Eastridge and Westview High School's Class of 1967 gathered at the Hilton Garden Inn in Kankakee on Friday night to celebrate their 50th class reunion.

We caught up with a few alums and asked them to reflect on the historic meeting:

"We are a unique class," said Gary Brinkman, who lead the charge on organizing the half-century milestone celebration. "One year we went to regular school, the next year, we were on a split shift schedule, and the last year, the high school split into two, Eastridge and Westview. But we've all been together for every reunion. I just wanted to make sure we did this one right."

"A lot of things have changed," Brinkman said. "We went through the rust belt thing, which was hard. We had some tough times in the '70s and '80s. Factories closed, but we've seen a lot of growth and we can see things continuing to change."

"When we were in high school, we didn't have cellphones, we still mailed things and called people," said Marilyn Roy. "I've lived here my whole life, so I've seen a lot of new growth."

Although much has changed throughout the last 50 years, and members of the Class of '67 have dispersed all over the world, Kankakee still feels like home.

"Being back in town isn't weird, it's wonderful," Bridget Justen said. "You get your soul filled with friends and family and then you go back and live far away."

Justen now lives in Dubai and works at the Al Mizahar American Academy, and was excited for the opportunity to reunite with old friends.

"I'm most excited about seeing friends who were a part of my life 50 years ago," she said. "One of my friends, Tina Bus, we have never lost track of each other and we have been friends since seventh grade."

Reunion events continued throughout the weekend with a golf outing, trips to the old high school buildings and a banquet on Saturday. But for most, the most exciting part of the weekend was appreciating the company of their classmates.

"For me, the best part is seeing how happy people are. After this time, you go to reunions for a different reason. I'm truly so happy to see everyone," Brinkman said.

"I'm so glad that we are healthy and are in the position to be here today," Justen said.


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