Plato Township High alums gather for 70-year reunion
By Romi Herron For The Courier-News August 24, 2012 3:14PM
From left, front row, Lucille Miller Nelson and Bill Reese of Elgin, Florence Allen Vogel of South Elgin, June Chally Thompson of Morris, and Ann Schudel Christensen of Plato Center. Back row, Dorothea Colclough Stettner of Elgin , left, and Edith Rosboro
Updated: September 27, 2012 11:12AM
A row of hand-picked hydrangea blooms lined the center of the table recently at Colonial Cafe and Ice Cream in South Elgin, where seven classmates gathered to mark seven decades since they graduated from Plato Township High School.
“When we hit (age) 70, we decided we better start getting together every year now,” said the event’s coordinator, Dorothea Colclough Stettner.
That decision was 18 years ago; and although Stettner misses hosting the reunions at her home in Elgin, the hydrangeas from her garden were showcased as a memory.
“We used to have a picnic at my place, every five years,” said Stettner. “It gives us all something to look forward to, even though we’ve lost a lot.”
Joining Stettner were Ann Schudel Christensen, Plato Center; Edith Rosborough Emch, of Irvine, Calif.; William Rees, Elgin; June Chally Thompson, Morris; Florence Allen Vogel, South Elgin; and Lucille Miller Nelson, Elgin.
With several sheets of documented memories tucked neatly in a folder, Stettner reviewed the dozens of names on the class list, most of whom had passed away, fallen ill or moved too far away to attend. Tracking every one down is an arduous task for most, said Emch, adding that Stettner was always a go-getter.
“She’s ambitious, and she’s the only one who’ll do it,” Emch said. “She was the head of the class, I always thought anyhow.”
The central greeter for the occasion, Stettner welcomed each guest with a hug before bringing each into the party.
“We’re going to get a lot of hugs and kisses today,” said Stettner. “I’m a widow, and a lot of people are widows. So if somebody brings a husband, he’s going to get a lot of hugs — and I’m the first in line.”
South Elgin resident Shirley Collins brought her mother, Lucille, and said the annual event is a positive light in her mom’s life. Not only does Lucille’s home showcase a framed photo of the graduating class, she also eagerly awaits the reunion invitation each summer.
“My mom starting coming in 2006 and has only missed one, when she was in the hospital,” Collins said, adding her mother has had serious health challenges.
Stettner remains active and volunteers at Sherman Hospital in Elgin, where she started working when she was 17.
“I keep doing things like line dancing at the senior services center, and I take tai chi,” Stettner said. “That is good for you because you use every muscle, at least that’s what they tell me.”