Members of the Battle Ground High School class of 1953 will celebrate their 70th reunion at Kiwanis Park on Saturday, Aug. 19. The class had a total of 125 graduates, most of whom are around the age of 88, Louise Tucker, a graduate of 1953, said, adding she hopes to see a dozen classmates at the reunion.
“Well, I’m up every morning and have my feet on the floor,” Tucker said about reaching her 70th high school reunion. “It’s just a thankful feeling in my own home.”
Since 1953, Tucker has watched the city of Battle Ground grow. With Battle Ground becoming an incorporated city in 1951, the first census took place in 1960 with the population of Battle Ground estimated at around 888. The 2020 census recorded Battle Ground to have 20,743 people, and the 2023 estimate by worldpopulationreview.com states Battle Ground to now have 21,655 residents.
“The number of people, the number of houses, the number of businesses,” Tucker added to how Battle Ground has changed over the decades. “I always laugh and say in 1953 there was no place in town to buy a bra. You could buy shoes, but once a year, John’s Shoes and Clothing had a bra sale, and they brought in boxes of them, and that’s pretty important to women.”
Prior to 1953, Tucker was a part of the Pleasant Valley School District, which was gobbled up into the Battle Ground Public Schools District.
In an email, Tucker stated that many small districts were still alive while she was in grade school, which was during World War II. She mentioned Barberton, Glenwood and Pleasant Valley were their own school districts before consolidating into others like Battle Ground. She said her mom was on the Pleasant Valley School Board when the transition into the Battle Ground Public Schools district took place.
“It was heart-wrenching,” she said. “The community had lost its identity.
“I never associated with Battle Ground before I went to school up there in the seventh grade because we always went to Vancouver because it was closer,” Tucker said. “You knew everybody within two miles. There were some drawbacks because of what we didn’t have. We had a couple of shelves in the coat closet. That was our library. The state started bringing education standards up, and the little districts just didn’t have the money to fund the things that were needed.”
Tucker said, of her sixth-grade class at Pleasant Valley, she was the only girl to go to the Battle Ground Public Schools district, which was a struggle for her as she was shy in her new school. It wasn’t until Tucker’s senior year of high school that she overcame her shyness and became a business manager in the student body office at Battle Ground High School.
To keep in touch, Tucker and the class of 1953 members have been meeting for a reunion every five years, but the 70th reunion is a milestone.
At the celebration, coffee and tea will be provided. No meal will be served, so people can bring their own food if they choose.
The reunion will take place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19 at Kiwanis Park, 422 S.W. Second Ave. A group photo is scheduled for 2 p.m. People planning to attend should contact Bill and Louise Tucker at 360-798-4093.