News Roundup -- Class of ’54 to reunite/Veterans to be honored/$50K in city funds available

Class of ’54 to reunite

If school spirit means keeping in touch with your old classmates, then Bainbridge High School’s class of 1954 has it in spades.

Former classmates are returning to Bainbridge for a three-day, 50th reunion this Friday, coming from as far away as Texas, New York, Florida, Wisconsin and Michigan.

One week before the reunion, 40 classmates of 70 contacted – and four former faculty members – have said they will attend.

Although the class has been having reunions about every five years, “I’m looking forward to seeing classmates who haven’t come to other reunions (since grade school),” said Priscilla Callaham, an organizer and past hostess of several gatherings at her Bainbridge Island home.

On Friday, the class will tour present-day BHS and attend the homecoming football game where the BHS 1954 homecoming king Fred Nokes – now hailing from Oklahoma – and queen Laurel (Trask) Slaninka of Seattle will ride around the field in a convertible and crown the 2004 homecoming king and queen.

“The school is so happy because we’re doing all this,” Callaham said. “They say we’re the only class that does this.”

Saturday will see a tour of the newly re-opened Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, a tour of the island and dinner at the Sons of Norway Hall in Poulsbo. Celebrations conclude with a potluck picnic at Battle Point Park on Sunday.

There were 54 in the graduating class of 1954.

Many of them had gone to school together since kindergarten, but invited are all the classmates – even ones who graduated elsewhere.

Several students only attended Bainbridge schools while their fathers were stationed at Fort Ward.

Callaham said the Internet was a great help in contacting old classmates via email.

“Tracking them via the Internet was such a thrill for us and them,” said Hisa Matsudaira, another classmate and organizer. “We had such good memories of that time.”

Matsudaira says the class has remained close, as many friendships date from kindergarten. Back then, only two primary schools, Pleasant Beach and Lincoln, fed into the island’s high school.

“Most of us knew each other quite well, and we were an island. There was no bridge until later,” Matsudaira said. “The island was a lot smaller and everyone was a lot closer.”

As seventh-graders, they were the youngest at the high school since there was not yet a middle school.

“We clung to each other for security,” Callaham recalled.

When Commodore School opened, they were the youngest again as eighth-graders, and then the youngest again as ninth-graders in high school.

“I think that’s what kept us together,” Callaham said. “I think we stuck together like a security blanket.”

Callaham says there will be a lot of personal touches at the reunion including wooden bowls fashioned by classmate Pete DeGroot.

Callaham is making special place settings and favors with her husband and classmate Edward. Others are making a CD of class biographies and a commemorative reunion T-shirt.

For more information on the BHS Class of ’54 reunion, contact Priscilla Callaham at 842-2576 or Hisa Matsudaira at 842-1195.

– Tina Lieu

Veterans to be honored

A dedication ceremony for the new Veteran’s Memorial in Silverdale begins at 11:30 a.m. this Saturday to celebrate the contribution of local veterans to the security of country and county.

While many local and national veterans memorials exist across the United States, the new facility is said to be unique in its equal tribute to all service branches.

The Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines are all represented.

Kitsap County Human Services Planner Leif Bentsen, himself a veteran, has been involved in the project since its inception.

Bentsen said there are currently 37,000 veterans living in the county, while the continued military presence makes its presence here even more appropriate.

The memorial is comprised of a 50-foot-wide map of the world, on which veterans can walk and show their families where they served.

Kitsap County donated the land, while the $200,000 needed for the project came from privately raised funds.

This was a community effort spearheaded by the Silverdale-Sunrise Rotary Club and the Home Builders Association of Kitsap County.

More than 70 organizations were involved, according to Bentsen.

The dedication ceremony will begin with selections by the Navy Band and a Navy jet fly-by.

John Lee, Washington Department of Veteran Affairs deputy director will be the keynote speaker at the dedication, which will feature two numbers by local singer Katie Webster.

Kitsap Transit is providing shuttle service between Silverdale’s Waterfront Park and the north parking lot of the Kitsap Mall. People are encouraged to arrive early.

For more details and directions go to

– Charlie Bermant

$50K in city funds available

The city has budgeted up to $50,000 from the Civic Improvement Fund in 2005 for new and innovative projects that will promote tourism on Bainbridge Island and for the acquisition or operation of tourism-related facilities.

Volunteers and nominations are currently being accepted for the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee, which will review funding proposals as recommended by the Community Relations Committee of the City Council.

Any Bainbridge resident is eligible to serve on this committee, which will include representatives from the lodging and tourism communities.

Requests for proposals and applications for advisory committee membership are available from the Mayor’s Office at City Hall, 280 Madison Ave., Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 and on the city’s website at

The deadline for committee applications is Sept. 17 at 4 p.m. The deadline for funding proposals is Sept. 30 at 4 p.m.

For more information, contact the mayor’s office at 842-2545.

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