Class reunions are a big part of rural Nebraska, as small towns enjoy welcoming back graduates from over the years.
The community of Swanton is very proud of the class reunions they hold in the Saline County town of 94. Although Swanton High School no longer exists, and students now go to Tri-County School, many graduates still like to come back and relive their high school days. There have been class reunions held in Swanton since 1925. It's now held every two years. As you can imagine, there's plenty of work that goes into putting on the event. "We meet in February or March, and decide on a theme," reunion organizer Mari-Ann Pesek said. "We send out invitations in March or April, we choose a caterer, and we go from there."
The reunion is held in the old Swanton High School auditorium. The Swanton High School started out as a wooden building. Then in 1909, a brick building was constructed. "It functioned as a school until 1966, but the last class gradating was in 1961," Pesek said. The auditorium where the reunion is held was built in 1954, and served as the high school gym. It's the only remaining portion of the high school. "We thought we were really uptown in here. Before that, we had to serve volleyball backed up against the wall," Pesek said.
Not as many people are coming to the class reunions as in years past. The decreasing numbers are due to the fact that graduates are getting older. "One year we had 300," Pesek said. "Now we are down to about 50 or 60. We are getting smaller all of the time, but we still like to get together, and the people like to come back home." It's not clear yet if organizers plan to have another class reunion, but the hope is that another one will be held in two years at the Swanton High School auditorium, home of the Jackrabbits!