My husband Tom and I worked for the Nogales Unified School district for 17 years, from 1974 to 1991. Throughout those years we were blessed with many wonderful students and friendships.
Tom and I met while teaching at Nogales High School. We married in 1976 and some of our students and members of Tom’s track team drove to Tucson to attend our wedding. Our lives together began in Nogales and we have enjoyed 43 wonderful years together.
When we left Nogales to teach in Wyoming it was bittersweet. The Rockies were a great place to raise our children and enjoy countless outdoor activities, but our memories of fun times in Nogales remain.
One of the great highlights of teaching at NHS was being the class sponsors for the Class of 1979. (However, during Homecoming float construction, I’m not sure we considered it a highlight! Vivid memories of making hundreds of paper flowers to stick in chicken wire skirting on a flatbed trailer are etched in our minds, and kids constantly running across the line to La Gran Feria to buy more tissue paper always kept us on pins and needles.)
Throughout the past 29 years we have kept very busy by raising our family, traveling, continuing our education and our careers in education – working with hundreds, if not thousands, of kids, but never forgetting those that touched our lives so many years ago in Nogales. In 2014 we retired from our careers in education and continue to live in a small mountain town in Wyoming.
In June, Tom attended a banquet in Nogales to honor the 1975 NHS state track championship team. While in Nogales, Rudy “Bugs” Molera asked Tom if we would attend the Class of 1979 reunion on Labor Day weekend, and offered lodging and tickets to the reunion festivities. When Tom returned home and he shared the news with me, I was thrilled. No matter what else was planned for the summer, we were going to Nogales to share this time with those wonderful “kids” who touched our lives forever.
What a time we had! The kindness and love shown by so many members of the Class of 1979 was beyond what we could have imagined. Celine Meyer filled our room at Rancho Santa Cruz with tasty goodies and a card welcoming us “home.” Anita Gallardo has not changed a bit since high school – she’s the same great organizer and workaholic! Manny Molera, Bugs, Pat Barton and Charles Bradshaw worked tirelessly alongside Anita and Celine to make everything perfect. Rancho Santa Cruz in Tumacacori was an amazing setting for this great event. We will never forget the great time we had.
To the people of Nogales who may not know how special the Class of 1979 is, let me remind you. Among its members are a federal judge, a doctor, a physicist who designs highly specialized homeland defense systems, CEOs of several national and international companies, teachers, school administrators, nurses, local government officials, law enforcement personnel, a Benedictine priest who is the chaplain for a major Pacific Northwest university and quite possibly your local postman.
The community of Nogales and its schools have produced many greats.
Thank you all for these very special memories. Your generosity and kindness remain with us always.