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This High School Class of 1941 Just Celebrated Its 80th Reunion! YouTube via CBS Chicago
YouTube via CBS Chicago

Did you go to your 10-year high school reunion? How about the 20-year reunion? The 50th reunion?! Well, the Elkhart High School class 1941 just celebrated their 80th — yes, 80th — reunion and the turnout was inspiring!

Not Your Typical High School Class Reunion

Elkhart High School (EHS) was a school in Elkhart County, Indiana near the Michiana border. In 1972, it split into Elkhart Memorial High School and Elkhart Central High School but there’s still a large batch of grads who fondly remember the original school district. And some of them still get together every five years. The class of 1941, specifically, had a special bond and these old friends always make it to the recurring reunion event.

But they never expected to successfully reunite in 2021. With the deadly Covid pandemic resulting in the cancellation of so many events, getting together a group of at-risk 98-year-olds seemed out of the question. But thanks to the vaccine rollout, they were able to meet up in person — and just in time for the end of the school year!

The Class of 1941

via WDNU

The surviving high school alumni successfully attended an, albeit small, 80th class reunion lunch on May 19, 2021. The sweetly historic event was covered by local news stations, which allowed for specific alumnus to offer their thoughts publicly.

One attendee, Paul Thomas, was called “the personification of pep” in the Elkhart High School yearbook and that still rings true today. He oversaw the event, megaphone in hand, and spoke about the deep bonds shared by everyone there: “We went through rationing, tire rationing, sugar rationing, or meat rationing, and yet we survived it. We’re all 98 years old and we survived it,” he told WNDU but admitted that time takes its toll. “When people say you’re 80, 90, 98 years young, they’re nuts, you’re 98 years old,” he joked. But don’t worry. Even if they’ve slowed down a bit, Thomas and friends already hard at work planning the next reunion — for 2026.

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Emily Mack About the author:
Emily Mack is a staff writer for Rare. She currently lives in Chicago and has very strong opinions about where to find the best hot dog. She studied nonfiction writing at Columbia University in New York City, and recently graduated with the Ellis Avery Prize for creative writing. Her favorite topics are Cher, fast fashion, Chicago urban legends, and Jack Nicholson movies.
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