Portales, Clovis high school reunions bring grads back

By Eric Butler: PNT staff writer

Fall is traditionally the homecoming season for schools and their alumni, but summer has more than its fair share of happy returns as well.

Reunions are in full swing for Clovis and Portales as former classmates get together to catch up and reminisce about the old days.

This weekend, the Clovis High Class of 1989 is staging its 20-year event while Portales alums from every graduating class from the 1960s are meeting up for one big reunion.

“I was really glad to come here. I drove all by myself — about eight hours,” said DaKrina Sheckels Ardoin of Burleson, Texas, while at a get-together at Kelley’s Friday night for the Clovis reunion. “It’s really weird to see everyone. Some of them haven’t changed an inch, but most of them I don’t recognize.”

“It’s just something I just really enjoy,” said Nancy Gentry, one of the chief organizers for the Portales reunion. “Just getting to see everybody – and feel young again, I guess.”

Gentry also helped stage an all-1960s reunion back in 1996. At that event, around 600 PHS grads signed up. This time around, she expects close to 350.

“Well, we’ve lost a lot of people and it’s Father’s Day weekend. People are busy and then there’s the economy,” said Gentry, listing the possible reasons for the decline in reunion numbers for the ‘60s classes.

Ironically, Gentry (Class of 1965) added that many former Portales High students from her decade who actually live in Portales won’t show up for the event. She said the most enthusiastic response is from out-of-towners returning home.

And, yes, she said she has caught a fair share of ribbing for staging the Portales reunion’s final event, a dinner and concert by the Fireballs, in Clovis.

“The reason I did it is that I was accommodating the people who like to have a drink and you can’t do that in Portales, except at the country club and we have too many people,” Gentry said. “In ‘96 we had it at Eastern’s ballroom, but then some went over to the VFW. I was trying to keep the crowd from splitting up.”

As opposed to the 1996 reunion, Gentry has been able to more fully use the Internet this time around.

That goes for the Clovis Class of ‘89 as well – 10 years after its last reunion.

“I honestly think that Facebook and the MySpace kind of thing has made it more exciting than what our ten year reunion was,” said Mike Thomson, a Class of ‘89 alumnus who’s helping arrange the schedule this weekend.

More than a hundred CHS graduates 1989 are expected to attend the reunion.

“You know, no one really knew who was going to come (in 1999),” he added. “Now we’ve been able to chat it up, talk about old times and tease everybody about losing that last 50 pounds.”

Thomson said there’s another reason for thinking that the 20-year reunion will be more enjoyable than the 10-year: Time.

“I think we’ve all matured and nobody’s going to be so worried about impressing people. It’s just going to really be about reconnecting and checking in with your friends,” Thomson said.

Clovis High Class of ‘89 reunion schedule today

7:30 a.m. Golf scramble at Chaparral Country Club

9:30 a.m. Tour of Clovis High School

12 p.m. Family picnic at Ned Houk Park

6 p.m. Banquet at Chaparral Country Club

Portales High 1960s reunion schedule today

10 a.m. March in Heritage Days parade

6 p.m. Dinner and Fireballs concert (Clovis Civic Center)