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Change, maybe, but still same

Northeast High School alumni celebrate their 50-year reunion .

Published October 18, 2006

The first thing Nancy Krege McCray plans to do at this weekend's reunion is "check out the old boyfriends."

It's been half a century since she's seen most of them, but they'll be easy to spot.

"You never forget voices," she said. "There's the same voice, the same laughter, the same glances. You don't forget those."

McCray, 67, says she's also excited to see her old friends at Northeast High School's 50-year reunion.

About 150 of the 500 students from the classes of 1956 and 1957 are expected to attend, co-coordinator Ginny Guthrie said.

Several classmates have died, some are hesitant to fly after Sept. 11, and others cannot travel because of medical problems.

McCray lives in San Francisco and is flying back for the reunion after 25 years.

"I haven't seen most people since the last reunion," she said. "Our life pathways have changed."

Northeast High School has changed, too. When it opened in 1954, cows used to roam onto the football field, said Tom Gregory, who graduated in 1956.

"Back then, 62nd Avenue was just happy hunting grounds for us," said Gregory, an accountant in St. Petersburg. "A bunch of us kids who thought we were hunters used to go out and shoot doves over there."

Now, there's a new cafeteria and a media center. The school's mascot, a Viking, has become less fierce and "a little more cartoon-ish," Gregory said.

There will be a tour of the high school Saturday morning, and another of Weedon Island on Sunday.

For many graduates, it'll be the first time that they will see St. Petersburg in decades.

"It's amazing how much the city has changed," Guthrie said. "Downtown, with all those condos. Fourth Street, with all those restaurants replacing old strip centers. Everything's becoming modernized."

Since high school, McCray has moved to California, taken up singing and traded in her snare drum for floral design.

But she said she thinks her friends will recognize her.

"I have a few extra love handles, but they'll know me," she said. "I'm still the sweet girl with a winsome smile."

Can you match these Northeast High School graduates to this recent photo taken at a 50-year reunion planning session? Above are, standing, from left, Billie Fielder, Peggy Brockman, Tom Muntz, Walt McCanless and Bill Howard. Seated, from left, are Ginny Guthrie, Barbara Stubbs and Lee Ann Samon. Here's a hint: One of the women didn't have her picture taken for the 1956 yearbook. Answers below.

[Last modified October 18, 2006, 07:58:30]

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