The class of 1963 will get special recognition for their unusual standing in history when Basalt holds an all-class reunion Saturday, Aug. 31 for high school graduates through 1999.
Basalt holds its all-class reunions every five years and it is a tradition to honor the class of 50 years ago, said Janice Duroux, who is helping organize the event along with her husband, Leroy, and Ann Stewart, a Basalt graduate and retired middle school teacher.
The class of ’63 has special distinction. “This is the first class that came back from being in Carbondale,” Duroux noted.
The state consolidated Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs into a school district in the early 1960s and decided Basalt students should go to Carbondale for high school. Prior to consolidation, the high schools were known as Basalt Union and Carbondale Union. The name of the Carbondale school was changed to Roaring Fork to ease the sting of consolidation for the Basalt kids, and the new school took the gold color from Basalt and combined it with the blue of Carbondale, according to Duroux. The team name was changed from the Carbondale Union Bulldogs to the Roaring Fork Rams.
Despite the best efforts, the consolidation didn’t sit well with the farmers and ranchers of the Basalt area. A high school is a big part of a community’s identity, Duroux noted. Proud Basaltines didn’t want their kids to go to school in another town even though some classes were small before the turn of the century.
Duroux said 22 kids graduated in her class of 1968. “Some years there were only four or five,” she said.
They eventually prevailed and after two years of forced consolidation, the Basalt High School was reopened.
So, the Basalt kids in the class of 1963 spent their freshmen year at Basalt Union High School, then their sophomore and junior years at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale, then graduated from Basalt High School, Duroux said.
Graduates will be able to reminisce about all sorts of issues from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 31 at Basalt High School. Attendees are asked to bring a potluck dish.
As an added treat, they can attend the Roaring Fork at Basalt High School football game on Friday night, Aug. 30.
Anticipating turnout at the reunions is nearly impossible, Duroux said. “The last time I thought we’d have 200 and we had 500,” she said.
The graduates from out of town tend to love coming back and catching up with the news. The graduates who stayed in the Roaring Fork Valley tend to have a poorer attendance record at the reunions, she said.