While many people go to high school and college reunions each year, less decide to attend a sixth grade reunion for a specific teacher. Seventeen of Mr. Harry Myrga’s 21 students from 1972-73 came out Saturday to support the former middle school teacher at his home in Langhorne’s Attleboro Community for a unique occasion of appreciation and emotion.
The reunion is a culmination of effort and coincidences a year in the making. It began when Harlow Russell, who had lived in Vietnam for 25 years, reached out to check on the well being of another member of the class.
This sparked the idea of reaching out to other former classmates for a sixth grade reunion. Months later, almost all of the 21 students attended the gathering in Attleboro Community to reconnect with their Mr. Myrga.
“Being an adult with him is so cool, but still he’s Mr. Myrga to all of us. Our sixth grade class did a lot of very special things,” Russell said. “We went to New York, he took us to museums. As we’ve all learned from reminiscing, he’s impacted us in big ways. We all have distinct memories, so he was a very special teacher.”
Former students now living in places all over the world made the journey to see Mr. Myrga. Whether Seattle, WA, Austin, TX, or Israel, nowhere was too far for the man who had made such an impact on their lives.
“We did so much, and they were such enjoyable things,” Myrga said. “We would cover our curriculum and then branch out. Art, music, theater. In fact, they reminded me that I had taken them to the Forrest Theater in Philadelphia to see the musical Purlie that was on at the time.”
The recollection of times past also brought out a charitable side, as the class donated more than $1,800 to PAEP. The Philadelphia Arts In Education Partnership strives to help teachers bring more arts learning into their curriculum.
“This is a wonderful tribute to Mr. Myrga and the impact that he has had, and continues to have, on all of your lives,” said Chief Executive Officer Pearl Schaeffer. The donation will sponsor an artist residency in honor of Mr. Myrga.