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Franklin High kicks off centennial year

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - The schools Benj. Franklin mascot gives a big welcoming hug to Franklin Alumni Association President Pam Knuth.It wasn’t simply a typical Saturday homecoming celebration. No – Saturday, September 14, was a much more special day than that, for current and past Franklin High School students and staff.

“We’re kicking off the 100th anniversary celebration for Franklin High School,” exclaimed Franklin Alumni Association President Pam Knuth, Class of ’75. “And, I’m proud to say that I’m one of four generations of Franklin Quakers!”

Knuth, an employee at the Fred Meyer headquarters in the Brooklyn neighborhood, as well as a group of some fifty association volunteers, put together a day where former students could renew relationships, see entertainment, enjoy an ice cream social, cheer at a football game – and end the day with a bonfire.

“We do this because we are proud of our school,” Knuth told THE BEE. “Now that we’ve reached the centennial celebration, it's very exciting. We have a proud and strong Quaker following.”

About 500 members belong to the alumni association, but the association sends out biannual newsletters to approximately 10,000 people – all of whom have attended Franklin over the years, Knuth told us.

“The time it takes is worth it, because Franklin meant a lot to me. Like I said, it's a generational thing in our family, and I am proud to be part of it.”

Jim Lamano and Gloria (Marchi) Lamano, both of the Class of ’42, were hosts for their decade’s meeting room.

“We had wonderful teachers here,” Gloria – then a Foster-Powell resident – recalled. “History teacher Mr. Manning, science teachers Mr. Ridgeway and Mrs. Doron – we had wonderful teachers.”

Although they weren’t dating at the time, her husband Jim – then a Woodstock resident – added, “We had lots of fun and good times, too. You can tell how much people enjoyed being here, because they keep coming back to visit, years later.”

“I hear so many people say how much they still love Franklin,” added Gloria.

Asked if she ever got in trouble, Gloria replied with a twinkle in her eye, “Not that anybody knows about! I did skip school a couple of times to go to the movies. It’s all we could afford to do.”

That evening, under the direction of Coach Richard Lex, the Franklin Quakers dominated the field, playing the Wilson Trojans. The stands, packed full of cheering fans young and old, saw their Quakers trounce the Trojans, with a score of 24-6 in this conference game.

After crews from Portland Fire & Rescue wet down the baseball field and made a safety check, the flames of a giant bonfire leapt into the night sky as alum Andy Mason and his band rocked out.

Franklin High’s centennial celebration year got off to a rousing start.