Though Friday afternoon was warm and slightly soggy, the atmosphere at the sixth annual Holiday Homecoming for Marietta City Schools was full of festive cheer.
The Holiday Homecoming, hosted by Marietta High School's National Honor Society, invites former students and staff back to the school.
Jim Luthy, 72, of Marietta, who used to teach chemistry at Marietta High School, was one of the visitors who made his way to the library, where there were holiday refreshments and old yearbooks to browse.
AMANDA NICHOLSON The Marietta Times
Jim Thrash, Pete Kincaid and Jim Luthy reminisce about years past at Friday’s Holiday Homecoming event at Marietta High School. The event drew more than 30 alumni.
"I started teaching in '76-'77," Luthy said. "I taught at Warren before coming here and taught from '96 to 2008 at Washington State."
As he flipped through an old yearbook, Luthy said the memories he has of his time at the high school are many.
"I met my wife here; she was a teacher here," he said. "Some of the best memories are of the staff in the science department. It was fun to work with the other teachers."
Luthy's daughter, Melissa Gandor, is also a teacher at Marietta High School.
She said there was a "kissing photo" in one of the yearbooks of her father kissing her mother's cheek.
"It's cute," she remarked after finding it.
Luthy said a benefit of the event is catching up with former students.
"There were so many good students here," he said. "It's great seeing students you taught, remembering the students and seeing the successes they've had."
Pete Kincaid, 68, of Marietta, said he attends the event every year.
"I taught for 34 years in Marietta City Schools," he said.
He said his favorite memories are of "the kids and my fellow teachers."
"We enjoy coming back and seeing how everything is and meeting up with our friends," Kincaid said. "We appreciate being invited."
Joseph Rabbene, English teacher and adviser to the National Honor Society, said last year's event saw a pretty big problem.
"Last year we had not enough food and too many people," he said. "This year we're hoping we have enough food."
Rabbene said each year the National Honor Society chooses to donate to a specific charity.
This year, the group chose the Marietta High School Alumni and Friends Foundation project of renovating the auditorium.
"This year they're trying to do something for our community," Rabbene said. "All good works should be a balance between local and non-local."
"The alumni are trying to do something to build a better education experience, but also the community might be able to benefit," Rabbene said, adding that community organizations might be able to use the auditorium after renovations are completed.
Renovations will include new seats and carpet, improved acoustics, an expanded sound booth, refurbished stage floor, new lighting and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility.
Donations were being collected during the holiday event to help further the project.
One 2004 graduate, Ashley Miller, came home for Christmas from Tulsa, Okla.
Miller is studying neuropsychology and getting her doctorate at the University of Tulsa.
"I'm home for the holidays," she said. "My mom's a teacher here and she let me know about it. I've been wanting to come back for a while now and it worked out this year."
Miller said she has several favorite memories from high school.
"It's been 10 years, but a lot of memories involve the crew team, Mrs. Nutter's English class and Miss Mahan's French class," she said.
Kelly Bishop, math teacher at the high school, said she is in a unique position.
"I'm in a special position because I am an alum, my dad taught here and now I teach here," she said, adding that it was a cool position to be in.
Bishop added that both Luthy and Kincaid were her teachers in school.
"It's a nice feeling to see them," Bishop said. "To be able to express the gratitude over all their hard work, over all they gave me: the guidance and support that got me to where I am today."
"It's a nice time for the students to give back to the former staff members and to share all the stories and relive experiences they had at Marietta High School," Bishop said.