Student performances put shine on Pilgrim's 50th
It was better than a reunion, although, for some Pilgrim High School alumni, returning to the school that opened 50 years ago meant meeting former classmates and walking the familiar corridors of the sprawling building.
There were the memories, but what made Saturday night at Pilgrim so unique was that, in addition to the displays of memorabilia, todayâ€™s students brought the past alive.
With skits and music of each decade played by the school band and sung by the chorus for an audience of more than 700, there seemed to be something for everyone.
With a simple set of a cafeteria table in the middle of the stage, students dressed for the period talked about the issues and celebrities, their aspirations and raised the question, â€śIn 10 years, I wonder where weâ€™ll be?â€ť It was an effective way to poke fun at some of the trends down the decades, from hairstyles to dating practices, and to raise issues of where the school might be in the future.
Pilgrim grad Scott Avedisian said, when he became mayor, he was told he could not play favorites among the schools. He had to be neutral.
â€śLook at me,â€ť he said facing the filled auditorium, â€śIâ€™m still in black and white.â€ť Avedisian was wearing a dark suit and white shirt, close to a knockoff of the schoolâ€™s colors.
The mayor thanked the school for 50 years of great education.
He said the school has had an incredible effect on the community. Apart from its 15,000 graduates over five decades, he pointed to student leadership â€śthat really shines.â€ť He cited how school leaders set a goal to have all graduates certified in CPR and attained it.
â€śYou are helping lead the community and the state,â€ť he said. â€śA community grows because of our young people.â€ť
Other than the mayorâ€™s comments and the closing remarks of Principal Marie Cote (also a Pilgrim grad), the hour-long program was devoted to student performances. Songs of the eras had the audience tapping their feet and lip-synching. Skits featured five or six students representative of a cross section of the student population of the decade but universally Pilgrim Patriots. One line that had the audience laughing came in the first scene, as the group pondered where they and the school would be in another 10 years.
â€śItâ€™s only a year old and there are leaks in the roof,â€ť observed one performer.
Cafeteria food was a theme that carried through the decades, concluding with the schoolâ€™s chicken nuggets and speculation they could last virtually forever.
But the question was raised about the schoolâ€™s future, given the systemâ€™s declining enrollment.
â€śWeâ€™ve heard rumors about redistricting,â€ť was a line in the closing skit.
â€śThereâ€™s an incredible history here,â€ť Cote said, when the eveningâ€™s performances came to a close; â€śI hate to see it all fade away.â€ť
That history was very much alive Saturday.