The students who attended Mauston High School are now reaching the age of the people who taught them. Those high schoolers who couldn’t wait to grow up so they didn’t need to take orders from teachers have now learned the lessons of adulthood.
But still, there are enough good memories from those high school days to encourage graduates to return to Mauston for an August reunion.
On Aug. 9, about 200 former Mauston High School students are expected to gather at the Woodside Ranch and Conference Center east of Mauston. It’ll be an atypical reunion in that it’s not aiming to gather a single class, but students from the entire decade of the 1980s.
“It’s the nostalgia,” said Laurie Webster, a graduate of the Mauston High class of 1989, who is one of the reunion’s organizers. “You want to go back to a time that in hindsight seems simple, and it’s fun to see people you haven’t seen in a few decades.”
Graduates from that decade are among the last who attended high school classes in the building that was the high school and now is the Olson Middle School, before what’s known as the “new” high school opened.
Webster noted that some of the 1980s graduates, especially those who left the area, have probably not seen the current high school building. So there will be a tour of the new high school for those people.
On the day before the Aug. 9 reunion there will be another nostalgic high school event where former Mauston High School students will gather for an alumni flag-football game. The reunion’s organizers hope the timing of the football game will encourage more people to attend their event.
Already Webster has discovered that many Mauston High School graduates have scattered across the country. Some graduates live as far away as California and New Jersey.
Webster, owner and physical therapist at PTWorks Physical Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation in Mauston, is one of those grads who turned to a big-city life when she started working in Madison — but then returned to Mauston. She discovered the difference between the state capital and a small town in a mostly rural area.
“The one great thing we have here is a sense of community,” she said. “Madison has a lot to offer for business, but you can’t beat what we have here in Mauston.”
Webster is one of the 1980s graduates who are learning what a new generation expects from life. Her son is surprised that people in the 1980s existed with only proprietary online services, dial-up phone modems and no high-definition television.
While the reunion is scheduled to have a disk jockey playing music of the 80s, maybe things won’t sound much different. 1980s performers such as Paula Abdul and Dolly Parton are active, and unreleased tracks from the late Michael Jackson have been freed from the vault as new releases.
Alumni are encouraged to share pictures from the era, which may reverse widening waist lines and thinning hairlines.
The current purchase price for reunion tickets is $30. That will increase Aug. 2 to $40 and then to $45 on the day of the reunion. Visit www.mauston80s.com for more information and to purchase tickets.