Traditions have great value to those who carry them forward. Whether among friends, families, communities or high schools, traditions have special meaning to those who share them. Whether traditions continue or change over the course of time depends on many factors — changes in the lives of friends, maturing generations in growing families, cultural changes in communities, or the dictates of county school districts.
Traditions that continue for years among friends, families and communities are based on values, not necessarily on specific activities. When childhood friends grow up, they marry, move away, have children, but the traditions that began in school days can continue into the future.
The value placed on those friendships can be seen in the Boulder City High School class reunions held every five years, for most classes, and the all-class reunions held annually to include all graduates who have celebrated their 50th class reunion.
Many of these reunions include friends who attended BCHS, but whose families moved away before they graduated; Boulder City High School will always be their high school. What greater testimony to the values and shared memories that keep classmates connected through so many years and so many miles.
For those who still live in Boulder City and Southern Nevada, and those who may be visiting, a BCHS tradition continues on the third Thursday of every month with lunch at The Restaurant at the Boulder Dam Hotel. Graduates of 50, 60 and 70 years ago are invited to come to share memories and their lives with former classmates.
A special example of this was provided by alumna Peggy Wood, a concert pianist and vocalist who graduated in 1960. She performed in the hotel lobby following the luncheon Feb. 19, enhancing a traditional event for alumni who share a common bond through their school days in Boulder City.
It is also good to realize that, of all the good restaurants in Boulder City and the surrounding area, the Boulder City High School reunion group chooses to hold its monthly get-togethers in The Restaurant of the historic Boulder Dam Hotel. So many class reunions, anniversaries, celebrations and other important community social events have been held in the hotel that the atmosphere is one with which everyone has a connection.
Boulder City High School alumni are particularly aware now, with the passing of Olynnda Franklin Parmer, of the strong bonds of friendship and shared traditions that hold them together. As a member of the Class of 1957, Olynnda was an active, popular student leader and, although she lived in other parts of the county and country, as well as in Boulder City, during her adult life, she was a quiet force of friendship in the lives of her classmates. She believed it was important to keep connections strong. She will be so missed, but hopefully her memory will always be honored by others who will keep the tradition of caring and staying connected with their classmates, wherever in the world they may be.
Traditions live on according to the values at the core of each tradition. When once-traditional events become impractical and are discontinued, hopefully the values that existed in the beginning will be taken up in different manifestations in the future — friendship, memories of good times, smiles and laughter at shared teenage adventures, the ironies of life, the unexpected losses or rewards as the years pass.
Presently, the annual BCHS all-class reunion is growing with each class that reaches its 50th reunion year. Alumni from across the country come together to celebrate a common heritage of friendship, pride and accomplishment that began during their years at Boulder City High School.
Some traditional events may have to be abandoned, but others will surely take their place. The spirit of the students and alumni of Boulder City High is the legacy that, hopefully, will continue with each graduating class and will keep traditions, and memories of traditions, alive into the future.
Susan Stice McIntyre is a native of Boulder City, a first-generation 31er, and former member and chairman of the Boulder City Historic Preservation Committee.