50th Reunion Summary

Written by John Carman

Members of the Lincoln Southeast Class of 1971 gathered in Lincoln, NE for their 50th Reunion on September 23 – 25, 2021.  More than 150 classmates and guests gathered for time together remembering their high school days and their many subsequent experiences with family, friends and work life experiences since they graduated.

The theme for the reunion was “LSE Class of ‘71:  Where It All Began.”

The activities started at Seacrest Field for a Pre-game Social in the parking lot prior to the Lincoln Southeast vs. East High School football game.   About 80 people attended and then sat together to watch the game.  Several people wore their original pep club and letter jackets.  Others wore special T-Shirts designed for the 50th reunion. The class was announced and recognized during the game by the announcer.

The following day included golf at Crooked Creek Golf for 20 classmates playing a form of best-ball.  It was not a tournament, but one foursome seemed to be especially happy with their resulting score.   

That evening the classmates and guests gathered for an informal Meet and Greet in the Jasmine Room of the Grand Manse in downtown Lincoln.  Bruce Weyhrauch  and Louis Doyle served as Class of ‘71 Celebrity hosts and Masters of Ceremony.  Their duties included awarding prizes for the most obscure facts each classmate was willing to share.  A few entries were discarded for possible use by law enforcement authorities.  No arrests were made at The Venue.

Saturday morning included a tour of Southeast High School.  The tour was led by Principal Tanner Penrod and a 1971 Classmate, Bill Bryant.  Bill serves as the LSE campus supervisor.   The tour was greatly appreciated by the 40+ classmates who attended.  Only portions of the original 1971 structure were recognizable.  Several people tried sitting on the simulated senior bench outside the former cafeteria, since the bench no longer exists.  No one was injured in the simulated bench sitting and no classmates were lost on the tour.  All who completed the tour were able to gather for an unmasked group photo outside building.  

The 50th Reunion concluded with a Saturday evening event in the Cornhusker Ballroom of the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel in downtown Lincoln.  The hotel also served as Reunion Headquarters.  The group enjoyed a collection of popular late 1960s/early 70s pop music compiled by classmate Pete Larson while they ate dinner. 

The Saturday evening program was hosted by classmates Mary Tiemann Delaney and Steve Shelly.  They also provided an entertaining review titled “What Were They Really Thinking” using casual photos from the 1971 LSE Shield yearbook.   Their humorous lampoons were directed throughout the class, and occasionally at each other.  Only parents and faculty were spared.  

Former Lincoln Southeast faculty member and football coach Frank Solich sent a video greeting to the class.  He recalled several challenges the class presented him, especially members of the football team, while also recalling that he felt that he grew up with members of the Class of ‘71 since it was his first large school head coaching assignment after graduating from UNL.

Members of the LSE 1970 football team in attendance, crowned Nebraska State Class A Champions by the Lincoln Journal Star, enjoyed watching game films from the team’s winning season.  While they watched the game tapes in original authentic black and white film, most of the rest of class enjoyed catching up with each other and after dinner coffee and cake.

The evening also included well-deserved thanks to the organizing committee, with special thanks to Tim Wentz who served as the lead organizer and Reunion Chair.  He accepted the challenge and began the organizing for the 50th Class Reunion more than 18 months earlier using internet video conference sessions about every two months.  The Class of ‘71 presented Tim with a ceremonial mantle clock in recognition of his organizing skills and the extensive amount of time he spent working to make the endeavor a tremendous success.  Tim was also thanked for his key role in helping to plan earlier class reunions and for his ability to keep the Class of ‘71 web site current and useful to members of the class.