Young and old Devilpups returned to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune for the all-class reunion Friday and Saturday. Lejeune High School graduates from all over the country traveled to share memories and relive the good times during their years at Lejeune High School.
“It’s important (for alumni) to attend the reunion because they need to reconnect,” said Anita Lancaster, reunion coordinator and graduating class of 1977. “They don’t realize they need this until they come here, but seeing familiar faces fills a hole in your heart.”
The weekend kicked off with registration at the high school, the Lejeune Scholarship Fund golf tournament and the Hall of Distinction induction ceremony. Friday evening boasted a night full of decade parties on and off base, where members of graduating classes from 1959 to 2010 could get a jump start on reconnecting with old classmates.
Saturday morning marked the official welcome to the reunion in front of the Beirut Memorial at Lejeune Memorial Gardens in Jacksonville. Coordinators welcomed alumni and paid tribute to fallen classmates, especially ones who gave their lives in service. Among these were five Lejeune alumni who died in Vietnam and one who died during the Beirut bombing. All six names can be found on the memorial walls in the gardens.
Eager for the all-class Devilpup reunion, former students, faculty and staff gathered to Marston Pavilion for an evening of reconnecting, celebrating lifelong friendships and recalling the good times of high school.
“It was easier to make friends here because everyone knew that we weren’t going to be in the same place,” said Roxanne McKee, class of 1978. “We’re all from everywhere.”
Throughout the reunion, participants mingled, shared meals and danced the night away with fellow Devilpups.
“The reunions are not to see how well someone has done,” said Lancaster. “We’re a family, we care about each other. We come here to reconnect because we have a common bond; we’re children of the military.”
Reunion participants were given a challenge coin bearing the high school’s mascot with the words, “Semper Fi Devilpups, friends for life.” Those words rang true throughout the weekend as old friends picked up where they left off, their bond remaining strong.
“Lejeune was a lot more supportive than civilian schools,” said Laura Sandoval-Adams, a former student of Lejeune High School. “I was there during a time of war and turmoil and we knew we could always count on each other.”
Lejeune High School reunions are held every five years. The next one is scheduled for the second weekend of July 2020.
For more information on Lejeune High School alumni, visit www.lejeunealumni.com.