KEEPING IT SIMPLE: A 50-year assessment

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By Kim Delgado

Fifty years ago in May, the Robertson High School Class of 1959 was instructed to report to Douglas Elementary School for last minute preparations (cap and gown) before graduation. Once everyone was ready and lined up, we quietly marched across the street to Ilfeld Auditorium, where school administrators, family and friends were waiting. There were no cell phones or digital cameras to be found!

One by one, we nervously walked across the stage to receive our diplomas. It seemed like we were so naive back then. Even though we appeared excited and happy, there was also a sense of sadness, with the realization that our class would now be going its separate way. It is hard to believe that 50 years have gone by.

Fast forward to May of this year, and the RHS Class of 2009, numbering 99, has just accomplished what we did 50 years ago. On behalf of my classmates I wish to congratulate the class of 2009, and wish them the very best, because they had to endure so much ridicule and humiliation due to the recent scandals at Robertson High School. So much negativity was unjustly cast upon them by the actions of a few. Our community must not allow the scandals to overshadow their accomplishments.

Next month, July 30-31, the RHS Class of ‘59, will be celebrating a 50-year anniversary reunion. I am looking forward to it, but dread the questions from those classmates who moved away from Las Vegas.  Undoubtedly they will ask about the scandals at our alma mater, and will probably be curious about the progress of Las Vegas.

Those of us who stayed here after graduation will most likely face some tough questions, and rightly so; however, it will be unpleasant to explain away how these scandals came to be. Should we take it on the chin and consider the possibility that our complacent attitude may have contributed to it, or do we shrug our shoulders and blame it on how times have changed over the last 50 years?

Regarding change in Las Vegas, I am sure someone will ask what happened to the Montezuma Skating Pond, a favorite spot when we were in high school. What about the current status of McAllister Lake and the disappearance of the Highlands University highrise building (El Conquistador)? Do we dare try to explain the process of demolition by neglect ever so visible in town, and what fate may await the once popular Serf Theatre?

The Murphey’s Drug Store building, once full of noisy students, still stands proudly at the corner of Sixth and Douglas, but it remains unoccupied. We no longer have a bowling alley, and Las Vegas still doesn’t have much recreation to offer its youth. The beautifully renovated train station luckily was saved by becoming city property and, thankfully, we still have Amtrak train service. The majestic Montezuma Castle has become a United World College, Luna Vocational Institute is now a community college and Highlands University is moving forward with good administration, reasonable tuition fees and overall campus improvements. I must say, the campus is looking beautiful.

I’m sad to say that in recent years Las Vegas has lost population. We probably now have about 14,000 residents. Not all of our town’s losses can be blamed on the current economy; there are other factors. We can boast and point out that we have a new hospital, and, hey, the Wal Mart store also serves as our local mall. Times are rough now, but Las Vegas has had rough times before, besides, if Las Vegas goes Hollywood, the economy is bound to improve and our financial woes will diminish.

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Those classmates who haven’t registered for the two-day class reunion can check out the website (www.robertson59.com) for Pete Laumbach who is accepting registration fees at his address, 1091 Lamb Ct., Los Lunas, N.M. 87031.

If you plan to attend both days, the registration fee is $50, otherwise, $25 for one. The July 30 event is being held at Sandia Resort & Casino in Albuquerque, starting at 5 p.m. July 31 is a picnic at the Villanueva State Park from 1 to 4 p.m. The picnic is being catered by the Risa Cafe in Ribera. If you have any questions you can call me at 425-9677.

Kim Delgado lives in Las Vegas. She may be reached at clancydelgado@zialink.com.