Steamboat Springs High School Class of ’95 looks back two decades |

Steamboat Springs High School Class of ’95 looks back two decades

When the Steamboat Springs class of 1995 gathers here this weekend for its 20th reunion, classmates of David Virgili will be sending positive energy to him in Portland, Oregon, where he is being treated for Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

— When members of the Steamboat Springs High School class of 1995 assemble for their 20th reunion here Friday and Saturday, they'll set aside some time to send positive thoughts to a classmate, David Virgili, who is in Portland, Oregon, undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system).

Classmate Renee Patterson Gaerlan, who is organizing the reunion, said Virgili, who spent the last four years teaching English as a second language in several Asian countries, was diagnosed within a month of returning to the United States.

"This is a disease that's terrible, and David has no one right now," Gaerlan said. "I've been on the phone with a lot of my classmates, and it's devastating. What's special about my class is that we've been friends since grade school, and we're still friends. There have been many situations over the last 20 years when we've been there for everybody. I'm so excited to see my friends – I'm sure tears will be shed."

Matt Cloven — who now lives in Denver, where he advocates for children with disabilities — counts Virgili among his best high school buddies and has created a Go Fund Me account in his friend's name. As of Thursday afternoon, the site had raised $1,975 over the span of four days.

Cloven recalls Virgili as a free spirit who loved the outdoors and brought a touch of Southern California to Steamboat Springs High School when he moved here to live with an aunt and uncle after his own mother died of cancer.

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"He was a long-haired surfer boy then when he showed up in Steamboat," Cloven said. "He dreamed big and has traveled to so many countries. He's been able to be absorbed into different cultures and collected amazing stories."

Naturally, Virgili won't be the only member of the graduating class of '95 who won't make it to Steamboat this weekend. Ironically, Todd Lodwick, the Olympic medalists whose name is likely the most recognizable of all of his classmates, will be attending the high school reunion of a friend in another state, Gaerlan said.

Another classmate, Jonathan Bricklin, who has gained fame as an actor in the AOL show, "Connected," is a maybe.

Joe Panepinto will be coaching football in Gunnison this weekend, and Mark Dudley is making preparations for his wedding in Denver.

Eric McClelland is on the confirmed list. Lisa Goodrich Carter, and her husband and former classmate, Ben Carter, are confirmed. Nicole Andrew Struble, who teaches school in Steamboat, is expected to attend. Gaerlan, a former city of Steamboat Springs fire technician now living in Norfolk, Virginia, is looking forward to seeing Ann Acker Hodgden at the reunion. She isn't certain about the status of class valedictorian Kristin Wolff, who was also class treasurer. Brenda Duncan was the class president, Mindy Wagner was the V.P. and Kerry Brophy was the secretary.

The class of '95 was high school principal Harlan Lear's last graduating class. Lear became principle relatively late in a 30-year career at the high school, where he taught social studies and coached sports.

John Shikles was the assistant principal in 1995, and Dr. Cyndy Simms was the school superintendent. School board members included Millie Beall, Barbara Ficke, Jim Gill, Kathy Northcutt and George "Bud" Romberg.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

If you go

What: Steamboat Springs High School Class of 1995 reunion

When and where:

5 p.m., Friday at Slopeside restaurant – members of all Steamboat graduating classes are invited to a soiree

3 p.m., Saturday in Little Toots Park on Twelfth Street – barbecue and tubing in the Yampa River, followed by the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series

Information: 818-388-1608