‘It’s like turning back the clock’: Arms Academy alumni reunite in Shelburne

  • Ted and Mary Cromack at the Arms Academy all-class reunion on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/BELLA LEVAVI

  • The Arms Academy all-class reunion included a parade on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/BELLA LEVAVI

  • The Arms Academy all-class reunion included an ice cream social. STAFF PHOTO/BELLA LEVAVI

  • The Arms Academy all-class reunion included a parade on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/BELLA LEVAVI

  • The Arms Academy all-class reunion included a parade on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO/BELLA LEVAVI

Staff Writer
Published: 6/26/2022 4:39:07 PM
Modified: 6/26/2022 4:38:37 PM

SHELBURNE — Paul LaBelle looked through the old high school desks at the Shelburne Historical Society on Saturday, searching for his initials he carved 67 years ago.

LaBelle, along with about 100 of his classmates, attended the Arms Academy all-class reunion to celebrate the graduates of the beloved Shelburne school.

The Arms Academy was a high school for Shelburne and two neighboring towns that closed in 1967 prior to the establishment of Mohawk Trail Regional School in Buckland. Now every five years, the Arms Academy Alumni Association hosts an all-class reunion. Saturday’s reunion had been postponed twice due to the pandemic, but everyone was happy to be back.

“It’s like turning back the clock,” said Esther Davenport Clement, Class of 1954.

The reunion started with a parade leading to an ice cream social at the Historical Society, which was once the high school. There was also a luncheon later in the day.

Each class marched in the parade. Onlookers cheered from the sidelines.

“The parade shows we have a lot of spirit,” said Muriel Zraunig, president of the Arms Academy Alumni Association.

Mary and Ted Cromack, both Class of 1945, came to the reunion. They met while sitting in seventh-grade classrooms, and have now been together for 72 years.

Zraunig remembers attending prom in the gymnasium, across the street from the school building.

“I only went once,” Zraunig said as she looked for prom queens in the crowd.

LaBelle recalled spending lots of time in the principal’s office as a student. He managed to get hired to paint the principal’s porch that allowed him to “get off easy on the punishments,” he said.

Many attendees recounted the change that undertook when they switched to Mohawk Trail Regional School.

“It was a culture shock,” explained Jane Schechterle, Class of 1962. “Only three towns went to Arms; nine towns go to Mohawk.”

“I got to make new friends from other towns,” recalled Cynthia Tomasini, who was part of Arms Academy’s last freshman class in 1967.

“I remember the school being a labyrinth of rooms,” Tomasini said of Arms Academy. “We used to walk home with friends and get sundaes instead of taking the bus.”

Some reunion attendees still live down the street from the school, while others came from far away. According to Martha Donelson-Katz, Class of 1945, the attendee that traveled the farthest is from Mount Shasta, California.

Many members of graduating classes from 50 to 80 years ago are still friends today. Schechterle said eight members of her class still gather every few months.

Contact Bella Levavi at 413-930-4579 or blevavi@recorder.com.


Jobs



Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.


Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
 

 

Copyright © 2021 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy