The birds were a worry.

Fifty-one years ago, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School class of 1970 was busy planning our senior year events. We had come together four years earlier from the six towns, strangers to each other. In four years, we had become unified to accomplish as much as we could. We produced two plays and a musical variety show, forecasting RuPaul by several decades. We convinced the school board it was okay for girls to wear jeans.

After a raucous town meeting, we almost won the ability to drive to school.

Fortunately for the next classes, permission was granted. We wanted our graduation to be unique. The result is a 50-year Island tradition of graduations at the Tabernacle, where since 1970, the first event on the Camp Meeting
Association’s summer calendar is the MVRHS graduation.

But the high school administration was worried, as graduation had never been held outside the (hot, stuffy, cramped) gym. How would we get there? Would there be enough parking? Would the association even welcome us? And most worrying was the hazard of the birds. Our class leaders, Greg Orcutt and Kerry Scott, presented the plan to the association and they welcomed us right away. Their only stipulation was that each graduating senior would be given a copy of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union pamphlet. We did receive a copy, each of us. And we were the first class of seniors to have our class photograph set in the Tabernacle.

Now it is 51 years later and time for our special reunion. Postponed from 2020 due to the pandemic, the class will reunite on Saturday, Oct. 23 at the Edgartown Yacht Club. A repeat photo opportunity will be held at the Tabernacle Sunday afternoon, Oct. 24.

Some of us haven’t seen each other in 51 years, while others have connected almost daily. In those years we have tried to continue our accomplishments. Among our classmates are three members of select boards, police officers, a county treasurer, a town manager. We have a bank manager and a bank vice president. Social workers, town department heads, every trade imaginable and the poet laureate of Edgartown

You’ve seen us in stores, as nurses in the hospital, as teachers in most of our Island schools. We have volunteered at blood banks, charitable events up and down, street fairs and parades. We have served our country in the armed forces. We are environmentalists, activists, fishermen, sports enthusiasts, loving parents and grandparents.

We were part of the founding group of Minnesingers, and one of our class members came up with the name, a wonderful legacy. Some of us made our lives off-Island in business, software, higher education, in every industry. We’ve traveled all over the world and stayed right at home. We’ve tried to do everything. At the reunion we will try to count the children and grandchildren that form our continued families, all with a love of our Island and the friendships that brought us together.

At future graduations, think of the history that preceded and the future to come for the graduates. But don’t worry about the birds. We took care of that.