The Class of 76

CLASS OF 76 – CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL – ST. JOSEPH, MO

Every once in a while the great God Almighty kicks it up a notch…the universe swells with an especially surging energy, and the connected among us feel the greatness that lies between and within our souls. We usually can’t put words to it. We try, we feel, we think, and we search to express this greatness with others. But words and expressions just don’t always connect. This is reality, and we must live with it. 
But, and I mean this with all intentions of communicating what we all experienced this reunion weekend, we were alive beyond our means. We resurrected the SPIRIT OF 76. Together we were better than we’ve ever been. This weekend we connected in a manner that was more than befitting the measures we struggled to create as nubile Freshmen, as beguiling Sophomores, as accomplished Juniors, and as celebrated Seniors. We felt it, but some of us didn’t quite know why we deserved it….but we did. We were extraordinary…and we deserved it. And whether we realize it or not, we created this magnificence together.
Greg Hatten, the triumphant leader behind this weekend’s planning wrote two weeks ago, “Who IS the committee of ’76?
He went on to answer with his words, “It is the Central High School Class of 76 – the Whole class: It’s our Class; the ‘Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet’ Class and the Bicentennial “Spirit of 76” Class of Central.”
He said, “If you scroll back to the first posts about the “City Wide” Reunion and the posts that followed, there were requests for ideas, suggestions, and help. Many of our class members started sending me messages, texts, and voice mails about possible activities. It was pretty cool. It’s how Cool Crest was added, it’s how Friday night turned into a four bar pub crawl from a night at Norty’s, it’s how Dan Rice and Magoon’s got added, it’s how one golf course expanded to all three, and it’s how the Central Tour came about.
Continuing, he expounded, “I didn’t expect so many people to come forward with ideas – but they did and it was a very cool thing. So mid-way through this project, I started signing off the communications with “Committee of ’76” because our Whole Class had become the planning committee. All I did was take suggestions and connect some dots!
The WHOLE CLASS of 76 was the planning committee.

The WHOLE CLASS of 76 was the planning committee.
Greg made it clear, “This is an important point to me. If you have a chance, please remind folks that EVERYONE had the chance to be on the committee. The invitation was made with every communication. Some wanted to participate, some did not…. and that’s OK – no problemo…but EVERYONE had the opportunity and NO-ONE was excluded.”
Then recently Greg wrote to his fellow leaders, “Now, after a very wonderful weekend as I slide back into the state of neutrality, please help me do that and do not do that public recognition thing that I know you are tempted to do. It is unnecessary. And, while it’s been a little slice of heaven, I’m very happy to turn over the “Spirit Stick” to the next group or person that wants to start planning the next reunion. The transition will be seamless: All class email addresses are up-to-date and organized, there are spreadsheets, and tracking documents, and all kinds of contacts……… and I will turn them over in their entirety.
He finished with, “Thanks for involving me in this guys. I’ve really enjoyed the challenge.”
Greg Hatten

Committee of ’76
Greg Hatten began writing this letter to the committee a couple of weeks ago. Wherein he knew how amazing this event would be, I believe only now does he fully realize that the great force that we call God, or Universe, swelled with the fire that bestowed the powerful connection between us all. Some felt it more than others, but its radiance was bestowed upon us all.
The strength of its wonder rose Dooley Lawrence from the ashes. From this day forward he will experience a kick in his step that has been long in coming. Semi-outsiders like Mark Josendale and Tom Wall saw something weeks ago. After all of these years they felt the pull of St. Joe camaraderie. Technically, they didn’t graduate with us, they didn’t even spend that much time at Central, but this weekend they were part of something bigger. They were a delectable morsel of the whole town’s universe. At first, it was an idea. Then it became a necessity for them. They both told me, “Wouldn’t miss it for the world!”. Thanks for coming guys.
Where did this communal enlightening come from? How did we know that this weekend would be one of the greatest of our hard fought lives? Why did any of us show up? And the fact that those who did not participate still felt the power that was energized amongst us? Well, it was magical…it was priceless.
Greg Hatten should be recognized for his work. But the unseen spirit that began it’s work back in 1972 is responsible for a reward that we may never fully understand. It was a masterpiece that we struggled and at times enjoyed to create 44 years ago. And this weekend all of us got the privilege to share the magnificence of its artful accomplishment. It was a beyond-all-expectations weekend….and we deserved every morsel of it…every second of its warmth and love.
We are an unbelievable group of students, a remarkable gang of pioneers, and a respected conglomerate of heroes. Yes, we are all heroes. We have made it. We are still standing, and this weekend we got to revel in all of our successes with one another.
We are the CLASS OF 76 – the SPIRIT OF 76
May we all take pride of what we have accomplished…together!
But I am not done. We are not done. Theres is one more thing that we have to do if we are to completely fulfill our mission…our purpose.
We must now take what we have learned…what we have achieved…what we have struggled to find…and we must give it back to the people in our lives. We hold the elixir in the palm of our hands. And now we must give it back. We must forage back out into the realities of the world…and give them the medicine that they have been longing for. It is now our duty to lift up mankind. If we are to fully recognize our potential…our purpose in the universe of godliness, we must give our triumphs to our brethren.
I wish you great fortune. I expect you to thrive. I know that you will experience great abundance. And I believe that together we will enlighten our people in a manner befitting a lord which we shall never fully comprehend.
Congratulations Class of 76, but “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet”!!!!!!!!

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