Onteora’s class of 1967 plants tree to remember departed classmates

The Onteora Class of 1967 held its 50th class reunion with a three-day weekend in September, and as a result a Blue Spruce tree was planted on the grounds of the Middle/High School on Route 28 in Boiceville. Alumni titled it The Memory Tree to remember 26 classmates out of 152 who have passed away. Alumna Laurel Olexa said, “We wanted this shown in the paper, since many of our deceased classmates still have family in the area, we would like them to know about the tree.”

The decision to plant a tree in remembrance grew organically during the reunion when Olexa said after doing a “bit of detective work, did we realize we lost 26.” Classmates had nametags and photos of each person who died, accompanied by a roll call and moment of silence.

Memories prevailed on the first day of the reunion at the Boicvelle Inn on Route 28, where Olexa believes over 100 people attended from all of the country. On the second day of their reunion, classmates took a tour of the Middle/High School, remembering the days when the school was still under construction. “I learned two things after my reunion,” she said. “Number one is how well all my classmates are doing, and number two is how many successful women came out of that class!” She continued, “Most people don’t realized how many talented kids come out of this building, this district has a good educational foundation, and people may complain about high taxes, but it’s worth it.” The reunion ended with a picnic and there is talk of getting a plaque for the tree that will inform people of its special meaning.