Shaped by so many forces, the Catonsville High School Class of 1972 is celebrating our 50th year of graduation from high school.
We are baby boomers, a significant and influential generation, born in the middle of the baby bonanza years (1946-1964). Born during a period of post-World War II optimism and as children of the “Greatest Generation,” we have left an indelible mark on American history.
Influenced by our parents’ traditional values, we grew up during some of the most radical changes in American history. We were children in the 1960s and witnessed firsthand the sweeping and dramatic changes of that decade — from the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and his brother, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr., to the civil rights movement to men landing on the moon. And, of course, the music explosion from Motown to the Beatles.
As young adults coming of age in the 1970s, we participated in the women’s rights movement and saw the end of the Vietnam War. Through all of this, we embraced the social responsibility of our peers and the traditional values of our parents’ generation. We are lucky; we represent the most exemplary values of two generations spanning two centuries.
Now we are senior citizens, some of us with grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We bring a lifetime of experiences in eras of prosperity and turbulence.
How have we done as children growing up in Catonsville? Below is a look at the lives of some of our classmates. All demonstrate similar values and lives well lived.
Jean Sando Holzman — Shock Trauma Nurse
Jean always knew that she wanted to help people in her chosen nursing profession. Students learned the importance of caring for and assisting in the nursing profession in college. “If you did not embrace these values, then nursing was not for you,“ she said.
After graduating, she attended the University of Maryland, College Park then pursued her last two years at the University of Maryland at Baltimore to receive her bachelor of nursing degree.
In the summers of her junior and senior years, she worked at the University of Maryland Medical Center. It was there that her high school friend Linda Lane, ‘70, introduced her to the Shock Trauma Unit. She remained there for 44 years until her retirement, handling some of the gravest and most critical cases in medicine.
She remembers her high school years as very traditional. She said that her classmates were very respectful of their teachers and supported a strong community of learning through academics, sports and other extracurricular activities. She also noted the change in dress code in her senior year of high school. “We were now able to wear jeans!”
But the most profound effect on Jean during her formative years was the women’s movement. Women had choices now. They could focus on their careers or work flexible schedules and spend time with their families, as Jean did.
Jean has been married for 42 years, has three children and five grandchildren.
David Ditman — High School Teacher and Community Activist
As with many of our classmates, Dave was unsure about his future profession when he graduated from high school. For a while, he painted houses with his high school buddies. This, along with carpentry, has been a lifelong skill that he used in all his endeavors, particularly in community service work.
He attended Catonsville Community College, Frostburg State University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The good, solid teachers he had at Catonsville High School encouraged him on this path. He graduated from UMBC with an education degree in history. After graduation, he taught at a Catholic middle school in Baltimore and then for 30 years at Howard High School, from which he retired.
Dave also remembers the traditional values of stability and service to others that he learned during his high school years. He is a lifelong resident of Catonsville and, now in retirement, serves his community through his participation in the Rails to Trails project in Catonsville. He is also involved in various architectural organizations, most notable the Baltimore Architecture Foundation and the “Doors Open” event in October. Approximately 50 rehabbed and restructured buildings in Baltimore are open for public viewing.
Dave has been married for 42 years, has two sons and one grandchild.
Michael Curry — Financial Services Executive and Soccer Supporter
Throughout his life, Michael has loved soccer. He gleaned good life skills from his pursuit of soccer — from teamwork and strategy to planning, and finally, in his adult years as a sponsor of the U.S. soccer team.
As a student at Catonsville High School and at the U.S. Naval Academy, he played soccer. He finished his studies at the University of Baltimore, from which he graduated with a degree in accounting. During Michael’s senior year in college at the University of Baltimore, his soccer team went to the national championships.
After graduation, Michael worked in various positions using his accounting, automation and engineering skills. He traveled all over the world to achieve these goals. He spent most of his career at the Vanguard Group, Inc., and made significant contributions to the company’s growth.
Despite his busy career, Michael remained an enthusiastic supporter of soccer. He believes that his love and support for soccer contributed as much to his career success as his impeccable job qualifications. During one of his final years at Vanguard, Michael coached the national soccer team in Brazil for one month. He also supports a generous endowment for soccer coaches.
Despite his significant contributions to his career and the soccer world, Michael said the seeds for success were sown during his days as a student at Catonsville High School, where he learned the rudiments of success.
“As a man of color, I was the first generation to experience integration,” he said. “I mastered the ability to get along with people of different backgrounds and traditions at Catonsville High School. I attribute my successes to my interactions with different peoples, my community service to soccer, and my resiliency — learning to find opportunities amid failures.”
Michael is divorced with no children but has a large, loving extended family.
H. Lance Bent — Entrepreneur
H. Lance Bent considers his father to be the most positive influence in his personal life and profession. As a child of an entrepreneur, he gained valuable insights and training for his own self-employment.
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His father taught him that the most successful weapon that a person has is awareness of the world around him. Long before graduating from UMBC, where he received a degree in psychology and economics/statistics and participated in his favorite sport, fencing, Lance had acquired valuable employment skills through his work as a lifeguard, raising animals, working on a farm and participation in family businesses.
In all jobs, he saw opportunities to learn additional skills. For example, while working on a farm in West Virginia, he learned to process wood at sawmills and to build roads and bridges. His love of scuba diving led him to certify as a rescue diver. He has used every skill that he has learned over the years in establishing his own companies. Lance is the owner, along with his brother, of two successful Catonsville businesses — Melroy Plumbing and Heating, Inc., and BGEI Benroy Geographic Enterprise, Inc. He continues to oversee these companies.
He further credits the training he received at Catonsville High School as fundamental to his successes, particularly his musical training and sports participation. He also learned to make his own goals and take responsibility for his education.
“Early on, I learned to seek the best mentors, my father, some teachers, and my pastor, all of whom have had an incredible, positive influence on my life,” he said.
Lance has been married for 46 years, has three children and five grandchildren.
On Sept. 3, we will come together to celebrate our 50th reunion at Matthews 1600, 1600 Frederick Road in our hometown of Catonsville. For more information about the upcoming reunion and to purchase tickets, go to http://www.chs1972.reunionmanager.com or call Patte Murphy Zumbrun at 410-917-5042.
Christine Sambuco Maxwell resides in Huntingdon, Pa., with her husband, William. She grew up in Catonsville and still considers Catonsville to be an ideal community for family life. A freelance writer since high school, Christine has written numerous articles for publications for more than 50 years. She is a former religion columnist for the Catonsville Times and is currently a contributing writer for several New Jersey magazines.