Class of ’48 Returns

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Sixty years after their commencement celebration at the Bridgehampton School, four members of the Class of 1948 strolled through the school with principal Jack Pryor, marveling at how much had changed, but how so much has remained the same.

On Friday, June 27 Shirley Adams, Doris Edwards, Frank Raynor and Jacqueline Sandford-Sczenkowski were invited to the school for a tour of the grounds prior to their class reunion luncheon, accompanied by Frank’s wife Joan, and a member of the Class of 1949.

Similar to the current state of the Bridgehampton School, the school was small — the Class of 1948 graduated just 19 students, and according to Pryor, next year Bridgehampton hopes to graduate almost as many. As Raynor noted while standing at the entranceway to the gymnasium, small class sizes were not the only thing that has stayed the same, but also the gym where he and his three male classmates played intramural basketball with their homeroom teacher — who made it possible for them to field enough players.

Every year this dwindling group of former classmates gets together, although as Adams explained “the girls” get together at least once a year, if not more often, to catch up and share stories. Seeing the school again — which many remarked has structurally remained very much the same — was a special addition to the day, as they meandered through each classroom, recalling moments like when the hurricane of 1938 swept through the East End, and the first floor classroom where they weathered the storm.

The library, a second floor space that has been partitioned off to include the school’s burgeoning technology center, wowed the group prompting Adams to joke, “I think I am glad I got into school when I did.”

The class was equally impressed with the growing language programs offered at Bridgehampton and in particular that foreign language teachers Nancy Bagshaw and Biana Stepanian speak five foreign languages, one remarking how she wished the school had focused more on programs like foreign language in her day.

One change noted in the school that the girls in particular talked about was the absence of a Red Cross room — a place, Adams noted, where students would go to fold bandages during the war effort. Other historical differences included the price of admission to the junior prom in 1947 — 50¢ per couple.

“It was $1 if you went stag,” laughed Edwards.

The Bridgehampton Historical Society, which had photographer and Bridgehampton fan Kathryn Szoka on hand to photograph the tour, will assemble living biographies on alumnus from the school through current students at Bridgehampton in an effort to preserve and document the hamlet’s history, said Pryor. The project will be ongoing next year. 

Above: Returning “students” Jacqueline Sandford Sczenkowski (center) and Shirley Adams share a laugh with Bridgehampton School Principal Jack Pryor during a class 60th reunion and school tour on Friday. (michael heller photo) 

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