Over the years, high school can become a distant memory. The letter jackets get packed away and the senior rings make way for trendy jewelry. For five high school graduates, NKCH became a place to reconnect.

Long Lasting Friendships

Joe Becker and Barbara Vodopest

Joe Becker and Barbara Vodopest, RN, graduated from Bishop Hogan High School.

It’s been 45 years since Director of Plant Operations Joe Becker and GI Lab Nurse Barbara Vodopest, RN, graduated from Bishop Hogan High School with 149 other students.

The school, now operated as Hogan Preparatory Academy, is still located at Meyer and Troost, across from The Landing Shopping Center.

HS Joe BeckerIn 1973, Bishop Hogan was an all-Catholic school, which meant uniforms for Joe and Barbara, and all-school masses. For the young men, the uniform consisted of black pants and a white shirt (no tie).

Freshmen and sophomore female students wore a maroon blazer, with the Bishop Hogan crest, or a gray blazer for juniors and seniors. Gray skirts, Saddle Oxford shoes and knee-high socks completed the ensemble. “I’ve been wearing a uniform all my life,” laughed Barbara, who owned only one pair of jeans in high school.

Jewelry was minimal and often included the MIA (Missing in Action) bracelets to remember U.S. soldiers fighting in Vietnam. The war ended in 1973, the year Joe and Barbara graduated.

Although Joe and Barbara knew of each other in high school, they stayed busy with different interests. As one of 13 children, Joe spent weekends working for $1.75 an hour to pay for his tuition, clothes and other expenses. Barbara was one of nine children and remembers spending time with family. Highlights for her were watching television and playing games.

SKM_C45818042616321Both Joe and Barbara remember a simpler time compared to the hustle of today. “We watched Lawrence Welk on Saturday night on our black and white television. That’s also when we got our bath and polished our shoes for church on Sunday,” Joe remembered.

Joe and Barbara will have another chance to reminisce about their high school days at their upcoming 45-year reunion this summer.

Country Girls

Nannette McQueen, (MT ASCP), Lynn Bradberry and Bev Carter, RN (group picture at top), attended rural Kearney High School.

HS Lynn“During my freshman year, we moved to Kearney from the Gladstone area, and I thought my world had ended,” Lynn laughed.

But, Lynn’s world didn’t end. In fact, she found true love at Kearney High School, as did Nannette and Bev.

HS NannetteDuring their high school years from 1977-1980, the ladies knew of each other but socialized in different circles. “Nannette was the smart one. She was always studying, and I wished I could be more like her,” Lynn remembered. “I always thought of Lynn as smiling and happy, just like she is today,” Nannette said.

Looking back, they reflect on how times have changed. Teens brought guns on school property because their guns hung in the back windows of their trucks.

HS BevBack then, teasing was the buzz word instead of today’s term, bullying. “Sometimes it was hard because the boys called me Valkun instead of my last name, Valkus,” Nannette said. “I didn’t like it but that’s the way it was for us.”

For the ups and downs of high school, there are memories (and pranks) that still bring a smile: a greased pig running through the library and a loose chicken in the Cafeteria. “We worked hard, but we had fun,” Lynn said.