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It Was 30 Years Ago Today

The R.E. Lee Class of 1981 attended their final commencement activity on the evening of June 9. 30 years ago we were sitting smack in the middle of the football field surrounded by friends and family, we shook Mr. Jackson’s hand and received diplomas. One of us ran from the stage, whooping and hollering, and disappeared into the night.

We marched into the stadium as the sun was just settling just beneath the horizon. The stands were full of friends and family. Some of the older family members were in their wheelchairs, lined up along the track. Our little Lancer Stadium wasn’t the Patriot Center, where so many Fairfax high schools graduate today, but it was more cozy and appropriate than a big-ass arena.

The Lancer Band was playing that relentless tune as we found our assigned seats. When everyone was settled, Patty Anderson shared her thoughts as Valedictorian while cars were zipping by on Franconia Road, occasionally honking or hollering (with good wishes, I’m sure).

We were all looking spiffy in our nice clothes, but those were under our royal-blue cap and gown topped with blue tassels (gold tassels for Honor Society members) with a little gold “81” dangling from the blue strands. I sure do remember thinking, “why dress-up under these gowns when nobody will see what’s under our gowns.” Anyway, we did. I’m pretty sure my “dress shoes” were slowly peeling the flesh from the back of my heels throughout the evening.

Look What I Found

A pile of mementos from the end of our senior year. Scroll down in this page to see all the images but here are some highlights. Click any image to see it larger!

The Senior Memo from 1981

Senior Memo

It’s the “Senior End of School Memo” – an old mimeograph (no, it does not still have that crispy smell when you slip it past your nose). This nifty little schedule goes way back to May 17 for the Senior Reception and includes all the graduation-related activities through June 9. Yes, that’s a little doodle “bleeding through” from the back of the paper. What can I say? I still doodle today. Click that little image to see it larger.

1981 Graduation announcement

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The graduation announcement, looking very fancy with that scripty typeface and the Lee Lancer “coat of arms” (is that what that’s called?) sporting the message Veritas et Scientia (latin for “Truth and Knowledge”). I have no knowledge of sending any of these things out—and that’s the truth. We found a few of these in a box full of stuff. Was there anything else that was to accompany these announcements?

Graduation Program cover

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We found the program, all six pages of it! Scroll down in this page to see the entire collection of all six pages. The program from 1981 includes details from Monday and Tuesday evening. This helps me realize how much of those events I don’t remember. Did we call that “senioritis?” Check out three full pages of grad names—not bad, Class of ’81!

R.E. Lee High School Diploma circa 1981

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It’s a diploma! Tucked inside the dark-blue cover with gold-embossed lettering is the (very fancy) diploma. Do you still have yours? This is Terri’s. I have absolutely no clue where mine is. Perhaps they asked for it back. But wait, what’s this little thing? It’s a cute little “mini diploma” that is laminated to keep it safe inside your wallet… I guess. Anyone ever find any use for that mini diploma, other than picking the lock to a friends dorm room?

1981 charm and "key" package

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This is (I think) weird – a little “charm” for a bracelet and a package that was to contain a “class key” (which we can’t find). Anyone have one of these class keys? I bet there were many other little trinkets that were offered for purchase. Do you have anything other odd items from graduation? Do they still sell that kind of stuff to high school grads? They probably do, and many more things that would leave me scratching my head.

Lancer football circa 1980

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Lee Lancer 'letter' circa 1980

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A couple things that had NOTHING to do with graduation, but still fun. We found a little, white football from a game. The football was “sponsored” by Logan Ford. Remember these things? Cheerleaders would toss ’em into the stands, then some of us would run beneath the stands to grab the footballs that fell through the hands of Lancer fans. There’s also a big “L” letter (Terri’s, not mine) but no letter jacket for this one.

That’s all we have for now. We’ll share more when they are discovered.

Share Your Memories

These are things I remember. Now share the things you remember! Click this to send a note and your images via email.

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