Pictured at the Rock Port High School Alumni Banquet are, left to right, Stephen Gaines, Seth Gaines, Mrs. Sharon Gaines and Sarah Gaines Osburn.
Members of the 2018 graduating class attended the banquet and were officially inducted into the Rock Port Alumni. Front row: Sophie Parrish, Gretchen Tharp, Mystie Robinson and Payton Schomburg. Middle row: Naoma Davis, Liven Schokenhoff, Gyliane Henning, Chris Sticken and Ben Lucas. Back row: Allyson Demott, Dalton Brake, Jase Hughes, Mercer Deatz and Ryan Dewhirst.
Class of 2008: Stephanie Burge Parsons and Kaci Demott Ferch, both holding a photo in memory of their classmate Kyleigh Parrish.
Class of 1978, Back Row: Brian Ebert, Mark Thompson, Jay Erdman, Scott Melvin, Stephen Deckard. Middle Row: Julie Jones Witt, Bonita Nauman Haer, Pam Lauritsen Haer, Allison Schomburg Hallmark. Front Row: Rachel Boettner Inman and Debbie Sutter True
Class of 1968. Back Row: Harold Krutz, Bill Nauman, Butch Lutz, Mike Deatz, Gary Gaines. Middle row: Susan Wolf Kilburg, Elaine Hudson Eilers, Judy Rosenbohm Sutter, Kathy Brought Davis, Dan Cox and Stephen Gilbert. Front row: Donna McCoy Wasserfallen, Linda Gilbert, Marcia Muntz Lance
Class of 1958: Shirley Hague Hicks and Sharon Easley Gaines
Class of 1948: Anna Adams Wolf
Linthicum, member of the Rock Port Alumni Committee, honors the class of 2018. On Friday, May 2018 the graduating class took the oath of the alumni during the annual banquet.
Recognition for attendees: The 2018 Alumni Committee honored the following individuals: Oldest alumni in attendance were Gene Kerr, John Knierim and Bill Smith, Class of 1951, Paul Deatz, Class of 1950 and Ruth Fox, Class of 1947.
Farthest traveled was Gary Gaines and Linda Gilbert, both from the Class of 1968.
Recipients of the Merle and Vera Walter Scholarship were Dalton Brake, Ryan Dewhirst and Gretchen Tharp.
The 2018 Alumni Achievement Award was presented to Sharon Gaines. The following speech was given by Sharon’s daughter, Sarah Osburn, in honor of her mother’s award. Thank you to Sarah for sharing this speech:
Sharon Gaines – RP Outstanding Alumni
In 1934, my grandfather, Hadley Easley, was on his way home from the Philippine Islands where he had been stationed in the US Army. He promised a buddy he would stop in St. Joseph to say hello to his family. On this visit, he saw his buddy’s sister and it was love at first sight. Even though my grandmother’s family threw away the letters my grandfather would send, Hadley Easley and Virginia Ragland were wed in 1936 in Fairfax, Mo., and became the parents of Gary, Sharon, Ann and Chris.
It is with great pleasure that I present the Alumni Achievement Award to my mother, Mrs. Sharon Easley Gaines, a 1958 graduate of Rock Port High School.
Although neither of her parents had the opportunity to attend past the eighth grade, both her parents cherished education – A love that was passed on to her. I’ve heard her say numerous times that she loved school, loved learning, loved reading – and attributed much of this to her first teacher at the Cooper School in Langdon – Gladys Updyke. It was also at Cooper School that another side of my mother was revealed – stand up for what you believe in.
She and her classmates were playing ball at recess. Ann, her little sister, ran home and was called out by the teacher. Sharon did not agree and yelled “She was safe!” But she did not just say it once she said it until she had received multiple verbal lashings, spankings and ultimately sent home. I remember asking her what she told her mom when she got home and she replied well I probably told her “SHE WAS SAFE!”
She loved and continues to reminisce and treasure her Langdon community. It was a temporary move to town due to the flood of 1952 that brought her to Rock Port High School where she was the 1958 Homecoming Queen and grew to love the Blue Jays.
In 1960 she described herself as “penniless” but determined to receive a college degree. That determination earned her a bachelor’s degree from Tarkio College where, fortunately for me, her roommate was Tony Gaines’ sister, then classes at Michigan State in the summers and eventually a Master’s Degree from NWMSU.
She was from the generation that did not have indoor bathrooms, bathed in galvanized bath tubs where water was drawn, shared phone lines, milked cows and were the people who transitioned from horses to tractor farming. My mother is the face of determination!
That roommate became her sister-in-law in 1969, when she married my father, Tony Gaines. And in just a little over three years three children were added to a tiny blue trailer at Burke’s trailer court – Stephen, Sarah and Seth. As a kid, to me, my mom wasn’t cool, her fashion was obsolete, we drove tiny cars that made us look like clowns getting out at the circus, the interior of our house never got updated. But, our lives and my thinking dramatically changed when my father unexpectedly died of a heart attack. She played Bette Midler’s song “Wind Beneath My Wings” at his funeral and greeted and thanked each person as they left.
That “uncool” mom put three kids through college while wearing those same clothes so her daughter could be the best dressed on campus. She drove her parents’ rejected car so we each could have our own. She stood up in the middle of a hostile opposing football team’s section and yelled “he jumped first” when my brother was given an off side call at Peru State College. When I was 20 years old I was lying in the middle of the court with a torn ligament in my knee – the gym grew silent as trainers and coaches gathered round – and I yelled “I WANT MY MOM.” But she didn’t just do that for us – she did it for anyone who needed help. She has never said “I can’t” to the adopt a family at Christmas, her Sunday dinners feed her children, grandchildren, her grandchildren’s friends and anyone in need, and never had/has too much on her schedule to sit and talk or pray with someone (unless she’s hosting bridge). These characteristics made her the ideal person for the counselor job at Rock Port High School, a job that she truly loved for 31 years. She’s counseled, worked on financial aid, been a friend and prepared about 1500 Blue Jays for college or the workforce. She cheered for the Blue Jays and/or kept the score book as either a coach’s wife, coach’s mom, a parent, grandparent or just a fan since the 70’s – totaling about 3,000 Blue Jay basketball games and still continues to go to all the home games and most away games of her grandchildren – 5 who are or will be RP graduates (not including my 2 black sheep).
Although my mother has never achieved monetary success or numerous professional accolades she has shown loyalty, determination, equal treatment and an “Others before self” attitude that has been “The wind beneath my wings” and to thousands of Blue Jays.
It is for that and so much more that you are an ideal recipient for the Alumni Achievement Award.