Galesville trio celebrates 80th high school reunion

            Galesville High School class of 1944 graduates (from left) Wanda Sacia, Janice Fitzpatrick and Marge Flaherty celebrated their 80th high school class reunion last week with lunch, a visit to see a 1929 Packard car as well as cake and ice cream with family and friends. The 98-year-old women also called a fourth classmate who wasn’t able to attend the celebration in person.         (Times photograph by Benjamin Pierce)


Janice Fitzpatrick summarized the day with four words and a smile.

“It’s hard to believe.”

Fitzpatrick, Marge Flaherty and Wanda Sacia celebrated a milestone last week that few get to enjoy — the trio from the Galesville High School class of 1944 came together for their 80th high school class reunion on Friday.

They enjoyed lunch at Galesville restaurant Garden of Eatin’ before calling to catch up with a fourth classmate who was unable to attend the get-together. 

Celebrations ended only after cake and ice cream at Marinuka Manor, the Galesville nursing home, with family and friends. Fitzpatrick, the class president, joked they were going dancing.

Their last reunion was 10 years ago, so Sacia said celebrating 80 years “seemed like an important event.”

The trio had plans for a ride to lunch in a vintage 1929 Packard car, but it broke down in Centerville while on the way to pick up the women. Despite the change in plans, family still took them to see the car.

School looked much different in 1944 — the women said their class was comprised of about 35 students, the school had nine total staff members and World War II meant high school was “pretty quiet”.

Six boys from their class graduated a semester early after being inducted into the military.

The women went their separate ways after high school. Flaherty, who remarked that she is the oldest member of the class, went to nursing school while Fitzpatrick worked in Washington D.C. and Sacia got married shortly after graduating.

Last week, they said, was a welcomed trip down memory lane.

“We don’t see each other as often as we should,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s harder for us to get around now. I see Wanda in church, and I see Marge up here when we come.”

“We’re just thankful to be here with our friends and family.”

Though the world is a different place from when it was their turn to graduate from a high school in Galesville, the 98-year-old women had advice for area seniors preparing to graduate in a month.

“Be positive,” Sacia said. “Take each day as it comes and have positive thoughts.”

Flaherty said graduates should believe in themselves, and Fitzpatrick closed the advice with a flash of a grin and a quip of hope.

“Enjoy life,” Fitzpatrick said. “But do good.”

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