“In my opinion, Glassport High should still be open,” he said. “So this is a great event to have. I hope they continue to build on it.”
Dewey Tomko, Class of 1964, is perhaps one of the most famous grads of the school. A professional poker player who has competed in the World Series of Poker since 1974 and was elected to the Poker Hall of Fame in 2008, he made the trip from his home in Orlando, Fla., just to rub elbows with old friends.
“I don't recognize any of them,” said Tomko, laughing. “I know how they all look in my memories, but, boy, they don't look that way now.”
Tomko said he owes much of his success to his early life in Glassport.
“I learned to play poker in the streets around here,” he said. “By the time I got out of high school, I knew I could beat anybody.”
Joe Schillaci, Class of 1959, agreed that a blue-collar upbringing in Glassport contributed to his success in business, which included serving as president and CEO of the Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas.
“People here have good values and character,” he said. “When you grow up the way we did back then, you learned a certain work ethic. A lot of these friends are more like family, and it's nice to come back after 50 years and feel like you're picking up right where you left off.”
It's a sentiment shared by many others in attendance, including Tony Sinatra, Class of 1961.
“There's just a camaraderie here that's special,” Sinatra said. “There's this tie that all of us will always have to this area and each other. I don't think that will ever stop.”
Tim Karan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1970, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Elizabeth Township fire displaces family
- Jefferson Hospital names new CEO, president
- North Versailles commissioners revise fire department policy
- Munhall officials seek green space, parks
- Mon Valley called ‘ground zero’ for blight
- Steel Valley area youth attend water camp
- Jefferson Hospital doctor serves as panelist for mental health legislation
- UPMC McKeesport president reiterates hospital will remain open
- ‘Last of the downtown mansions’ demolished in McKeesport
- Elizabeth prepares for annual Riverfest
- North Versailles Township receives fully loaded street sweeper