Soggy Alumni Reunion “Heartwarming”

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HARDWICK –    The Hardwick Academy/Hazen Union Alumni Association organizers say they came away from the June 22 alumni reunion thinking all the effort was worthwhile despite adverse weather conditions.   

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The Hazen Union Class of 1979, celebrating its 45th reunion included back row (from left) Roger Pudge Dufresne, David Mayo, David LeCours, Carey Bear Bessette and Dan Courchaine; front row, Robin Hill Gauthier, former Hazen Union standout teacher Roland Woodard and Molly Allen LeCours.

“It was certainly heartwarming to see the response from our alumni on Saturday,” said H.A./H.U. Alumni Association president Mike Clark. “This committee put their heart and soul into this day, and we all left feeling blessed at how well things went. Our alumni recognize the effort it takes to make this day happen, we got so many thanks and appreciative comments from them throughout the day. It was just a rewarding day.”

Though the sun never came out, the rains slowed by midmorning. By the time the alumni registered and began eating around noon, the wet weather had ceased.

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The Hardwick Academy Class of 1964 had strong representation on June 22, celebrating its 60th reunion and included, back row (from left) Dennis Brochu, Haydon Rochester, Emile Fournier and Ray Goudreau; front row, Theresa Patoine Rayta, Diane LeCours Fournier, Judy Zecchinelli Nudd and Patty Fletcher Young.

Clark started the day by thanking all the people behind the scenes who made the day’s success possible: the Brochu family for providing the spot to hold the event. Renaud and Maureen Demers for donating their tent, Ryan Brown for cooking brisket and pulled pork; Debbie Brown and Mary Jane Fradette for pulling off the meal and Hazen Union students who helped serve food, including Lizzy Considine ‘26, Ava Renaud ‘26, Chloe Cloutier ‘26, Sadie Gann ‘26, Kassidy Gann ‘28 and Zedekiah Cloutier ’28.

Association Vice President Gail Luther O’Brien and Lorrie Brochu Curtis checked in the attendees and Association Treasurer Karen Hall sold $440 worth of 50-50 tickets that the day’s host, Mike Brochu, would eventually win.

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The Hardwick Academy Class of 1969, celebrating its 55th reunion. (back row from left) Dave Colburn, Roland Voyer, Judy Strong Peterson, Ron Brown, Michael Parker, Dennis Pudvah and Rene Fradette; front row, Gail Luther O’Brien, Meredith Fletcher Putvain, Denise Patoine Adams, Andre Brochu and Tim McCanna.

The Association gave Hazen Union students Georgia Allen and Grace Cloutier each a $500 service award in honor of Lorraine Hussey.

Patrick Hussey said his mother would have loved to see how successful this event is becoming and thanked the association for the honor.  “So many people donated to the service award in her honor,” he said. “It was really just so humbling. On behalf of our family, a hearty thank you goes out to all those wonderful folks who donated.”

Clark organized a celebration for former teacher and coach, Jack Strong. Strong began his teaching career at Hazen Union when it opened in 1970, having freshly graduated from Lyndon State College.

He would spend the next 50 years teaching and coaching varsity baseball for 19 seasons.

Strong is the only coach to win a state baseball championship at the school, by beating undefeated Enosburg in the finals, 16-12. He also coached girls soccer and took them to three consecutive state finals games in the mid ‘80s. 

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Family and friends of Jack Strong gather with him as he is honored at the alumni reunion on Saturday. He taught for 50 years at Hazen Union, was the baseball coach for 19 years and coached girls soccer for 26 years. In front are (from left) Judy Strong Peterson, a sister, Jack Strong and his wife Colleen Strong; in two back rows are Dorothy Hill, Letitia Hill, Xavier Hill, Travis Hill, Jeff Strong, Nicole Strong, Aaron Hill, Jay Strong and Billy Waller.

Strong’s nephews Aaron and Travis Hill, sister Judy Strong Peterson, Clark, Dave LeCours, Billy Waller and Brad Ferland spoke to his dedication and accomplishments.

Clark presented Strong with a shirt commemorating his many years of service to Hazen Union.

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The Hazen Union Class of 1974 was celebrating its golden anniversary on June 22, and included front row (from left) Sherry Shepard Berard, Linda Boisclair LeClair, Patricia Morris Armell, Patrick Hussey and Dean Rogers; back two rows, Lynn Clark Millard, Terry Hodgdon, Debbie Rogers Stratton, Lucien Cloutier, Audrey Andrews Bellavance, Dave Bellavance, Lorelei Lanphear Weaver, Cheryl Michaud Williams, Gary Brochu, Mark Williams, Sherry Rathburn, Peter Cook and Jeff Thompson.

The Association brought out all the five-year classes and took their updated class pictures.

The best attendance of the day came from the Hazen Union Class of 1974, celebrating its 50th reunion with 18 former students attending the reunion.

Not far behind them was the Hardwick Academy Class of 1969, who saw 12 classmates make their way to the reunion.

The 1964 Hardwick Academy class had eight former students attend and the 1979 class had seven students attend as well as former standout teacher Roland Woodward.

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Celebrating their 40th high school reunion with the Hazen Union Class of 1984 were (from left) Jennifer LeCours Whitney, Nancy Truesdell Brochu, Debra Shepard, Sally Bartlett Brochu and Ellen Brochu Demers.
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Ann Hodgdon Ainsworth was the lone representative of the Hardwick Academy Class of 1959. It was her 65th reunion year.

Ann Hodgdon Ainsworth was the lone 1959 graduate to attend. 

The 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999 classes all had representation as did the 2019 class with Letitia Hill and the newest 2024 class as Xavier Hill and Georgia Allen attended. The association honored the oldest graduating member at the reunion, Lorraine Hill, a 1947 graduate of Hardwick Academy, who won for the second year in a row. Debra Shepard won the furthest-traveled from Australia.

Announced during the weekend was that two members of the board, Debbie Brown and Mary Jane Fradette, are stepping down. “It’s a huge loss for us and the alumni,” said Clark.

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Tina Montgomery Willey and Paula Upson, members of the Hazen Union Class of 1994, at the June 22 alumni reunion.

Going forward, however, Clark said the association has to encourage a younger set of volunteers. “With every loss comes an opportunity,” said Clark.

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