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'We were close friends' - Culpeper HS Class of 1960 reunion held a year late
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'We were close friends' - Culpeper HS Class of 1960 reunion held a year late

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Culpeper High School’s Class of 1960 gathered Monday afternoon at Best Western Inn for its 60th reunion, delayed a year by COVID-19.

Two dozen classmates—of the 96 or so in the graduating class—attended the jukebox themed luncheon at Best Western Inn, along with nine spouses.

Elvis impersonator Randoll Rivers set the tone with his silky vocals and hip-heavy moves. Class of 1960 graduate Lorraine Early picked the King of Rock and Roll for the day’s entertainment in honor of the same year Elvis returned home to America after serving in the U.S. Army.

It was a big deal at the time, she said.

Early took the business course-load while at Culpeper High School, when it was located in the building on Radio Lane that became the first Floyd T. Binns Junior High, and today houses the administration complex. Taking business classes served her well.

Early is longtime co-owner of Early’s Flooring Specialists.

“55 years this October,” she said of the successful Amissville family business.

Early was in charge of entertainment for the postponed reunion and decorations, which featured a jukebox cut-out, vintage records (“We love to dance,” she said) as well as high school memorabilia items, old yearbooks, photos and gold 1960 balloons.

“Our teachers were stern and made sure we learned what we were being taught,” Early said, asked her memories of high school.

The class has met regularly through the years for reunions. It will start meeting three times a year for luncheons in 2021, considering classmates are now approaching 79 and 80 years old, she said.

Around three dozen students from the class of 1960 have passed on, according to an “In Memoriam” section in a printed directory containing names and contact information.

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It was a fun-loving class, remarked Sanford “Sandy” Martin, retired from VDOT and a longtime chaplain with the Culpeper Police Department. He graduated from CHS in 1960.

“Everybody seemed to get along,” he said. “To care for everybody.”

Martin lived in Richardsville, 18 miles from school in the town of Culpeper. He recalled spending three to four hours on the bus daily.

He was involved with Future Business Leaders of America in high school and didn’t have time for much else. Martin met fellow classmate Payton Young, who lived in Lignum, in first grade and the two are still friends.

“It was different back in those days,” Young said, asked about his high school experience with the class of 1960. “We were close friends...a simple life then—it was more rural.”

He is a retired Fairfax County soils engineer.

Fellow classmate Otis Deal agreed.

“We were a uniquely close group, according to the principal,” he said of CHS Class of 1960.

It may have been because the teens were able to meet in town for high school after attending elementary school in various spread-out locations around the county, Deal said.

“We were starting to come together as as unit,” he said.

Deal played baseball and basketball in high school.

“We weren’t the best team, but we had a lot of fun,” he said, reflecting on the Class of 1960. “We were small, but we were close.”

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