The world's sweetest high-school reunion is coming up on July 17 in Kenwood.
Alumni of several Santa Rosa High classes will be there, and the youngest of the bunch will be 92 years old, maybe 93.
Steve Ledson, the hotelier, winemaker and entrepreneur, hosts the annual reunion at his castle winery on Sonoma Highway. He invites all surviving members of the SRHS classes of 1934 through '38.
The elegant, all-expenses-paid reunion is a tribute to Ledson's late father, Noble, and to his former classmates who are still alive and able to attend the celebration. The elder Ledson graduated from Santa Rosa High — long the city's only high school — with the Class of 1934. Noble Ledson was 87 when he died in 2004.
Other luminaries among the Santa Rosa High graduates of that era include retired Air Force Lt. Col. George Conners, the late Enrico Traverso of the renowned Italian market family, late city builder Hugh Codding, late Press Democrat heiress Ruth Finley Person and late Rincon Valley School District superintendent and principal Douglas Whited.
The reunion of surviving pre-1939 Panthers makes for the nicest time, said Betty (Barr) Andrews of the Class of 1937. There is wine and hors d'oeuvres, dinner and then dancing under the stars.
"They play the old tunes, of course," said Betty, who's 94 and a retired law-firm assistant.
"A few people get up and move around, if you call it dancing," she said. She added that she's greatly amused see the high school's oldest alumni kick up their heels, and she's quite aware that she is one of them.
Any fellow graduates of the classes of '34 through '38 who would like to
attend the reunion and haven't yet RSVP'd can do so by calling Betty at 542-1272.
Steve Ledson has vowed to the alumni that he'll continue to host the party each year until the sole survivor shows up, and when that happens the two of them will simply go to the bar for a drink.
HISTORIC! Santa Rosa sophomore Stacey Olson came home from a trip to D.C. with a $1,000 check and something priceless.
The 14-year-old from Sonoma Academy won a first-place award in the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day competition. One of the elements that both she and the History Day judges liked about her exhibit was that it examines a momentous historical event many people know nothing about:
It was U.S. President Harry S. Truman's issuing of Executive Order No. 9981 of 1948. It mandated that "there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons" in America's previously segregated and discriminatory armed services.
Stacey, who happens to be the daughter of local History Education Project director Whitney Olson, made history of her own by advancing to the nationals for the fourth consecutive year and by becoming the first Sonoma County student to win a first-place award there.
The Santa Rosa native was joined at the capital by two students of Sebastopol's Pleasant Hill Christian School students, Nicole Shaeffer and Gillian Mangiapane. They earned a spot in the nationals with their website on Rosie the Riveter.
LONDON, AGAIN: If you're keeping count, this makes the third time in three years that Jennifer Lavin will be paid to go to England to observe an event much of the world will be talking about.