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Chester alumni dinner honors 1928 graduate

WARRENSBURG Memories and laughs were abundant at the fourth annual Chestertown Central School reunion held Friday, and the event included an honor to one of the schools prominent alumni. Hosted by the Chestertown Alumni Association, the festive dinner was held at the Echo Lake Lodge in Warrensburg. All former students who attended Chestertown Central School prior to its dissolution in 1973 were invited. I think as you grow older you become more isolated, said association president and 1950 graduate Myrna Belden. This is an occasion to socialize with people youve known your whole life. Attending the dinner were 103 former Chestertown students, some from around the corner, others from across the country. Regardless of their current home, on this night everyone was a Chestertown alumnus. After the singing of the traditional alma mater, the festivities included special recognition for the members of the class of 1958 in attendance, observing their 50th anniversary of graduation. The seminal event of the evening was the lifetime achievement award presented by the Association to 1928 Chestertown graduate Ruth Montgomery McDowell. It was the duty of McDowells nephew and 1970 graduate, John Nolin, to eloquently present the story of a young womans intellectual growth in a time before multi-million dollar sports complexes or live-streaming news blogs. During Nolins presentation, McDowell sat and listened with a measure of grace that personified wisdom. Im overwhelmed, McDowell said. Things were so different when I started school in 1915. Throughout the evening, a Powerpoint slide show projected pictures that spanned over 40 years of the mid-20th century. Events, dances, plays and candid photos constantly scrolled, showing youth in all of its innocence. The mood was kept light by the comedic emceeing of Alumni Association board member Dana Smith. A 1964 graduate, Smith leveled crowd-pleasing shots directed at anything and everything. This tradition was a crowd favorite. This event brings so many generations together, Smith said. It keeps Chestertown alive. The evening concluded with recognition of every graduating class represented, recognition of former school staff, and an award for longest distance traveled for Alison Swanberg, who traveled from Seattle for the event.

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