Going Back 50+ Years--A Forum

Going Back 50+ Years--A Forum

We added a new feature to our class website that should liven up things a bit. It’s a forum that allows classmates and others who have joined this website to have an ongoing dialogue about not only our time at Hialeah High School, but also what it was like growing up in the area, our upcoming HHS 50ish Reunion and ... . To give you an idea of how others have applied this feature, check out what the Class of 1963 is doing in their “Message Forum:” http://www.hialeahhighclassof63.com/class_forum.cfm . As the Class of 1963 has this feature open to the public, we also will make ours open unless we run into privacy issues. If we do, we’ll simply secure this feature as we do with the other pages on our website. By having it open, it just might encourage those classmates who have not joined our website to join…to provide them a “taste” of what they have been missing.

Although posting responses to comments someone has added to this new forum is highly encouraged, just as a reminder, if you want to send a personal message to a classmate, please go to “Classmate Profiles” on our website, click on that person’s name and then click on the link “Send ‘classmate’ a private message” …which can be found directly under the classmate’s picture. Also, this forum is not the place to express views on politics, religion, and everything we see in the news these days; we’ve all done a great job so far in keeping our own views on these controversial matters out of this website.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at: vince@rusinak.com. In the meantime, enjoy the new feature.

Vince (Vinny) Rusinak

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08/30/17 11:14 PM #1    


Vince "Vinny" Rusinak

Hialeah High School Today

I have great news to report about our high school. Nancy and I went to HHS on “eclipse day” to talk to the principal about not only providing us a tour of the school during our reunion, but to see if he would talk to our class about the renovation plans. When we met with the principal, he was very appreciative that we would want to tour our old high school and learn about what has changed. I am sure we will get a special tour of our school during our reunion…one that certainly will be memorable!

As a preview, while we were there we learned that that the high school students have the school until 2pm and after that they switch to the night class programs. There is now a three story parking garage on the west end of the school adjacent to the auditorium for students. On the east end there are new classrooms, a court yard, the school’s administrative offices and parking underneath for the faculty. The new east end building took up a large chunk of the athletic fields. They now have 9th through 12th grades in the school, but only a total of 2200 students. Compare that to the 1200 in our class and over 4200 students in grades 10 through 12 when we were there.


As a flash back, we visited the school several times in the last 10 years and were very disappointed with what we saw. The school was built in 1954 and it was definitely showing its age. There were portable trailers that housed the air conditioning units for the school (must be that global warming thing). Paint was peeling. It looked terrible. However, when we visited the school this time, we were given a tour of the school by a member of the school’s staff. The first thing we saw was this sign:


Over $14 million had been spent on system upgrades…and a complete repaint. The “old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be,” but she’s much better now. We were told the night school volunteered to take on the landscaping of the center court yard and made it look attractive. As an aside, we were there during the eclipse and the trees around the school seal provided these unusual crescent shaped shadows.

Hialeah (Senior) High School is no longer the “new” school it was when we attended, but it is definitely hiding its age much better today. While more improvements are still needed, I was very impressed with all the recent upgrades. If you come to the reunion, you’ll get a special tour of the school. If you can’t make it to the reunion, I encourage you to stop by the school, go to the principal’s office (all schools now have tight security) and ask for someone to take you around. If you do, let us all know what you discovered.

08/31/17 10:43 AM #2    


Nancy Berthiaume (Rusinak)

We were there on the first day of school and the kids were friendly and proud of their school; lots of Tbred t-shirts and school colors everywhere.

It was an amazing transformation from what we saw on our previous visit a couple of years ago. As a high school educator, I had grave concerns about how/ what teenagers could possibly learn in such a run-down environment; it seemed to me that the school should be closed, torn down, and rebuilt. Now, the current principal is amazingly energetic, upbeat, and welcoming in a building that is receiving a much-needed face-lift:) He shared that more funding is still needed, but the recent work is a great start!


08/31/17 12:26 PM #3    

Linda Tuttle (Lantz)

Thank you so much for posting this article and the great photos.  It is really heartwarming to know that these kids will have new opportunities that many of them so need, and I am so happy that our wonderful Alma Mater is being well taken care of for the new generations to come. 

09/01/17 08:30 AM #4    

Melvin "Jack" Krouskroup

Do the seniors still guard the school seal in the floor (used to be by the adm offices)

and make unsuspecting newbees clean it if the walk on it?

09/01/17 10:29 AM #5    


Vince "Vinny" Rusinak

Probably due to a lack of "senior power" this is how they keep students from walking over the school seal today:

09/01/17 01:27 PM #6    

Jerry Sullivan

I remember the school seal on the floor, you had to walk around it. 

09/01/17 02:18 PM #7    


Christopher "Chris" Smith

Thanks for posting the story and pictures. My wife, Jan Smith, and I went back for her reunion in July of last year and went on a tour and saw most of these improvements. One thing we also saw was the gym floor (oh, so many sock hops I remember) that was all torn up as they were putting in a totally new floor collapsing bleachersl. I was curious as to whether you folks saw the finished product? Regards, Chris

09/01/17 02:43 PM #8    


Vince "Vinny" Rusinak

We saw the condition of the gym before the changes were made and it was bad. We couldn't get into the gym this time, but could peek through the windows in the door and saw a very shiny floor, painted walls and ducting in the ceiling for air conditioning (they have it so easy today!). From what we could see, it was a vast improvement over what we saw before.

09/02/17 12:01 PM #9    

William "Bill" Howell

Changing subject to eats, caddy corner from field at the light was a place that had the best foot long hot dogs. I think they were dropped in grease. Yum yum. Can't do that now but at 16 I could eat anything. Bill Howell

09/03/17 12:15 PM #10    


Richard "T R" Anderson

Could the place have been called "Ceasars"?  They had pretty good burgers also

09/04/17 01:05 PM #11    


Vince "Vinny" Rusinak

You might find the following chart of interest:

In the past few months, we’ve had an average of about 8 classmates visit our website each day. I would imagine that if a classmate visits the website and they don’t find something new, they won’t revisit the site for a month or two or even more. When I posted the information on our high school a few days ago, you can see that the number of classmates visiting the site spiked to over 40. The numbers continue to stay high as long as classmates continue to provide responses. We need YOU to post responses to keep the website interesting. And our classmates in turn would love to hear from YOU…whatever it is you would like to say.

As I mentioned in the lead on article in this forum, please click on  http://www.hialeahhighclassof1963.com/class_forum_cfm and take a few minutes to see how the class of 1963 has used this feature on their website to take them back to the late 50’s and early 60’s. I thought it was uncanny that the class of 1963’s latest post just happened to be about Julius Ceasar’s restaurant: check out our last two posts!

09/04/17 02:32 PM #12    

Jerry Sullivan

There was a place accross the street from the schools football field we always went during lunch break and I remember getting Ice Cream.  Forgot the name ?   maybe Carvel ?

09/05/17 07:34 AM #13    

Gloria Doubrava (Jahnke)

Thanks for sharing the information on HHS. Wonderful to see that the school is getting the improvements it needs and glad to hear the enrollment is at a more reasonable level ! Best, Gloria Jahnke (Doubrava) 


09/05/17 07:46 AM #14    

Melvin "Jack" Krouskroup

I used to go to Grables Bakery for lunch, onion roll and fruit punch drink. 


09/06/17 09:35 PM #15    


Vince "Vinny" Rusinak

Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. If you check out the "Where We Live" section on the right side of our Home Page and click on "Show Classmates on Map" you can see the many classmates that live in South Florida that might be on the path of Hurricane Irma. Two classmates, Dick Haygood and Sue Ellen Johnson Bennett, live on Plantation Key and probably have evacuated by now. I'm sure others are boarding up their homes and have made plans to "get out of Dodge" pretty soon. In addition, Sue Mellen Porretto lives in the Houston area, which is still recovering from Hurricane Harvey. For those soon to be impacted by Irma or those recovering from Harvey, please use this forum to let us know what's happening in your area and how you and your family is doing. And even if you're not impacted by either of these storms, please feel free to join in the conversation. 

09/25/17 04:22 PM #16    


Vince "Vinny" Rusinak

Everyone in our class was impacted by the Vietnam War. If you haven't heard, PBS is currently broadcasting ten episodes of The Vietnam War, a film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick. Tonight, they are showing episode seven. I found this link (http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/the-vietnam-war/episodes/  ) that has all ten episodes that you can watch anytime, at least until they take them off the website and make you buy the DVD. Also, I know Comcast carries the episodes already broadcast in their "On Demand" section. Once you watch one or more of them, I think our class would be interested in hearing your take on this documentary of the Vietnam War. We definitely would be very interested in hearing from those classmates that were in the battles they show and describe in the film.

09/26/17 06:54 PM #17    


Jennifer Dennis (Munro)

 moved to Sebring a couple of years ago to be with my 91 year old mom.  The last two years have been a blessing because she went through some challenges that I could have only helped by being here. We have been through a lot of hurricanes.  I was not here for Andrew but Irma was the worst I have ever seen.  I am in one of the poorest counties and that means something when you need resources.  Today is 2 weeks and 2 days after the storm and this is the first day that everything works and is connected and the main repairs are done, gas in available, and my mom got to move back to her house.  As with any disaster, my most compelling thoughts are of gratitude to the 17000 linemen who came in to help.  My heroes in my neighborhood were from Long Island NY, but I met them from California, Massachusetts, Indiana and the Carolinas.  We had a wind event and not the horrible water event in Texas and certainly nothing like Puerto Rico.  The police were angels and when they were not protecting us from the few looters and running into each other' through downed traffic lights, they were shuttling generators in their trunks from gas stations that had no gas to the ones that did so it could  be pumped.  I had to travel out of the county to  find banks that were open and the devastation is everywhere.  Pastures are lakes.  But, We still had it good.  Most neighbors helped neighbors cleaning up the streets and yards, we shared generators, and ate by candlelight and told stories and got to know each other better..  We are glad Irma is gone, but it was only another reminder that the only real things that mattter are friends and family and of course pets.  But even so, I am installing a full house generator this week for next  time..  I love you all T-Breds and hope you all fared well wherever you may be.  And I pray also for those of you who are near the fires..  There is a lot happening in this country to remind us to give thanks and help where we can.  And keep faithful.    

09/26/17 07:42 PM #18    


Sergio Siller

I received the following link from a classmate of ours from HHS Class of '64 (whom I have known since elementary school!),  Joe Spence.  I'd like to share it for those who will remember the DJ of our youth, Rick Shaw, who passed away recently. It is: https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.local10.com/entertainment/rick-shaw-voice-of-south-florida-rock-n-roll-radio-dies

I was saddened to read this, but his name brought back some great memories of some fun times at Hialeah High School. Rick Shaw is the only DJ I recall listening to during my years as a teenager/T-Bred.  I will never forget how he referred to himself: "movin' & groovin', Rickin' & tickin', Rickie-tickie Shaw"!   I believe he also hosted "High School Handicap", but I am hoping someone can corroborate this as I could be mistaken.  Each morning the first caller to make it through after the DJ announced it was time to play, had to select a high school and if the horse with that name in the race won, the caller won a transistor radio!  I recall calling into HS Handicap each morning before leaving to catch the bus. 

God bless Rickie-tickie Shaw.   

09/27/17 09:42 AM #19    

Barbara Rossetti (Everitt)

My son attended Michigan after Miami Southridge and played in the NFL for 8 years before retiring to Key West. He is sponsoring a GoFundMe drive to help those devastated by the hurricane rebuild. If you have enjoyed Key West and want to again, you might be interested in looking at his page. I am really proud of his efforts and the contributions from Desmond Howard down to the $5 from some Keys affected themselves! Thank you!  https://www.gofundme.com/michigan-football-fans-for-florida?d=186007380.

01/16/18 11:24 PM #20    


Vince "Vinny" Rusinak

Nancy found this article about Hialeah in the February 2018 edition of the magazine "Real Simple." I did a bit of research on the author and found another article you might find of interest about today's Hialeah...and Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School: https://miamirail.org/spring-2017/vena-cava/. Hialeah felt very much like family to me back then. Y tu?


Where It Feels Like Family

By Chantel  Acevedo 

Iwas 25 when I first saw snow. A daughter of Cuban immigrants, I'd been born and raised in Hialeah, a working-class city in greater Miami. But at 25, my husband and I took off for an academic life, chasing degrees and jobs. Behind me were my loud Cuban family, tropical beaches, the pastels of Miami Beach, and Spanish punctuating every sentence. Ahead of me were trains that rattled down long tracks and took you from one big city to another, new terms like "brownstones" and "fireplace dampers,"  knowing what  it meant to be a Latina minority for the first time in my life.

I gave birth  to my first daughter in New Haven,Connecticut, and when she was still a baby, my hus­band and I moved again. This time, warmer weather and a tenure-track  job brought us to Auburn, Alabama. We welcomed  another  daughter shortly afterward, and so it was the four of us there in the Deep South. Nine years later, we had learned  to say "y'all" and root for SEC football with ease.

Like the tea ubiquitous in the South, life in Auburn was pretty sweet. But there was always something missing, a sense of our Iatinidad  that was slipping. I'd vowed that my daughters would speak Spanish and grow up in a bilingual world like the one I had known. For a while there, I managed it. Then, one day when she was 3, my older daughter asked for her shoes instead of her zapatos, and it felt as if I'd failed. When asked to say it en espanol, she would stomp  her tiny feet at me and yell, "English!" Who could blame her? None of her class­ mates spoke Spanish. Neither did her neighbors or her teachers.

Meanwhile, trips home over the holidays were healing, joyful things. Surrounded by abuelas and  tias, cousins and  family friends, my girls transformed into different people. They would dole out hugs, stuff their faces with bistec de palomilla, and learn the words to songs in Span­ish on the radio. They knew about the Three Wise Men­ los Reyes Magos, who brought  toys at Christmas-and about Cuba, and about the places their beloved grand­ mothers were from.

On one visit, as I drove  down  a leafy street,  Bruno Mars's hit "Locked Out of Heaven" came on the radio. I found  myself singing, "I've been locked out of heaven for too looong," and realized  I was crying. Sobbing, no less. It was incredibly cheesy, yes, and also a revelation. It was time to come home.

So we did, thanks to tenured jobs at the University of Miami. Today we live just a few miles from Hialeah, back in Miami-Dade County. Is Miami perfect? No place is. This last hurricane season proved how erratic our weather is, and sea-level  rise is a real threat. But my family is here, my language is here, and the stories that fuel my fiction are here. For a while, my youngest called it "My Ami:' My Ami, Our Ami, Miami-it's all home to me." 

Chantei Aceuedo is the author of A Falling Star, Love and Ghost Letters, The Distant Marvels, and The Living Infinite, which was published  in September. She is an associate professor of English at the University of Miami, where she teaches in the MFA program.

If you liked the article, don't forget to check out this one as well:               https://miamirail.org/spring-2017/vena-cava/


01/17/18 01:07 PM #21    


Kirt Sullivan

Beautifully written and touching. There's always that different perspective to give a reader a look from both sides of a language barrier. Wished I would have put forth more effort in learning spanish.

02/19/18 10:25 AM #22    


Vince "Vinny" Rusinak

The Hialeah High School Class of 1963 had a very interesting posting on their website today. I thought you might enjoy seeing it:


The Hialeah High School Classes of ’62, ’63, ’65 and ’66 all have websites very similar to ours. If you’re interested in seeing what some of your friends in other classes might be doing (if they have signed up), check out the following links to their websites:






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