St. John’s Meadows Resident Hosts Reunion for John Marshall High School Class of 1943
Virginia Belt graduated from John Marshall High School (now called All City High) in Rochester in 1943 with nearly 200 classmates. More than seven decades later, Belt continues to help organize reunions, including their 72nd held at the St. John’s Meadows on Thursday, June 18. While the number of attendees has dwindled in recent years, the ones that are able to attend were happy to get together and reminisce about old times.
“We have had a class reunion every year since our fifth one, off-and-on (every five years), and since 1965 we’ve had one every year,” she said. When asked if she feels like it’s been that long, Belt said, “No, because we’re still all young!”
Belt, whose name was Scharf when she graduated, is 89 years old, and is quick to point out she’s still one of the youngest in her class. Recently, Belt has been recovering from hip surgery, but she refused to let that slow her down. After spending time using the rehabilitation facilities at St. John’s Home, Belt returned to her place at St. John’s Meadows with plenty of energy to pull the reunion together.
Sitting at the head of the table in the Briarwood dining room, Belt opened with a few notes about classmates who were unable to attend for various reasons. She also informed the group of where their annual donations would be going. Each year, the group pools in donations for a local charity, and this year the money will go to a local food bank that is run by churches that many of the graduates attended during their years in school.
“This is our area. Rochester is where we grew up. [Classmate Herm Pickles] here lives in Pennsylvania, but the rest of us have stayed here. It’s where we’ve lived, all of our lives. Most of us graduated in 1943 (some went into the service), and I would say a good number of us walked out of John Marshall, crossed the street, and got a job at Kodak.”
Belt was one of those, and worked at Kodak for 20 years.
The rest of the day was spent catching up and filling in the gaps from the last time they were all together. They flipped through Belt’s old yearbook and talked about how things used to be.
The reunion was featured on Time Warner Cable News, 13 WHAM ABC, and in the Democrat and Chronicle and Irondequoit Post.