Hagerty High’s first graduating class celebrates its 10-year reunion
She was the George Washington of Hagerty High. Aubry Baird was the school’s very first class president – the Class of 2009, to be exact – and she and her classmates were starting from scratch. There were no upperclassmen to look up to – they were it. No traditions were established. Aubry and her 500-or-so fellow Hagerty Huskies were tasked with building a strong legacy of Husky Pride, and they were determined to make sure that legacy included a tradition of giving back.
“My class is special to me, but it’s also special to the community,” Aubry says.
It’s fitting, then, that the 10-year reunion of Hagerty’s inaugural graduating class was a community affair.
Aubry and two other former students who live locally – Joe Takacs and Saraya Diraimondo – recently organized the reunion celebration at Oviedo Brewing Company in August. Joe is a Realtor, Saraya works for a meeting-destination company, and Aubry is in healthcare business development. The event was a smashing success, with about 100 Hagerty alums attending, plus about 20 school staff members including founding principal Sam Momary and social studies teacher and golf coach Matt Malkovich among them.
Many of the reunion attendees didn’t have to come too far to see old friends. But others did, such as Jason Derek Spann, now an assistant college basketball coach in California. Irene Palacios, now a personal banker, came from New York, and Caitlyn Edwards traveled from South Carolina — where she is a ranger with the National Park Service.
Bonds that Last
Two of the reunion’s attendees were extra special to Aubry. They are members of her own family. During her very first year at Hagerty, Aubry developed a crush on a student named Jordan. She naturally did what any other shy, freshman student would do to grab a young man’s attention.
“I ran into him, on purpose, and dropped my book – also on purpose,” Aubry laughs. She and Jordan were married in 2013.
Jordan’s mom, Carla Baird, worked as a secretary at Hagerty High, as did Mary Cullen and Marge Carver. All three former staffers volunteered at the reunion.
“I was excited to get back and see all of them,” says Marge of the students.
Dean and Shanda Suris – parents of former student Alicia Suris – also volunteered at the reunion, which featured professional photography with props, door prizes, and music. Though Alicia, who lives on a military base, could not attend, the group FaceTimed with her during the reunion.
At the gathering, the Class of 2009 also displayed an illuminated photo centerpiece with images of classmates they have lost since graduation.
A Class with Class
Last year, the Class of 2009 launched a fundraising effort for baseball umpire Randy Harvey, who began his career in Little League and worked his way up to the College World Series. When it became known that Randy needed both legs amputated due to health issues, the inaugural Hagerty seniors raised $2,340 to help make Randy’s home handicap-accessible.
“He is a good person and a big motivator for students,” says Aubry.
The Class of 2009 established many continuing traditions, such as putting paint handprints on a cafeteria wall at Hagerty, but its legacy of creating community may be its biggest accomplishment.
“We didn’t have resources,” says Dean, one of many early Hagerty parents who helped the school thrive. “We had to build the stage for the prom. There were many late nights in the gymnasium.”
“They set the traditions,” says Marge of the Class of 2009. “They helped build a cohesive, caring school community for those who followed.”
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