Telstar High School celebrating 50th anniversary

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BETHEL — A class of 91 high school seniors walked through the doors of a new school for the first time on Sept. 19, 1968.

Nearly 50 years later, they’re coming together to lead the annual Molly Ockett Day parade at 11 a.m. Saturday.

The class will have two convertibles in place of a float and classmates will ride in cars throughout the procession. Teachers from the first year have been contacted about participating. Multiple classes will have floats in the parade.

Greenwood resident and head of the 50th anniversary committee, Sally Smith, is organizing many of the events. Smith’s husband, Ronnie, is a member of the Class of 1969.

In addition to the parade, Smith said, there will be a booth on the common selling keychains, magnets, buttons, wristbands and T-shirts, all related to the first graduating Telstar class. T-shirts will cost $10; all souvenirs will be $1.

The shirts were designed by Seneca Corriveau of Gilead in Telstar colors of blue and white.

“My big thing is to ask people to dress in blue and white,” Smith said. “We’re in it to show the pride of Telstar.”

Smith said the committee will host activities during homecoming weekend this fall, including a dance and competitions among other classes.

The next committee meeting is at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, at the Telstar Library for all who wish to attend.

Fun facts 

• The 1968-69 ski team, headed by coach Tim LaVallee, was the Class B regional champion. The plaque awarded to the team was the first to go into the trophy case.

• The first principal was C. Richard Vaughn.

• Jim Johnson scored on a 40-yard touchdown run, which was the first touchdown scored from scrimmage by the Satellite Eleven football team, as they were known the first year of the high school. The touchdown made the difference in a 13-7 win over Williams High of Oakland.

• A photo of the Telstar 1 satellite was originally supposed to be on the yearbook cover, but a printing error forced the yearbook committee to cover it over with a different design. The Andover Earth Station in Andover was one of the first satellite Earth stations in the U.S. It was built by AT&T in 1961 to communicate with the Telstar 1 satellite, the first direct relay communications satellite, according to NASA. It provided the first experimental satellite telephone and television service between North America and Europe. The station was dismantled in the 1990s, but Telstar 1 still orbits the Earth.

• An executive from AT&T was the dedication speaker for the new high school on Route 26.

• The first graduation was held Friday, June 13, 1969, in the gymnasium.

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