Heritage days to bring back Portales graduates

By Tony Parra: FREEDOM NEWSPAPERS

Organizers are hoping to have 71 years worth of Portales High School graduates at the Portales High School Reunion during the Roosevelt County 2004 Heritage Days on Friday and Saturday.
The reunion is also open to former faculty of Portales High, dating back to 1933. Registration for the event is on Friday at the Cornerstone Fellowship Church on the square, next to Valley Furniture.
“We lost many of our classmates to the Bataan Death March,” said Harold Knox, a member of the 1933 class. “I see Jack (Carr) at the senior meal site. I haven’t seen Janet (Lee) for years … ”
Knox said members of his class didn’t have cars when they went to school, so students walked around town. He said there used to be three movie theaters at Portales. When he was 22, in 1937, he said he paid $200 for a 1934 Ford.
“I was on the Portales football team and I was on the first football team at (Eastern New Mexico University),” Knox said. “We were in the middle of the Depression. I remember graduating from Portales and getting a $1 bill. I thought that was great.”
Reunion organizers are encouraging Portales graduates to reminisce about their high school days by cruising down First and Second streets from Town and Country to Wagon Wheel from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday.
Sharon Davis, who works at Calton Furniture and was a Portales High graduate in 1968, said she remembers cruising down that strip down the center of Portales. That’s where she met her future husband, George.
Barbara George, who was a Portales teacher from 1966 to 1991, said she knew people in Levelland, Texas, were organizing a combination class reunion and thought it would be a great idea for Portales.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing many of my ex-students,” George said. “They were like my family.”
George helped organize Portales’ Maypole celebration for 25 years. She was also the coach for track, the cheerleaders and the mock trial team.
George and Sharon Davis are helping to organize the reunion. They said it’s the first year for Portales.
Sharon Davis said she’s heard from former Portales graduates from across the southwest. She said she’s surprised by the number of graduates who moved to Albuquerque. According to Davis, most of the responses have come from the classes of the 1940s.
“We’d like to get more responses from graduates living in Portales,” Davis said. “We need people to register on Friday so we can know how many meals to have ready for the banquet.”
George said Portales Mayor Orlando Ortega will be giving a proclamation at the banquet — Ortega was a PHS graduate in 1980. She also said Glen Fields, who taught industrial education and drafting for 31 years, will be the master of ceremonies.
“It’s another reason to come to Heritage Days,” Fields said. “Lots of graduates go off and don’t come back because they no longer have family in Portales. This will give them a reason to come back.”