Reeling in the years for Issaquah High School

May 31, 2011

By Laura Geggel

Graduates plan reunion for students of the 1970s

Musicians Tom Wallace (left) and Jeremy Reeves practice for the upcoming reunion and benefit for Issaquah High School’s graduates of the 1970s. By Tom Wallace

High school graduations can be annoyingly formal.

At her 10-year reunion, Valaree Muir Weiss, noticed her former classmates were refreshingly open at the bar the night before the reunion and at the picnic held the day after, but old high school cliques reformed the night of the reunion.

Thinking formality took away people’s fluidity, Muir Weiss decided she would do away with it. She and a group of classmates who graduated from Issaquah High School in the 1970s invited their classmates to a reunion they have transformed into a rock ’n’ roll benefit.

At the benefit, a band and a silent auction will entertain participants, who can mingle while they donate to several classmates who have fallen on hard times because of medical problems.

Guests are encouraged to bring donations and dishes for the potluck dinner.

“We are trying to reach others,” Muir Weiss said. “It’s not just about classmates from the 1970s. It’s about friends and neighbors.”

Many of the former Issaquah High students found each other on Facebook. Muir Weiss joined the group because “curiosity got the best of me,” she said. “There are people I love from high school and I was dying to know what happened to them.”

If you go

Issaquah High School Reunion and Rock and Roll Benefit

  • 5-10 p.m. June 4
  • Vasa Park
  • 3560 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E., Bellevue

On the Web

  • Learn more or RSVP at Join the Facebook group by searching for “Issy Indians Party and Benefit.”

Larry Garcia, a 1976 graduate, said it only made sense to meet up with classmates more often, especially since many of the friendships they had in high school are still strong today.

National and local events have left the classes of the 1970s with a strong bond. Nationally, the Vietnam War was winding down, and students were glued to newspapers and television sets, learning the latest news about the war in Southeast Asia. Locally, Issaquah’s only high school was overflowing with students.

“There were over 625 students in our graduating class,” Muir Weiss said.

There were so many students, they had to do double shifts, with juniors and seniors going to class in the morning, and freshmen and sophomores attending in the afternoon.

When Liberty High School opened in 1977, it relieved the crowding at Issaquah High.

Retired Issaquah High music teacher Glenn Lutzenhiser and Maywood Junior High physical education teacher Chuck Olson plan to attend the reunion and benefit.

A reformed band from yesteryear — Biff Moss, Gregg Olsen, Rich Payne, Brad Reeves, Hank Byington and Tom Wallace — will also perform, just as they did in high school. Phil Page and Dan Montecalvo will also make melodies.

“As this Facebook stuff started happening, the idea of the old high school band came together,” Reeves said. “Everybody has such good memories of the dances we played at in junior high and high school.”

Reeves’ group, 5 Star Haul, will play classic rock at the reunion, and the members have plans to play at other charity instructions.

“For me, it’s about people pulling together to help each other,” Muir Weiss said. “They’re our own. We all went to school together.”

Laura Geggel: 392-6434, ext. 241, or Comment at

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