By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Past, Present Combine For PIT Reunion
From some of the earliest classes to students that just graduated a month ago, Escalon High PIT - Peer Interaction Team - members gathered at the school for a special reunion on Saturday, June 21.

Brought together by Lesley (Veldstra) Killingsworth and Kaitlin Ogilvie, both members of PIT during their high school days, the reunion was two-fold; staged as a celebration for longtime teacher Steve French on his retirement and also to get the PIT members back together to share memories and catch up with what has been going on in their lives while marking the 20th anniversary of the program.

Through PIT, students work with elementary, middle school and high school students that need a listening ear, a buddy, someone they can trust and share concerns with.

"We were just talking about what we miss around PIT and it's the closeness," Killingsworth, a 2002 graduate, said. "It was like a family at school."

While the goal of PIT was helping students, Killingsworth said those that were members of PIT also gained by developing the camaraderie with the other team members.

"It was very therapeutic," she said.

For Ogilvie, her main thought when she began her time in PIT was to be of service.

"I went into it thinking I'm going to be able to help people," she explained. "I didn't realize how much I would need everybody else."

Fridays were set aside for group time in PIT, when the class would take time for each other and share what was happening with them.

And though Mr. French retired from teaching fulltime, he will be back to continue leading the PIT class one period each day, something that both Killingsworth and Ogilvie are pleased abut.

"We need to make sure that it goes on," Killingsworth said.

"We all felt really close to each other," Ogilvie agreed. "You just want other people to have that."

Both were quick with their praise for French, who has served two decades as the PIT advisor.

"He was the most sincere person, a great listener ... someone very close to our hearts," said Killingsworth.

The reunion on Saturday was staged in the Escalon High cafeteria, with a barbecue prepared by fellow teacher Rick Heflin served up before the PIT members joined in several ice breakers, events designed to get them laughing and energized.

Taking time to reflect while looking through one of the many scrapbooks brought in for the occasion, Diana (Mangnuson) Scott, Yvonne (Rodriguez) Wheeler and Bonnie (Schurkamp) Krieger were poring over the photos.

"I wanted to see everyone and see Mr. French," said Krieger, a 1991 graduate. "PIT was very rewarding."