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On the Town: Former students from 2 high schools reminisce during annual joint reunion

The rivalry between Burbank's two public high schools usually entails an athletic field to separate the red-adorned students, alumni, faculty and supporters of John Burroughs High School from their blue-garbed counterparts at Burbank High School.

This past week, however, saw an evening of purple collegiality as close to 200 alumni from the two schools gathered to mix, mingle and catch up at the seventh annual JBHS-BHS All-Class Reunion held at DeBell Golf Club's Canyon Grille.

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"Most classes only have a reunion every five or 10 years, so I thought this would be a good way for people to get to see one another every year," said Gil Tobon, a Burroughs High graduate who conceived the all-class get-together.

"These events also give people the opportunity to meet other folks who they have something in common with — who went to the same high school — even though they may not have been in the same class, or even been there at the same time."

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Steve Stark, a member of the Burroughs High Class of 1961 agreed with Tobon.

"I've been coming to these reunions every year since they started and have always been the oldest one," he said with a laugh.

"But that's not true this year," Stark added as he motioned to an arriving couple.

That couple, Jane and Don Pinkerton, who graduated from Burroughs High in 1953, never even made it to the front door before they were welcomed by Barbara Battey, whose father, George Batty Jr., served on the Burbank City Council and as the city's mayor in the early 1990s.

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"Jane used to babysit for me when I was a little girl," Battey said as she hugged her former guardian.

Along with Tobon, this reunion, which has become a Burbank tradition, has been made possible by the Burbank Alumni Assn., which is chaired by Joanne Lento Miller and made up of Connie Barron Trimble, Kathy Engh Lawrence, Roberta Reynolds, Emilio Urioste, Kathie Brown and Joyce Rudolph.

The nonprofit alumni group raises scholarship funds for graduating seniors from both schools and coordinates numerous events including the alumni tailgate reunion prior to the Burbank-Burroughs homecoming football games.

The organization also stages quarterly fundraising alumni faculty mixers that are open to all alum, faculty, staff and family members, and honor both past and present educators.

Their next event is slated for Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. and will be held at the Burbank VFW, which is located at 1006 W. Magnolia Blvd.

According to Lento Miller, this month's mixer will pay tribute to four honorees: Leon Frankamp and Bill Larson of Burbank High, and Bonnie Burrow and Greg Everhart of Burroughs High.

For more information about this event that provides an opportunity for those associated with the schools to visit, reconnect, reminisce and salute dedicated teachers in an informal setting, you can send an email to Lento Miller at bhsjbhsalumni.com.

DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

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