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MHS graduates thru 1958 plan class reunion
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If you graduated from Manteca High School after 1958, you are too young for this class reunion.

This reunion is for all those who graduated from Manteca High – it was built in 1923 and was first named Manteca Union High – from the first graduating class up to those who graduated with the Class of 1958.

Organizers of this multiple-year class reunion, with the theme “A walk down memory lane,” are inviting everyone from those graduation classes to send in their reservations as soon as possible. The event is set for Saturday, April 11, in the Charity Way Ballroom of the Elk’s Lodge #1282 located at 645 Charity Way in Modesto (just off Kiernan Avenue).

Deadline for reservations is Monday, March 23. Those who would like to receive a reservation form can contact Eileen Mendosa at 209.823.4776 and she will have one mailed to you. The form includes information about accommodations where out-of-town alumni may wish to stay overnight, plus detailed maps with directions to the reunion location which was the same venue for the last one in 2013.

The evening will begin with a no-host social hour at 4:30 p.m. followed by a buffet dinner at 6:30 p.m. Cost for the entire evening, which will include music and dancing, is $40 per person.

Since space is limited, Mendosa suggests that reservations be made as early as possible. Attendance is limited to 300 only – graduates and guests.

This year, the reunion experience will be a double treat. The following day, April 12, from 1 to 4 p.m., the Manteca Historical Museum will play host to a special reception for the Buffalo graduates. One of the displays at the museum is a miniature replica of the school, complete with the tower that has gone the way of the wrecking ball a long time ago. The museum is located on the corner of West Yosemite Avenue and Sequoia Street.

Mendosa said they decided to have the class of 1958 as the cut-off point for these reunions because “naturally, we can’t include all the classes.”

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Reunion promises plenty of memories down memory lane

The theme of the evening is quite apropos, with the alumni especially from the Great Depression and World War II years, having plenty to share as they “walk down memory lane,” which is the theme of the evening get-together.

During World War II, for example, Mendosa recalled that “a lot of the boys at that time left school” to fight in the war.

“When the war was on, they left school to join the service,” she said.

Among those young men was her husband, John, whose father owned the Mendosa Clothing Store in downtown Manteca during that time. After the war, they took over the department store until it closed in 1960. John was in his junior year when he joined the service to fight for his country.

Those who were able to return from the war came back to get their credits completed for graduation. As for her husband, Mendosa said he went to Heald’s College in San Francisco to complete the rest of his high school education while taking business training at the same time. Later on, her husband came back to Manteca with all the necessary credits completed and applied for a Manteca High School diploma which he got. Eileen graduated with the Class of 1945.

This multiple-class reunion is held once every two years. The last one was held in 2013 at the same Elk’s Lodge venue in Modesto. About 300 attended that event, several of them from far-flung areas outside Manteca.

“I’d say, half of the people were from out of town – some as far away as from other states,” Mendosa said. 

There was one alumnus who came from Idaho, another from Florence, Ariz. Others came from Pismo Beach, Los Gatos, Redding, Walnut Creek, Elk Grove, and cities closer to home like Ceres, Oakdale, Ripon, and Stockton.

The evening’s program usually recognizes the graduate who travelled the farthest to come to the reunion, as well as the oldest graduate present. One person who attended the 2013 reunion was a member of the Class of 1937; another female was a member of the Class of 1939.

Mendosa said they are hoping to get together at least the same number of guests as they had in the 2013 class reunion.