Sept. 30, 2015
Recipe for a Great Peabody Reunion
Judging from the many responses we received concerning this past weekend's Peabody High School 50th Anniversary Reunion, we must say it was a huge success. At Friday's kickoff event on the rooftop of the Blue Line Grille on Fifth Avenue, the crowd of Peabody Highlanders gathered once again to enjoy refreshing the camaraderie of our youth.

Saturday morning's tour of Peabody, aka Obama, surged to 58 visitors. The tour was first class and everyone seemed pleased with how well the public school administration had preserved the academic and sports history of our institution. Lonna Holstein Smith coordinated this endeavor of walking back in time.

Our reunion dinner gala was planned to be business casual and was held at the Senator John Heinz Historical Center, an affiliate member of the Smithsonian Institute. Six floors of unique westeren Pennsylvania history is archived and actively displayed in this tastefully renovated, classic warehouse located adjacent to the Strip District. The ambiance of the Grand Hall on the groundfloor of the museum complimented with an assortment of Pittsburgh memorabilia including:
  • vintage authentic Pittsburgh trolley car,
  • Heinz 57 delivery wagon,
  • Allegheny Ludlum stainless steel automobile,
  • Kennywood Rollercoaster Racer car,
  • replica Conestoga Wagon,
  • Replica of the largest cannon ever produced in 1864 in a Pittsburgh foundry,
  • and more.

Registration on Saturday night was managed by the Leff sisters, volunteers and daughters of Marc Leff. Stephen Shore was responsible for designing and procuring the stylish and attractive name tags. Michael Hoffman supplied his precision laser cut, personalized cherry-wood key chains.

Saturday night our classmates paid homage to each of our military veterans led by Air Force veteran Mike Azzara. We also honored all those classmates who had passed away much too early with a moment of silence. The acappella singing of our Alma Mater was led by Roberta Eisenhart and Elliot Talenfeld with the whole class pitching in. Bob Kirk led the class in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Welcoming remarks from Reunion Committee Chairman, Harry Anthony, thanked the many sponsors that made all of the reunion events possible. THANK- YOU!! He introduced several class VIPs from 1965 who were in attendance;
  • Sandy Drosnes - Class Secretary/Treasurer,
  • Sara Bettles Hall - Homecoming Queen, and
  • Vernon Phillips - Highlander Football Captain.
Marc Leff acted as Master of Ceremonies for the balance of the evening and added his unique brand of humor while keeping the main event on schedule throughout the evening. Marc also oversaw the free raffle drawing of 13 rather nice gifts.

Plenty of savory food was available from three very well-stocked food stations - if you remembered to eat., coordinated by Allan Caplan, provided a "Photo Experience" where up to 10 friends could gather together in front of a backdrop and have three unique pictures taken in one grouping and instantaneously receive individual pictures for each participant. A roaming photographer, Sean Means, captured candid pictures of the festivities throughout the evening and photographed each individual elementary school's attending graduates that fed their students on to Peabody. An elevated class picture was taken at the end of the evening which will be available on line soon, as well as all of the other pictures taken during the evening.

You will receive a User ID and a Password to access PittsburghDigitalPhotoBooth's website where you will be able to download any picture free of charge. This nice service will be activated within two weeks, by Oct. 10th, and if you do not receive the information to unlock and open the portal, you should contact

Music was provided by Allan Caplan via PittsburghDigitalDJs' DJ, Craig McClintock. Songs of the 60s were played throughout the evening with dancing beginning around 9 p.m. Linda Desarno Maiello was responsible for the main overhead Peabody banner and the souvenir Peabody mugs and chocolates. She coordinated with Ellen Birnkrant Kitay for the decorations of balloons and flowers. Ellen also served as the Reunion Committee Treasurer and webpage proofer. Maxine Unikel Cook also assisted in the proofing of the website and was the Reunion Committee Secretary and Database Manager. You most certainly received either emails or a post card from Max updating you on the progress of the planning. She also produced and printed the evening's program.

Reunion Committee:
Harry Anthony,   Mike Azzara,    Ellen "Birnkrant" Kitay,    Allan Caplan,   
Linda "DeSarno" Maiello,    Marc Leff,    Maxine "Unikel" Cook,  
Lonna "Holstein" Smith,   Stephen Shore.