Rock Island High School, Class of '54


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            The vision of your Class Reunion Committee has been realized with the completion of the new concession center at Rocky High School ! Conceived at our 50th reunion and fostered by generous contributions at that time, a plan, design and commitment was made to pursue this project.  Final design concept and engineering plans were developed by Gary Miner (54) and his consulting engineering firm. After months of development, gaining school administration acceptance and code requirements, the plan was presented to the School District 41 School Board in June 2006 for approval. Unanimous approval was given and the project was under way..

            Gary had already acquired quotes for the sinks, faucets and stainless roll-up security door and the orders were placed.  An on-site meeting with class volunteers, school officials and volunteer contractors was held and plans were modified immediately to bring the project within the bounds of our abilities and bank account. Within a week we were demolishing two brick walls, removing 14 lockers and clearing the once-storage-area of a second story floor and associated shelving and removing two layers of flooring.

            Our masons (Chris and Bryan Parks - sons of Dwayne Parks (54)) attacked the project with zeal and began by installing support timbers through the brick walls to allow removal of the bricks as well as placement of lintels to span the newly opened areas. Literally tons of brick and mortar were removed by and moved to the ground level and placed in outside dumpsters. At one point it was decided that 70 year old classmen were not totally capable of this task, and we enlisted four senior athletes to assist in removal and to help bring the concrete blocks and mortar (80 # bags) to the site.

            In August school started just as we were getting a good start so our working hours were reduced to week-ends and after school hours. The classrooms adjacent to the site are used every school-day for “intervention classes” [detention halls].

            Reviewing estimates for cabinets, counter-tops, flooring and other required materials, we concluded we were only about 50% funded for the project. That’s when we asked the rest of the class of ’54 to get behind this venture in order to ensure it’s completion.

            Within days of the mailings to get help, contribution began to arrive. When 60 days had passed, the Class of 1954 had made it’s statement very clear: Our total contributions had exceeded $10,000… What fantastic support for a cause where our association with the school had been separated by half a century. As you would expect, costs these days are a little more extreme than in the past, but with the exception generosity of people like the Parks boys, Jim Anderson (54) and his team at Bosso Electric, Tony Rosa-Gastaldo (54) and his talents for flooring, tile and other areas of expertise, Keith Smith (retired master carpenter who wasn’t even a student here) plus other local craftsmen, we have not only completed the project under budget, but have even bought a refrigerator and commercial popcorn machine as well as incidental furniture for the facility !

            The tireless efforts of four class members must be recognized: They were there to work alongside the contractors: busting their butts by moving brick, block and mortar, painting, and doing any dirty job necessary to make sure the job was done and done right. The core of the workers were Jack Ullemeyer, Jerry Wright, Bill Bartman and Fred Attwood. Harry Lester was in town for the Bix Concerts and he pitched in, too.

            On January 11, 2007, at the half-time of the Rocky women’s basketball game (and by the way they have a great team this year) our guys were presented with a plaque, being recognized by the Coach, Principal and girls from the team.

            Now, we want to thank YOU for the generosity, all of you that made this project a success. Our hope is that other graduating classes from Rocky may identify a need within the school and it’s organizations that they too may help resolve. This facility is for the use of all organizations witin the school that need a means of developing funds to support their activities. Principal Nate Anderson is already planning it’s use for the State Speech Competition to be held here in February.

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