By Liz Premo
21 Voices / The Recreation Guide
A Publication of the Atlantic News
November 1999[The following article is courtesy of the Atlantic News]
HAMPTON -- Hampton Academy Junior High recently became the recipient of a special gift given by members of Hampton Academy’s Class of 1949, who were graduates of the educational facility 50 years ago, nine years after the structure became the town’s high school.
At a low-key but very special event, where nine members of the Class of ‘49 gathered near the school’s front office, a framed photograph of Hampton Academy as it appeared the year they graduated was officially presented to Principal Jan Yost on behalf the junior high, which has seen many changes in the half a century since the photo was originally taken.
Following the presentation, the guests were taken on a tour of both the original and the newer portions of the structure. Memories were shared as the Hampton Academy alumni walked through the halls, making stops at the industrial arts room which once served as the school cafeteria, and taking a peek inside the former school library, now home for the SPED department. A stop at the home-ec room caused one member of the group to comment on how they only had one stove back in ‘49, where as now multiple stoves are being utilized by students.
The Class of ‘49 had agreed on the idea of (and had the available funds for) this special gift at their 50th class reunion, held this year in June. Inspired by an idea by local historian John Holman (Hampton Academy Class of ‘47), the “49ers” obtained an original photograph from Holman, had it enlarged to approximately 36”x24”, and had it framed.
The completed project now hangs on the corridor wall near the front entrance of the school, across from the main office. It is hoped that two other photos (from when the first and second additions to the school were added) will eventually be displayed in the same manner.
Of the 40 original graduates of the Class of 1949, 36 remain, and they still keep in touch after all these years. Though scattered around both New Hampshire and the United States, many of them maintain summer homes in the state, and several still live in Hampton. The “49ers” who were present at this most recent event were Irving Strout, Jr., Bob and Jo-Ann (Pelkey) Daniels, Gwen (Spear) Eames, Mary (Williams) Petit, Dudley Autio, Paul Lessard, Gwen (Paul) Aubrey, and Priscilla (Hoyt) Triggs Weeks, who has been employed at HAJH for the past 26 years and whose husband, fellow “49er” Alan Weeks, had planned to be at the event but was unable to because of a previous engagement.
The Class of ’49 intends to continue to hold reunions yearly, and they are proud of their alma mater, both as it was when they were students and as it is now, with all the changes that have been made since the “49ers” received their diplomas a half century ago. Comments Priscilla Triggs Weeks, “We had pride in our school. It was a wonderful example of the latest in education .... a state-of-the- art school.” She and her fellow classmates are pleased to see that HAJH is continuing that very same tradition.