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Class of 1969 tours old Medina HS, which classmate is turning into apartments

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Donna Seitzer of Medina attended Medina High School’s Class of 1969 reunion Saturday with her sister, classmate Joyce Seitzer Scott (in background). They look at the posters on the wall of the high school showing the historic properties classmate Roger Hungerford is restoring.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 13 August 2019 at 5:17 pm

Roger Hungerford, right, a member of Medina High School’s Class of 1969, chats with Charles Slack during a get-together Saturday at the former high school, which Hungerford is restoring. Hungerford hosted the class in a reception and tour of the building.

MEDINA – The Class of 1969’s high school reunion last weekend was special in more than one way.

Not only was it their 50th class reunion and a time to discuss pains, operations and children, but classmates got to tour their old alma mater, which is being restored and repurposed by classmate Roger Hungerford.

After a get-together Friday at Fitzgibbons, Hungerford, who plans to turn the former Medina High School into upscale apartments called Mustang City, provided hors d’oeuvres, wine and champagne in the area which formerly housed Lee Whedon Memorial Library.

Before embarking on a tour of the building, classmates posed for a picture in front of the high school.

Gary Apps and his wife from Kalamazoo, Mich. try to attend his reunion every five years. After graduating from Medina High School, Apps attended Cornell University, Texas A&M, Western Michigan University and Cooley Law School. After receiving a law degree, his love of automobiles prompted him to pursue an automotive degree from Kalamazoo Valley Community College, “so he could work on cars,” he said. He also owned Dan’s Cans in Medina until deciding to sell it this summer.

Bob Martin of Medina said this was the third reunion he had attended. He didn’t want to miss this one because it was “kind of a milestone,” he said.

John Pratt of Medina attended with his wife Sharlene.

“It’s so nice someone has such vision to restore the high school,” Pratt said. “So many of us graduated from this school and to see something positive being done with it is beautiful.”

The rooms which formerly housed Lee-Whedon Memorial Library at Medina High School were turned into a reception area for the Class of 1969 reunion Saturday. Here, chefs Jose Ocasio, left, and Lionel Heydel, who will run a new restaurant in Bent’s Opera House, arrange hors d’oeuvres for classmates, before a tour of the old high school.

“Our MHS Class of 1969 Reunion Committee, on behalf of the entire class, want to thank Roger for his generosity and hospitality in offering the tour of our high school, giving us an opportunity to once again walk our ‘Hallowed Halls of Ivy,’” said Sarah Christy Gibson. “We are grateful for his dedication to Medina and his efforts in restoring some of Medina’s historic properties. The tour was very informative, giving us all insight into his plans for the restoration and reuse of our beautiful old school.”

The Class of 1969 graduated 170 students, although 205 were listed as one-time class members. Some moved away prior to graduation and did not graduate with the class.

Hungerford’s memories of high school include the time he was chastised by his teacher, Vito Misiti, for not doing his homework.

“It was the fall of my senior year,” Hungerford said. “He asked what I was going to do next year. I had been early accepted into college and Vito asked how long I expected to stay there. I told him until I graduated. He said, ‘I give you three months.’”

The Class of 1969 poses outside their alma mater during a reception and tour of the building Saturday hosted by classmate Roger Hungerford, who is converting the high school into apartments. Hungerford is in the front row near the center in the pink shirt.

Brian Napoli, who said their class was the first ninth-grade class at Wise Junior High School, said he couldn’t believe it had been 50 years since they graduated.

“This building needs a lot of work, but it will be very beautiful,” he said.

The class was honored to have their Foreign Exchange student, Carlos Antonio Dantas De Oliveria from Natal, Brazil, attend his first class reunion.

He said this was such a special reunion, he had to come.

“The school has changed, but for the better,” he said.

Annette Strickland Allport, a member of the Class of 1969, talks with chefs Jose Ocasio and Lionel Heydel during a reception at the former Medina High School, hosted by classmate Roger Hungerford.

Annette Strickland Allport of Florida has previously attended the fifth, 20th, 25th and 40th reunions. After graduating from Medina High School, she majored in music at college and taught music for 20 years in Ithaca. She moved to Florida, where she transitioned into administration, then went back to teaching.

“I am so pleased with what Roger is doing,” she said. “I really appreciate his philanthropic efforts. It is great when someone can give back to their community, and that’s what he is doing. The things he is doing will have an impact on this community for 100 years or more.”

The Reunion Committee included, in addition to Gibson, Jim Heminway, John Misiti, Lisa South Misiti, Sue Bloom Kingsley, Rob Cook, Marcia Hellert Cook, Gloria Dubay Bath, Janet Hall Smith, Sue Hickey Slack, Brian Napoli, Patty Olinger Woodworth, Linda Schrader Paron and Arlene Wigley Pawlaczyk.

Brian Napoli of Medina, left, chats with classmates during a get-together of the Class of 1969 at the former Medina High School. With him are Gloria “Peachy” Dubay of Middleport; Gary Apps of Kalamazoo, Mich.; and Sarah Christy Gibson of Jonesborough, Tenn.

A dinner on Saturday evening at Shelridge Country Club for 49 class members concluded the reunion weekend. Class president John Misiti welcomed everyone and extended thanks to the Reunion Committee for putting the event together and to Hungerford for hosting the tour and reception at the high school.

Gibson has coordinated reunions and kept in touch with classmates for all 50 years. She came from Jonesborough, Tenn. to attend the reunion. During Saturday evening, the committee presented her with a print of the high school, which was originally given by John Misiti’s mother to the high school in memory of her husband, Vito. She had commissioned local artist Arthur Barnes to paint the picture.

“It is beautiful, and I am absolutely thrilled with it,” Gibson said.

The hallway at the old Medina High School on Catherine Street was lined with posters for the Class of 1969 reunion outlining the work class member Roger Hungerford is doing to restore several historic properties in Medina, including the high school. He has named the high school building Mustang City.

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