Hey Spike! assists locals organize 50th high school reunion
July 28, 2017
Two Friscoites with life-long connections are producing an addition to their 50th high school reunion for the graduates of Denver's George Washington High School in 1967.
1967 GW grads Rob Philippe and Peter Simon were among the many contacted by the earliest coordinators of the planned Sept. 8-9 reunion.
In typical Summit County-type thinking, they hatched a plan to add a daytime meet-and-greet in a Denver city park with food trucks and live music.
But early on, the writing was on the wall and it still looked like the old standard cocktail party one night and buffet dinner the next was going to be the scene.
Not good enough.
Both men have promotion and marketing in their backgrounds, so Simon, an international concert pianist, made a call to the Denver school board office. District officials there quickly offered up the high school at Monaco and Leetsdale for an open house with tours and would allow food trucks in the parking lot.
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Not quite what Frisco developer Philippe had in mind.
"Why not invite all of the teachers and staff from the 1960s to join in the fun?"
They were still not happy with seeing initial numbers RSVP-ing to the two routine planned evening events.
"You have less than 100 people out of a class of 900 coming to one or more events, not enough for a good party," Philippe says.
He mentioned the problem to Dillon real estate broker "Fast Eddie" O'Brien, who graduated with the GW class of 1969 with Philippe's younger brother, and the wheels started turning.
"Why not invite all 1960s GW graduates to come to the open house? This is a rare, one time only event," he adds.
O'Brien, also a promoter — including the Colorado Grand auto tour — jumped on the bandwagon and thought maybe he could deliver 75 grads to the Saturday lunch time event.
"Not good enough, still too few for a good party," Philippe says.
So Simon and Philippe set their goals on 300 attendees — if not more.
"Look at it this way," Simon says, "graduates from GW during the baby boomer heyday number in the thousands and how many drive by the old school every day, now they can go in and chance a meeting with an old teacher."
Philippe added, "There are dozens of GW grads in Summit County, either full-time or second homeowners. The '60s list of George Washington grads is a who's who of Denver; doctors, lawyers, business owners, civic leaders, artists, performers, some famous names and some infamous."
"Piano Boss" Simon, now rehearsing his next national tour, "The Spiritual Music of the Great Composers," adds there will be an open stage where the old '60s and '70s rockers can sit in and jam.
"We were in our senior year in 1967, but we were sophomores in 1965, and we attended school with freshmen from the future class of '69," Philippe commented. "That's a spread of five years, and we want as many of those fellow students to show up in the parking lot for a real reunion."
Hey, Spike!'s sisters, Marsha and Margo, graduated from GW in 1965 and 1967, respectively.
"We hope that the message will get out and we will be overrun with fellow grads on Saturday, Sept. 9, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m," says the GW trio.
They ask that GW classmates contact GW67.org to better plan the number of food trucks.
GW reunion schedule
Friday, Sept. 8:
hors d'oeuvres, dessert, with no-host bar from 6-10 p.m., at Infinity Park Event Center, 4400 E. Kentucky Ave., Glendale. Cost: $40/person.
Saturday, Sept. 9, two events:
11 a.m. to 3 p.m., gathering at George Washington High School; tour of GW by current students. Food trucks (buy food on your own). Cost: Free.
6-10 p.m., Wellshire Event Center, 3333 S. Colorado Boulevard, Denver. Cost: $85/person. Banquet, no-host bar, memorabilia, photo opps and music by Carey Steinberg and his Oldies Band. If you are a musician, bring your instrument so you can play music with the gang. If you're a singer, get ready to sing.
Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed "Spike," a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former hardrock miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social info to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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