shs header picture

 Volume V Issue II Fall - 2002 
Reggie Reynolds Memorial
Held at Sidney High School

Memories, laughter and tears were shared among 130 people who attended a very special ceremony at Sid-ney High School Sunday, July 21 as part of Alumni Weekend 2002.

A tree rededication was held near the flagpole in the high school circle in the memory of Regina Marie "Reggie" Reynolds, a member of the SHS Class of 1974 who died while a student at SUNY Morrisville in 1975

Reggie's love of trees and nature were the original reason why the Class of 1976 planted a birch tree for her as their class gift. That tree, and the dedication plaque in front of it, was worn over time, however, and both were removed.

Fortunately, the newly landscaped school parking lot and courtyard area presented the ideal setting for another tree, which led to a truly inspirational program that culminated with the July 21 ceremony.

Two members of the Class of 1976, Greg Davie and Sheri Emerson Kinsella, joined with Ron Wischhusen (Class of 1972), who was not only Chairman of the 2002 Alumni Weekend, but also a close family friend of Reggie and her mother, Barbara Smith. Together these four stayed in contact and helped make the arrangements for what was to be a simple tree and monument rededication.

At least "simple" was the original plan.

As the weeks and days drew closer, others came for-ward to provide special touches that showed that Reggie's memory is still very much within the hearts of those who knew her.

Sidney school Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds, Bob Holt, arranged for the plaque to be restored and also remounted it into a beautiful bluestone marker. The tree itself, a crabapple tree which flowers much like the cherry blossoms in every Spring, was selected for the ceremony. Shirley Johnson of the District Office staff and member of the Hill and Valley Club, provided a lovely mix of flowers and mulch to surround the tree and marker. Jim Wakeman of Richard "Bud" Wakeman Construction offered a concrete bench, placed between the flagpole and the tree for personal reflections.

Also, Diane Graney Holbert provided buttons with Reggie's picture and the words "Remembering Reggie" that were distributed to the early arrivals. Jeff Bagley of Landers Funeral Home furnished the com-mittee with complimentary leaflets commemorating Reggie's life. We thank you both so much!

Thanks to the Sidney Alumni Association newspaper Reflections, as well as the Tri-Town News, the word was out for alumni and friends to meet at 10:00 am Sunday morning.

Heartwarming only begins to describe what took place on that morning. First, the weather was perfect - a cloudless sky! Then, people gathered at the circle in growing numbers to see the memory board, put together by Sheri Kinsella, and to greet the family members in attendance.

Greg Davie led the ceremony, asking various people to speak on Reggie's behalf. They included:

Deacon Thomas Luby of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Sidney, where Reggie had been a member. Mr. Luby read two Bible passages and compared the tree to the cycle of life.

Steve Reynolds, Reggie's brother, spoke for the family. Steve was in town for his 25th reunion as a '77 graduate of Sidney. He read parts of a letter from Reggie's school file, telling why she was interested in studying Conservation and Natural Resources in college.

Dr. Howard Lynch, former Superintendent of Sidney Schools, shared a poem about friendship and also noted that Aimee Roberts of the Class of 1982 also went to SUNY-Morrisville and for her class project, landscaped a similar memorial to Reggie on that campus.

Mary Morrison, Reggie's field hockey and volleyball coach, also read one of Reggie's letters. It was a letter for membership into the Women's Athletic Association, or WAA, which at the time was the girls' version of the Varsity Club (now, all student athletes are part of one organization). In the letter, Reggie mentioned her desire to make sportsmanship her priority. Since 1976, it has been named the Reggie Reynolds Girls Sportsmanship Award.

Two recipients of that award were recognized at that time, Erica Brazee (2000) and her sister Ashley (2002).

Ron Wischhusen spoke briefly about his friendship with Reggie and her family and recalled how Reggie always put others needs before her own. He also praised Reggie for helping him become the person he is today.

Others in the audience were invited to share their thoughts as well. Several did step forward, former teachers, neighbors, friends and classmates. Next came the unveiling. Barbara (Tacea) Smith, Reggie's mother and a 1952 Sidney Alumna, joined Class of 1976 President Carole Redmond Staribro to remove the lace cover. The plaque and marker now stand beside the tree and all of its decorative beauty.

In a final gesture, Greg Davie described a song, part of whose lyrics appeared in the 1976 yearbook, which was dedicated in Reggie's memory. The song, "Way Over Yonder", was written by Carole King and appeared on Tapestry, the immensely popular album from 1971. The version that played was performed by Blessid Union of Souls off the album Tapestry Revisited.

As the song played, there were hugs, tears' emotion, and quiet reflection. But the song also represented hope, such as the hope that perhaps similar remembrances may be held for others, or as a regular part of Alumni Weekend each year.

To all who came, thank you very much for being there. July 21, 2002 will certainly be a special day for all of us who were a part of "Remembering Reggie".