Hurricane Irene wasn’t going to get in the way of the Lynn English High School Class of 1966 celebrating its 45th reunion Saturday night at Gannon Golf Course.
Approximately one hundred members from the school’s largest-ever class (657 graduates) braved the stormy pre-Irene weather to enjoy a night of reminiscing, socializing, dancing and singing.
The singing part came courtesy of classmate Maria Monteiro High, who has studied voice. High, mother of English basketball 1,000-point scorer Craig High and a former member of the school glee club, delivered two stirring songs that brought out plenty of emotion from her appreciative classmates.
Francie Avadanian Sudak, one of the key organizers, said the reunion was a go even with a hurricane in the forecast.
“Our class members are tough Bulldogs,” said Sudak, whose father, George “Abba” Avadanian, and sister Claire Avadanian Cavanagh, are inductees in the English Hall of Fame. “There was never a consideration that the reunion would be canceled.”
Sudak, who has attended every one of the class reunions, took over the leadership of the committee for the past two reunions. Classmates Gary Dancewicz, Gary Bogart, Kathie Moulison, and Marie Carbone also had major roles in organizing the event along with other members of the committee.
Sudak, who taught at the Tracy School for 28 years and now oversees early childhood programs for the city of Lynn, said that at one point 37 graduates of the Class of 1966 worked in the Lynn school system. Classmate Nick Kostan, who attended Saturday’s reunion with his wife Kathy, was the superintendent of Lynn schools at the time. Moulison was principal at the Brickett School during Kostan’s administration.
“Nick and I were best friends in high school,” recalled Sudak. “He was a great classmate and student in high school and an all-around kid. He was very conscientious and got along with everybody as he continued to throughout his career.”
The class had its share of standouts on the athletic field. Dancewicz, son of former Lynn Classical High School and Notre Dame football star Francis “Boley” Dancewicz, went on to play football at Boston College.
Gary Dancewicz was the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs while Gary Bogart and Chucky Saia were other stars for the Bulldogs football team that was coached by Walter Boverini (“He was a good coach and a great guy,” said Dancewicz).
Though his father Boley was a legendary player at Classical and later coached two seasons for the Rams, Dancewicz found a home at English.
“Because my father played at Classical and I was once the team’s water boy, I always had a soft spot for Classical, but once I went to English, that’s where all my friends were so I had no problem being a Bulldog,” said Dancewicz, whose son Matt played football at Dartmouth College. His nephew Mark Spinney is a starting right guard for the Boston College football team.
Dancewicz said he enjoyed seeing his classmates at the reunion. “It was a good time. Francie is really the one who really ties the whole thing together. She’s the driving force.”
Sudak said the Class of 1966 annually donates a $1,000 scholarship to a Lynn English graduating senior. Sudak and Dancewicz personally present the scholarship at the annual senior awards night.
“We’re able to give a scholarship as a result of the generosity of our classmates,” said Sudak. “We want to give back to the school that gave so much to us. Many of us have children who have benefited from scholarships and we know that every little bit helps pay for the cost of a college education.”
Though she currently resides in Beverly, Sudak said she still loves the city and its schoolchildren.
“My heart’s in Lynn,” said Sudak. “I’ll always be a Lynner. I think a lot us went in to the field of education because of what he got at Lynn English – great guidance and a passion for teaching and growing up in Lynn.”