ROTTERDAM Even though a quarter-century has passed since the Draper School closed, it is still drawing a crowd.
More than 200 students of the former Draper School gathered last year to share memories from within the walls. This year, planners hope to pull in even more tales. The school closed in 1987 and was absorbed into the Mohonasen School District.
The second annual Draper “Across the Years” reunion will be held on Saturday, July 21, at the Rotterdam Elks Lodge located at 1152 Curry Road starting at 4 p.m. with a meet and greet. There will also be a free pre-party on Friday, July 20, starting at 6 p.m. at the Blue Jay Tavern located at 2721 Broadway.
“We have people from the beginning of the school that are coming all the way through to the last year,” said reunion organizer Patricia Liddle. “A lot of the people that have come up through Rotterdam … they have come up through the school and they stayed here so it is their hometown.”
Liddle recalled moving to Rotterdam from New Jersey in 1969 and not knowing anyone. The record-breaking snowfall, she said, also delivered a cold welcome that year.
“We moved here in August and I went to school and all of a sudden it was Thanksgiving and we had so much snow I couldn’t get out of the driveway,” she said. “I used to cry — this place was so far off the beaten path.”
But soon enough she ended up making friends, enjoying the town and finding people to be very welcoming. Now, she credits moving to Rotterdam for saving her life. She said many people she knew from New Jersey ended up dying from drug use.
After having so many positive memories and good friends though school, she wanted to gather everyone back together again and organized the first reunion.