“Homecoming is a time to Reunion, Reunite, Reconnect”

The Class of 1967.

Homecoming is a special time in towns and cities all over Texas, and ours in Devine this past weekend was no different! The excitement started prior to the Friday night football game as former classmates and teachers excitedly gathered early outside the gates of Warhorse Stadium. They were ready to find good spots to sit together in the home stands, while others were tail-gaiting in the parking field. Many Devine exes stopped by the registration table of our Devine Ex-Students/Teachers Association (DExSTA), so we got to witness first-hand the excitement of them reuniting with each other! From the “I can’t believe it has been so long”, to the “It is so good to see you again”; it was heartwarming to see so many friends reconnecting.
The memories of past Friday night football games came flooding back as they watched the DHS Homecoming Court, then stood and sang the familiar school song, and remembered all the words! It was fun to watch them cheer and chatter in the stands as they reconnected! One highlight of the evening was the halftime introduction of the students from the DHS Class of 1967 who were celebrating their 50th Class Reunion. The Warhorse Band performance and a Warhorse win brought back more memories and made the night even more special!
Homecoming Saturday is always another special day for former Devine students and teachers. Around 100 of the Devine Exes, from the classes of 1947 to 2017 and guests, gathered at the Devine Student Activity Center for the annual DExSTA social and meeting. This event is special in so many ways and many of the attendees have been coming to these meetings every year for decades! The guests enjoyed a large Memory Table display of school memorabilia, with cheerleader uniforms, megaphones, and pom poms, a band uniform with trumpet & band music, plus a football letterman’s jacket. There were also hundreds of pictures spanning over 100 years of schooldays in Devine from 1897 to the 2000s on a slide show, posters and in albums for their viewing.
Cheerleaders from the Honor Class of 1967 opened the meeting portion with a rounding cheer of “Two Bits” to get the crowd on their feet! This was followed by the Invocation by Jerry Smith ’67, Pledges led by Elmer Mann and the singing of the National Anthem which was led by Claude “Butch” Morgan ’67. Honor Class Representatives, Sharon Crouch Jasik ’67 and Kathy Wilkinson Schneider ’67 then led the School Song. DISD Superintendent, Scott Sostarich, welcomed the former students and teachers with words of appreciation for what they had done to lay the groundwork for what we have today. He spoke of the pride of our schools and students and updated everyone on their accomplishments since the last Homecoming. He also presented a slide show with examples of many of their school events and students. The crowd enjoyed hearing about students that are so active in many events and are representing “their” school well!
DExSTA VP, Jeff Wisenbaker, recognized all the ex-students from the classes starting in 1945 through the class of 2017, and ex-teachers. Bill Boyd of the class of 1945 was the oldest ex-student in attendance. The ex-students traveling the farthest were each given a Warhorse/Arabian mug: Judy Freeman Montgomery ’67 from Costa Rica and Linda Sue Ehlinger Hastain ‘67 from Alaska. Karen Howard Muennink then introduced the youngest ex-students in attendance, Abbie Capps and Julia Harrell, who expressed their appreciation for being selected as 2017 Devine Ex-Students/Teachers Association, Angilee Griffin Heyen Memorial Scholarship recipients. She also announced that DExSTA currently had 210 members, including 61 Lifetime members. Stanley Ehlinger reflected on the ex-students and teachers who have passed since the last Homecoming. “The Memory Roll is displayed this year in memory of those who are unable to celebrate this special Homecoming day with us. We feel they are here in spirit and they live on in our memories and hearts, today and everyday”.
During the 1967 Honor Class presentation, Jerry Smith expressed that when someone asks “Do you remember when…? you have three choices: 1. You can tell the truth. 2. You can tell an outright lie. 3. Others don’t remember, so whatever they say is irrelevant”! “He did not say which he did, but his humorous opening was followed by inspirational words for his classmates and others about the importance of “remembering the good times” and to “keep connected” with each other. Classmate, Claude Morgan followed with, “Wow, that was fast!” and that he was still glad to be here! Claude also told a few stories about their teen days in Devine in the 60s at the teen club called “The Shaft”. One mention of that club brought lots of laughter and smiles, and choruses of “yes, I remember!” He spoke of how it got started and how “if you danced there, you worked there too!” sweeping floors and cleaning and setting up. “The Shaft” was a place where bands came from all over to play, including singers like Augie Meyers. Local bands such as “Chapter 16”, “The Illusions”, and “The Shannons” also played there. He then introduced three members of “The Shannons” who were in attendance: Richard Malone, Jerry Smith, and Claude “Butch” Morgan. He then announced that he and his band, “The Bandaholics” would be playing at the VFW that night for the Class of 1967 50th Reunion, and that everyone was welcome to join them. Both Jerry and Claude emphasized what a great place that Devine was to grow up in and that they have many fond school-day memories with their classmates.
The meeting continued with the election of DExSTA board members. Newly elected board member, Peggy Abbott Howard ’75 will be joining current board members Nancy Ehlinger Saathoff ’75, Karen Howard Muennink ’76, Sandy Wilkinson Beck ’72, John Hunt ’59, Katie Keilman Shults ’71, Stanley Ehlinger ’77, Cindi Billebault ’75, Susan Rackley Schott ’72, Wendy Carr (former teacher) and Jeff Wisenbaker ’75 in planning for the next Homecoming. Next year the DHS Class of 1968 will be honored for their 50th Reunion. (A date will be announced when available.)
The DExSTA board would like to thank the following people for all they did this past year to make this 2017 Homecoming a success: Food Committee – Richard ’72 & Cynthia (Whitaker ’76) Sultenfuss, and helpers – Alvin ’76 & Connie (Clawson ’77) Nixon, June Sadler Ehlinger ’48, Kyle Saathoff ’14, and Eric Trogden ’14, with board members Karen, Wendy, Susan, and Nancy; DISD Update and HC preparations – Scott Sostarich, Geri Woods, & Dawn Schneider; Program – class representatives, to Rosemarie Keilman Wilms, Ted Shults, and Jerry Beck for helping with registration and members of the Honor Class of 1967; Set-up and Clean-up at DSAC – the awesome DISD staff of Sadie, Wendy, David, Darren, and crew that helped our board members and Kyle Saathoff ‘14. We are so grateful for your help, encouragement, and enthusiasm in making this 2017 Homecoming so memorable!