#FIRSTARMY Returns to Cougar Dome for 25th Reunion

Photo | Submitted The original classes that opened Quince Orchard High School in 1988 return Oct. 2 and 3 for a 25th reunion.

Photo | Submitted
The original classes that opened Quince Orchard High School in 1988 return Oct. 2 and 3 for a 25th reunion.

In 1988, Quince Orchard High School opened to 9th, 10th and 11th grades. This fall, Oct. 2 and 3, alumni from those original classes are coming back to celebrate the 25th anniversary of QO’s first graduating class.

“We all remember 1990 like it was yesterday,” said Andrea (Faris) Roberts, one of seven women organizing the reunion event. “This is only this one time. This is a historic event, 25 years after we graduated the first class. We want to involve the community as best we can.”

That the reunion weekend kicks off with a home football game against Gaithersburg on Oct. 2 (gates open at 5:30 p.m.) is fitting. QO began as it has gone on—as a football powerhouse.

Roberts began high school and completed 10th grade at Seneca Valley High School, and she recalled not wanting to start high school all over again at QO. Plus, Seneca Valley’s football team was legendary.

That would change.

“In 1991, we were state champs in football,” Roberts said. “We took our best talent with us (from Seneca Valley).”

Roberts was not an athlete or cheerleader at QO, but she did keep a scrapbook of clippings from the school newspaper, the Cougar Crier, that chronicle the football seasons. Some on the reunion committee were cheerleaders, Roberts said, and they were surprised to see themselves in her scrapbook.

And then there’s her father, Lee Faris, announcer known far and wide as the Voice of the Cougars, who will be broadcasting from loudspeakers at the Oct. 2 game. That’s pretty great, Roberts said, adding that her father has been announcer at QO games for more than 20 years.

“We want to get the Red Army out there” especially for this game, Roberts said. She hopes that 25th reunion alumni will be sporting chalkboard black “#FIRSTARMY” t-shirts. Roberts designed the logo used on the t-shirts. Through the reunion website—www.qohs2015reunion.com—alumni can order the shirts and personalize them with their names and graduating years on the back. A general reunion event t-shirt designed for the community also will be available for purchase on the website.

After all of the reunion events’ bills have been paid, any extra money will be donated to the QOHS Booster Club to benefit future Cougars, Roberts said. The reunion committee hopes to offset costs and increase its donation to the QOHS Booster Club by selling sponsorships to local businesses. Businesses can choose placement on QOHS 25th Reunion yard signs, large banners and the event website. Sponsorship options range from $50 to $1,000.

We’re trying to keep ticket prices for the events low, Roberts said, and make this a family friendly weekend.

After the football game, alumni will go to Quincy’s Bar and Grille on Quince Orchard Road. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., brings a family-oriented and fully catered picnic at High Point Farm in Clarksburg. “It will be a great day,” said Roberts. Kids can enjoy sports like soccer, t-ball, horseshoes, and jump in a moon bounce. Saturday night is for adults-only when the third floor—inside and out—of Growler’s in Olde Towne will be reserved, beginning at 7 p.m., for the QO classes of ‘90, ‘91 and ‘92. “We’ll have an ‘80s and ‘90s band,” said Roberts.

Roberts recommends purchasing tickets now through the reunion website before prices go up on Sept. 19.

Even if you aren’t a member of QO’s original classes, you’ll want to visit www.qohs2015.reunion.com. It’s a trip down memory lane and back with photos submitted by alumni. Big hair ruled along with that ‘80s music, and Driver’s Ed was a required class taken during school hours, Roberts recalled. Most of today’s Kentlands and Lakelands was still farm land. Quince Orchard was a two-lane, windy road.

Kevia (Shepard) Matthews, who is part of the 25th reunion committee and was voted “Most Unforgettable” by her senior class, said she has had a great time reconnecting with classmates through a reunion Facebook group page. “(During high school,) I knew someone from all of the groups,” she said, “and they knew me.” Matthews was a cheerleader all through Ridgeview Junior High, Seneca Valley High School and then QO. She remembers how focused everyone at QO was on being the best. “Everyone was competitive,” she said, in their area of interest—academics, sports, the arts.

The Class of 1990 is important, she pointed out, because it established QO traditions and culture. Students voted on school colors, mascot and even school name before QO opened. “Potomac Valley High School” had been a favored choice, but that was voted down by students. “Everything started with us,” she said, citing school songs and school spirit activities. In fact, the Class of 1990 was the first in the county to hold a senior citizens’ prom.

Matthews went on to college and military service, but she said that through her travels, she has “always called this place home.” Seeing other states and countries gave her new perspective on and appreciation for how wonderful life is in this area.

The website features a page that honors class members who are active or retired military. Another page remembers class members who have passed away.

Everyone with photos of the classes of ’90, ’91 and ’92 is invited to submit them via the website, or to email Andrea Roberts directly at bamaroberts@gmail.com.

Roberts hopes that everyone turns out to celebrate QO’s three original graduating classes. “If you don’t make the memories, then you don’t have them,” she said.