Sunday, November 12, 2017

RIP Dave Mills, Class of 1969



Dave was named class athlete and was celebrated in this yearbook photo.

Dave died November 11, 2017.  Services will be held Friday November 17, from 4-6 p.m. at Saul Funeral Homes, 3795 Nottingham Way, Hamilton Square, NJ 08690.  Phone number: 609-587-0170.  Remembrances from classmates are welcome at the service.  Here the link to his obituary.
Dave at the 2009 reunion.  He was looking forward to the 2018 reunion and wanted to attend.
Dave snags a pass for the NPHS Canucks in this clipping from  The Courier News.


Friday, November 3, 2017

NPHS Reunion Interview: Janice Hansen Lake, Class of 1969

"Lab" partner: Janice earlier this year with her Labrador Retriever Harley.
What was your sense of community in your class/in the school at NPHS?  
Janice Hansen Lake:  It was great to be part of the Class of 1969.  We had a really fun and diversified group of kids in our class.  We had an extraordinary number of talented and gifted people and a general appreciation and acceptance of everyone, regardless of their personalities or interests.  1969 was a time of change and, like the rest of the world, we felt the need to be part of the change.  I felt proud of our class and will always be grateful to have known everyone!

What experiences in high school, positive or negative, helped to shape you as a person? 
Janice Hansen Lake:  Being accepting of everyone and friendly to all who wanted to accept my friendship has served me well through the years in all facets of my life.  My extracurricular activities at school, church volunteer activities and community volunteering during High School made it easy to continue being active to this day, which is probably why I enjoy planning our reunions.     

Do you have any regrets about your experiences during your high school years? 
Janice Hansen Lake:  Tough question.  I don’t have any regrets.  However, I do know that I could have made wiser choices in some instances.      

Now, 50 years later, has your perspective on your high school years changed at all?  If so, how
Janice Hansen Lake:  Not really.  I have very good memories. 

What is your fondest memory of your years at NPHS?  
Janice Hansen Lake:  I have many fond memories of High School as well as North Plainfield in general.  My family has been in NP since 1870, I raised my daughter there, my sister was the Principal at West End School and some of my family still lives in NP today.  As far as my High School years, I have the fondest memories of the friendships I formed.

What was the craziest or stupidest thing you did in high school?  
Janice Hansen Lake:  I did a lot of crazy and stupid things, some actually quite fun, but most of which I prefer not to put into print.  Thankfully, I didn’t get caught doing any of them!

What was your proudest accomplishment in high school?  
Janice Hansen Lake:  Trying out and being selected as our NPHS Mascot with Anne Proli.  Loved the experience!

Who was your favorite teacher? 
Janice Hansen Lake:  Ethel Abrams was the best and most personally supportive teacher at NPHS and my all-time favorite, hands-down!  She always had a smile, was never too busy to listen and brought the best out in everyone.  I had her as an English teacher three of my four high school years and am grateful to have known her.

What was your worst class? 
Janice Hansen Lake:  Spanish with Mr. Kianese. Although he was a great teacher and very kind to me, after 5 years of Spanish I could barely count to ten. I do remember a few words today which have helped me in our travels, but I really wish I had been a better Spanish student.  On the other hand, I loved my math and science classes.  I always thought Mr. McKenna made his classes interesting and was a good teacher.  Of course, if he caught you chewing gum in class, he made you run the track after school.  I imagine teachers aren’t allowed to make kids do that today!

What is your most powerful or haunting memory during your years at NPHS? 
Janice Hansen Lake:  I actually have two.  The first was JFK’s assassination.  I was in Miss Tirney’s 7th grade English class when the announcement was made over the PA system.  The second was the death of our classmate, Bob Gardner, in October 1968. I still remember how Mrs. Abrams gave us the entire class period to discuss anything we wanted about the car accident and helped us make some sense of the tragedy. It was a very difficult time for everyone in our class.

Did you own a pair of bell-bottom jeans in high school?
Janice Hansen Lake:  Yes, but couldn’t wear them to school.  Do schools still have dress codes?   

What was the first rock concert you attended while in high school and where was it?
Janice Hansen Lake:  I think it was Paul Revere and the Raiders, but I wouldn’t swear to it.  No idea where.  




Janice flies the school's colors as a mascot back in 1969.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

NPHS Reunion Interview: Gerry Burns, Class of 1968

Gerry tackles another adventure on a zipline in the Poconos in 2015.  
What was your sense of community in your class/in the school at NPHS?  
Gerry Burns:  The Class of 1968 was a very close class. As with every class, there were different groups of kids who hung out together based on interests and personalities.  There were so many of us were involved in extracurricular activities based on our interests and NPHS had a lot to choose from.   Clubs were very popular and attendance was strong.  Friendships were very important to us and club involvement fostered friendships that I still have to this day.

What experiences in high school, positive or negative, helped to shape you as a person? 
Gerry Burns:  My involvement in extracurricular activities and the encouragement I got from my teachers had a great impact.  I was a quiet, shy, average student going into NPHS.  I became not only a participant in many activities, but a leader of several clubs.  My grades also improved.  It really is true that the more you get involved the better your grades become… at least it worked for me.  I think it forced me to organize my time and to learn to work with different personalities.   I’m very organized to this day and like helping others.  I still volunteer in several venues within my community.   

Do you have any regrets about your experiences during your high school years? 
Gerry Burns:  No regrets.  I loved NPHS!!! My days at NPHS were some of the best days of my life!  I just wish my own children had been able to experience high school as I did.

Now, 50 years later, has your perspective on your high school years changed at all?  If so, how
Gerry Burns:  I still have fond memories of my days at NPHS and that’s why I’ve enjoyed planning our reunions for all the years.  I know we can never go back but honesty, sometimes I wish we could.  The world is so different now, I know we heard our parents say that of us in the ‘60s, but life is so more demanding now that I feel like kids can’t be kids.  I feel like they don’t interact person to person like we did without electronics and social media.  There’s a lot to be said for the personal touch.

What is your fondest memory of your years at NPHS?  
Gerry Burns:  School Spirit!  We were so proud of our school.  We had fun!  We valued our friendships.  I truly loved our community of North Plainfield, so much that I raised my three children there too.  

What was the craziest or stupidest thing you did in high school?  
Gerry Burns:  I cut Mr. Maurer’s 8th period chorus class the day of the junior prom to get my hair done. Other girls did the same.   He never took attendance and I never cut a class before so I thought nothing of it.  Well, he took attendance that day and I got caught.  Almost got kicked off the majorette squad.  Never cut class again!

What was your proudest accomplishment in high school?  
Gerry Burns:  Trying out and being selected to the Majorette Squad and then becoming Captain.  

Who was your favorite teacher? 
Gerry Burns:  Without a doubt, Ethel Abrams – She was so supportive and encouraged me to be the best I can be.  I remember being told by my guidance counselor that I would never make it in college because of low SAT scores.  Mrs. Abrams told me to never give up.  She told me everyone has something to contribute.  She encouraged me to follow my dreams.  I proved that counselor wrong, graduated college and became a nurse and community leader in my home town.  I’m so glad I was able to thank her in person several times after college.  She was truly a gift from God.

What was your worst class? 
Chemistry with Mr. Sankus.  I struggled in that class.  He was very nice person, but his teaching style was way above the grasp of high school students.  I felt like he taught more on a college level.  I loved science though, especially Biology and Advanced Biology with Mrs. Martin.  She was a terrific science teacher.  I learned so much from these two classes.  I always wanted to be a nurse. My love for biology and the preparation I had at NPHS certainly helped me with college anatomy and physiology.  

What is your most powerful or haunting memory during your years at NPHS? 
Gerry Burns:  It was actually in 8th grade when the announcement of JFK’s death came over the PA system.  Always remember I was sitting in Mrs. Nix’s 8th period English class.  Those next 4 days will be in my memory forever.


Graduation from Middlesex County
College in 1971.  Gerry went on to
become a licensed RN in NJ.