Lantern ceremony to be held in memory of deceased classmates

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Committee members planning a lantern ceremony in honor of deceased members of the Dunmore High School Class of 1966 include, from left: Ann Rizzo Mellert, Tom DePietro and Annie Longo.

By Stephanie Longo

It’s a way to send a bit of “Dunmore Pride” to heaven.

The year 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the Dunmore High School Class of 1966’s graduation. While the reunion committee is getting ready for a celebratory bash this fall, one classmate has decided to make sure that the class’s fallen comrades aren’t forgotten.

Dunmore resident Annie Longo fondly remembers some of her classmates who are no longer here, such as Thomas Malloy, who was killed in Vietnam, and Robert Scholla, who died unexpectedly during the class’s sophomore year.

“The deceased members of our class deserve to be remembered in some way during our reunion year,” Longo said. “We’re blessed enough to be here to celebrate our 50th reunion. It was in my heart that I knew I wanted to do something special for the deceased members of our class.”

Thanks to a lantern donation by Tom DePietro of DePietro’s Pharmacy and special permissions granted by the Dunmore School District and Dunmore Borough, a lantern ceremony in honor of the nearly 40 deceased members of the Dunmore High School Class of 1966 will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. in the Dunmore High School parking lot. The public is invited to attend.

Despite facing resistance from the Class of 1966 reunion committee who, Longo says, changed their minds about having the ceremony as part of the reunion week festivities and are no longer involved with the event, plans are running smoothly.

“I was pretty shocked that the reunion committee decided not to support this project when they originally wanted to,” Longo said. “We’re at an age where there should be a lot of unity in our class. I’m really disappointed because I and the other volunteers just wanted to do something special in memory of our classmates.”

“We all have friends who aren’t here anymore and as the surviving class members, I think we have some responsibility to honor them in some way,” said Ann (Rizzo) Mellert, who is assisting Longo with gathering names and promoting the event. “They aren’t able to attend the 50th reunion and we want to keep their memories alive. It is hard to lose people, especially when they are your age.”

For Longo, this event might serve as an inspiration for other classes when planning their respective reunions.

“I can’t thank the Dunmore School District, Dunmore Borough Council and DePietro’s Pharmacy enough for their support,” Longo said. “I knew right from the start that this was the right thing to do. Hopefully other classes will do something special for their reunions, not necessarily lanterns, but maybe a balloon launch—just something special for the deceased members who can’t attend.”

Volunteers are still needed for the event. To volunteer, call Longo at (570) 880-7410.


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