The Libertas yearbook for 1963, from Liberty Central School, in Liberty, Sullivan County, New York, is another in the series we have been publishing from that school. Of course, it’s not “just” a high school yearbook, it is also an item of New York State history, and now it is once again available.
High school yearbooks are one form of history that records everyone when they graduate from high school. They, and their community, are frozen at a point in time that the yearbook captures and keeps. Haircuts, clothes, friends, teachers – they are all captured as they were, not as we choose to remember them or tell our children they were back in the good old days. The class pictured in this yearbook – their yearbook – was born at the end of World War II, and had come of age at a time when Liberty, as one of the hubs of the “Borscht Circuit”, was near its peak (although few, if anyone, in this class had any inkling that things in their home town were not going to get better and better.)
For some it did get better, and quite a bit better at that! As an example, Alan Gerry, the Liberty entrepreneur who built the Cablevision empire and who was the foundation of the arts center in Bethel commemorating the Woodstock festival (as well as many other good works throughout Sullivan County), is mentioned in these pages as “Alan Gerry’s TV & Appliance Store” among the advertisers. Who knew? And how many of these well-scrubbed Liberty kids eventually would be in enthusiastic attendance at that very Woodstock festival, for that matter?
In Asia, while this class was receiving their diplomas in Liberty, the United States was beginning to get seriously involved in what became the Vietnam war – but who in this graduating class realized that this war and its social manifestations on the home front would shape the nation for the next half century and more? Who had any sense that the shiny new high school currently under construction on upper Buckley Street would be graduating seniors who looked far different from this class in not so many years, and that Grossinger’s would be gone, along with most of the resort industry and most of the tax base that financed Liberty Central School in 1964?
Yes, there is emphatically some history in this yearbook, the Libertas yearbook for 1963 – and particularly in this one yearbook in the long series of Libertas. We think it is emphatically to the credit of the editors of this yearbook that they seized upon the fact that this was the 50th graduating class from Liberty High School (at this time, Liberty Central School) and projected the sense of history that this anniversary merited, if for that reason alone.
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