Reunion Memories




Bob Sorensen's opening remarks at Saturday's sit down dinner.



Date: Saturday September 9, 2017 at Big Horn Resort

Presenter: Bob Sorensen


Welcome, Classmates and Guests, to the 50th Reunion of Billings West High and Billings Senior High Classes of 1967.


50 Years! Looking back, Billings was a smaller place then, and the school culture we experienced sure has changed with recent system expansion like we haven’t seen here since the 1960s. Back then, there was a lot of common ground going back to elementary and junior high where many friendships in this room grew.  Whether one attended Senior or West was sometimes a moving target of school board boundary whims. Speaking for myself and hearing updates from classmates, many of those friendships we enjoyed from the “other” high school have been life long. It is a blessing to be able to reconnect with each other this evening.


I would like to acknowledge the sobering list of classmates that are no longer with us. Indeed, “Life is short”.  We miss all of them. 


For those of us still here, I think it is fair to say that we have weathered the ups and downs and made our own mark in our profession, in our personal pursuits, in our communities, and can claim great families. That shows through loud and clear in the Class Website entries that I’ve been reading. Well done, classmates…And if you haven’t already, please consider signing on to your Class Website as it will be available to reconnect us long after this gathering.


I’d like to share two memories I have from 1967:

1) The caliber of teaching and the quality of education in Billings became evident when I went back east to college. Competition in the college classroom was intense.  At West High, I had been prepared to be on a level playing field with anyone from New York or New England….a credit to the teachers and the far-sighted investment Billings made in its school system. And a “shout out” to all of you in the room that carried that tradition on by becoming educators, many teaching kids of your classmates.  


2) The athletic rivalries were a big part of those years for many of us. The one that stands out is the 1967 Class AA Basketball Championship in Bozeman. Remember the electric energy in the building with 10,000 fans, the tension, the overtime, and the fog of dust rising from the MSU field house floor in the chaotic ending.  Coach Lazetich and Coach Kangas, Victory-Defeat hanging by one dramatic shot, arguably one of the greatest games in Montana High School Basketball history.  There are a few in this room who played in that game…a nod to the Bears’ Tom Welton who is no longer with us.  



Please join me to acknowledge the Military service of our classmates who are Veterans of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard. Many enlisted right out of high school with Viet Nam inevitable for most making that choice- I admire that resolve at age 18. Whether it was enlistment or being drafted, it is a sacrifice with accountability and costs that were under-recognized then…For the future that many classmates enjoyed, gratitude is owed to those among us who served. Ask Veterans to stand….


In closing, thank you to:

BWHS Reunion Committee Ask members to stand….

Chairs: Carol Wallinder Daniel, Vikki Nelson Mysse, Chris Kuhleman Dorr  

Class Website Administrator and Treasurer: Katherine Asay Treat

Dedicated Committee Members:

Mike Bolenbaugh

Heather Bulger

Rita Engum

Steve Fairlee

Marilynn Hofferber Adkins

Loretta Jansma Doll

Judy Knight Fox

Mike Mathew

Jim Newell

Richard Oakland

Mary Roberts Patterson

Jeanette Serena Besel

Bob Sorensen  


John Armstrong, BSHS for generously offering the use of his space at Q’s Art Shop for frequent reunion committee meetings.


Staff at Big Horn Resort


 And now Phyllis and Chris have just a few awards and instructions to give….  


Enjoy your Evening!