Back to the Future Past  


Eliana Linder and Chrissy Chimos, Writer

We learn about our past throughout our lives from many sources, including school, reading, or past family members. Although this makes us feel like we are well informed, we can still find ourselves truly disconnected from our past. In order to reconnect, people often travel far and wide searching for different monuments of our past, but sometimes we can find a beautiful monument to a time with which we are unfamiliar right in our own front yard.

Memorials of great importance can be found all around the world, but it may be the local ones nearest to us that have the most meaning and can help us to reconnect us to our community history, and to help us remember our collective past, often from even before we were born. The past will be forgotten unless we remember and honor it. As George Saytana said, “Those you do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” George Saytana was a man of many hats–he was a philosopher, poet, and essayist. He truly understood the meaning of the past, and how you can use it to move forward.  Even though we can’t time travel–yet–it doesn’t mean that we can’t go back in spirit.

The graduating class of 1974 did so amid the turbulence of the Vietnam War. Alumnus Montgomery Miller said that it was a, “volatile time,” with the war still going on, and the class of ’74 felt very disconnected after they graduated. Yet, at their 40th high-school reunion, alumnus Bill Santoro decided that he would make a stone marker with a quote from their graduation song on it as a gift to his class.

The marker was made and Mr. Santoro met with the school groundskeeper to find a place for it, but it was instead put away in a shed and forgotten. Since the marker was forgotten in 2014, Mr. Santoro connected school superintendent Dr. Butera and asked about the marker, which was then brought back to life.

Since the gazebo was being repainted, Dr. Butera suggested that the marker be placed down next to it, along with a tree. Mr. Santoro was very excited and decided on a Japanese maple, his favorite tree. Japanese maple trees are famous for their colors and how they change over time, just like us.

The class helped to pay for the tree, and it was delivered and planted next to the marker. The class of ’74 hopes that as we look back at our past, we don’t forget to look into the future. The whole point of looking into the past is to improve our future, and not make the same mistakes that we did in the past.

The tree is only one of the many memorials that we have here in this school, which invite us to dig deeper into our past. Although we’re not able to go back in time and change the past, we can certainly change the future.