by Autumn Evans
LaSalle High School may have closed its doors more than a decade ago, but a group of alumni are determined to keep the school spirit alive in Niagara Falls.
Last August, Jo Ann Simon was at an alumni golf tournament when she and her old classmates got to talking. As the years since the school's closure passed, they wanted to do something to bring the memory of LaSalle back. They decided they wanted to form an alumni association to keep LaSalle High School's name alive and also give back to the community.
"Little by little, we just starting thinking about it," Simon said.
Then, in November, she ran into another alum, Tom Gariano, who sang in a band called Myopic Void in high school, and the wheels began to turn.
"I said, 'You know, I'm thinking about doing this, what do you think?' " Simon said. "And he said, 'Well that's great, because we're thinking about getting Myopic Void back together for the class of '75's reunion ... but this would be perfect. We could do it for all LaSalle alumni, not just the class of '75.' "
Later that month, using the dances they used have at the YMCA as inspiration, they came up with "Relive the Rec" as the event to jumpstart the alumni association.
"I think it's a good opportunity for classmates, alumni to get together and relive old memories, make new memories, catch up with old classmates," Gariano said.
As for giving back, the association hasn't decided where the proceeds from the Rec will go, though they are considering forming scholarships, giving grants to businesses in need or supporting other nonprofits in Niagara Falls. Simon said they would have to vote on it after the association is officially established.
In the meantime, they are asking people who attend the event to bring nonperishables to donate to Heart, Love & Soul Food Pantry in Niagara Falls.
According to Simon, they've sold about 150 tickets to alumni who graduated in the '70s, '80s and '90s, and the max capacity is 400 people. It is also open to the public.
"We hope this will be the first of many Relive the Recs," Simon said. "I would like this tradition to continue for social fun and at the same time giving back to the community."
Relive the Rec will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13, at the Elk's Lodge, 1805 Fashion Outlet Blvd. in the Town of Niagara, located near the former site of the high school. It will feature alumni Myopic Void (Tom Gariano, Kevin Connor, Perry Novak and Kevin DeDario), Jamie Holka, Bruce Wojick and Rob Bilson. Tickets are available for $15 presale or $18 at the door.
Visit the Relive the Rec Facebook page for more information and ticket sale locations.