By Bonnie Adams, Government Editor
Northborough/Southborough – As students at Algonquin Regional High School (ARHS), Eddi Magay's and Bill Davis's days were packed with classes, sports, extracurricular activities and friends. But the world was on the precipice of major change when they attended ARHS – they graduated in 1962. And although much has changed since that more innocent time, the two said, one thing has been constant – the memories of friendships they made five decades ago.
On Oct. 5, Magay (nee Boucher), Davis and four of their classmates were treated to a private tour of ARHS by the school's Principal Thomas Mead and Dr. Charles Gobron, the superintendent of the Northborough-Southborough School District. The visit was a prelude to the Northborough High School Alumni Association Homecoming Celebration, which was scheduled for the following day.
Magay said she thought it would be fun for her classmates to see how the school had changed in the 50 years since their graduation.
“We all went to schools in either Northborough or Southborough through ninth grade,” she recalled. “We were the third class to graduate from the new school.” ?(ARHS opened in 1959).
Although only a small group was able to attend the tour, it was a visit filled with stories, laughs and a bit of melancholy as they recalled those classmates, teachers and staff who for various reasons were not able to join them.
Butterfield noted how Davis had caught a pass to score in the waning moments of the 1961 Thanksgiving football game against Westborough. In doing so, ARHS won, 12 -8, and more importantly, Butterfield said, ended a 13- year losing streak to their archrivals.
“It was a tremendous burden to end this streak,” Davis said, laughing. “My wife hates that we still talk about this, but what if I had dropped the ball? I's be known as Bill “Buckner” Davis!”
Theater and musical productions, just as they are now, were a big part of the ARHS experience, Susan (Marble) Gately said.
“Almost everyone got involved in one way or another,” she said. “There were many things you could do besides acting. It was a great way to get to know your fellow classmates while having fun. Mr. [Anthony] Volpe directed all the shows. ”
Magay noted that she did the make-up for the productions, while Davis said he kept in the background, working on scenery.
“It would not have been good for anyone to have me be on stage,” he joked.
The group recalled the fun they had celebrating their prom, which had the theme, “Ebb Tide.”
Butterfield noted that the prom song had been “Moon River,” by Andy Williams.
“When I heard that [Williams] passed away the other day, it brought back memories of [the prom night],” he said.
On the tour, the group stopped to linger at the school's Athletic Hall of Fame display, where they reminisced about some of their athletic classmates. (Davis is part of the Hall of Fame.)
When Mead showed them a courtyard that is slated to be the school's Serenity Garden, they chuckled as they recalled the time a classmate, playing a prank, threw a dead skunk into that area.
Upon seeing a language lab outfitted with computers at each desk, Magay noted, “The most high-tech thing we had were headphones in Miss [Rita] Riley's language class.”
Computers, of course, were not yet part of their lives.
“I took personal typing with Miss [Rose] Farese],” Magay said. “I still think of her often when I type.”
Other teachers were noted with fondness including Assistant Principal John Ball, who Gately said, “was wonderful. He played a big role in student development.”
Gordon Noyes said Walter Pulsifer's civics class was one of his favorite classes.
“He really wanted us to argue points with him. It was a great way to learn,” Noyes said.
“Most of the teachers lived in the two towns,” Gately said. “We saw them around a lot. ?And when Miss Riley broke her foot, we were there to help her.”
“There really was a sense of neighborliness and a sense of comfort here,” she added. “Maybe it's because our class was smaller, it was the time, or the pressures kids are under now, but I think some of that is missing nowadays.”
“I only spent one year here, but it felt like home to me right away,” he said. “We really bonded with each other. All my best memories of my school years are here.”