Edition 4 - Kathy Sabaka Keffer

posted May 3, 2016, 5:57 PM by Sierra Stevens   [ updated May 3, 2016, 6:04 PM by Jason Suter ]

By Sierra Stevens

Kathy Sabaka Keffer graduated from Hanover High School in 1966. She was involved in many clubs and extracurriculars, including Y-teens, art club, interscholastic sports, school plays, and she was a majorette in the band.  Kathy is now married with children and has grandchildren who go to Hanover. She still lives in the Hanover area. Below is a picture of Kathy during her senior year of high school.


Kathy is pictured on the top row, four from the left with the other members of Y-Teens.

Kathy is pictured standing behind the girl sitting with the sash in the school play.

How many years did you attend HPSD?
Our family moved here from Massillon, Ohio when I was in second grade. I went through the Hanover Public School District the whole way except for first grade. We didn’t have Kindergarten back then.  

What job/career/college did you pursue after high school?
I went to the Pennsylvania Junior college of Medical Arts. I started out in the medical profession but the very first doctor I worked for needed help with accounting and bookkeeping. After taking some classes I did all of his accounting and bookkeeping and never used the medical portion of my education. I was one of those students that did not know what I wanted to do after high school.  I knew I wanted to go on to further my education so I decided on the medical arts. But as you can see your interests and experiences change all the time. After years of working in sales and bookkeeping in various jobs my husband and I decided to open our own business. All the years of experience in various jobs were a valuable asset when we started our own business.

What are your favorite memories of HHS?
It was probably football games. During my time in high school everyone went to football games. I really experienced that again this year with your great football season. My grandson was on the team this year and we went to all the games. The crowds were very similar to my years in high school. When I was in high school there were so many students at the games they actually had special bleachers just for the band so they would not take up valuable seats in the stadium.The band would lineup at Eichelberger (the old high school) and march to the football game. Students along the way would hop in behind the band and March with us to the Shepherd Myers Stadium. If we would win we would march to the square in Hanover and have a Pep Rally. Bands back in the 60's did not have band competition. They basically did football games, parades and band concerts.

Picture featuring the football stands in 1966.

What do you wish for the future of HHS?
I don't know. Your school seems to be doing very well. You just had a very successful play. You should be very proud of all that talent. This is the third year I have attended the HHS play and it astounds me how much talent this school has. I think a special thank you goes out to Mrs. Smith who really gets her students excited about your music education!

Where could you be found on a Friday night during your time here at HHS?
Well, we usually started at the canteen at the Y. Then we would usually end up at a dance. We must have been a big dancing group of kids back then because we always went to dances. We had Moose dances, fire hall dances, school dances and Y dances. Every weekend we went somewhere to dance. We also watched a TV show called the Buddy Deane show. You would watch the show and learn all the new dances. The show had such a following in Hanover that they would actually bring the show to Hanover (at the Armory on Clearview Road) and do the show. Everyone would go because then you could meet the "regulars" who were on the Buddy Deane show. Below is a clip of The Buddy Deane Show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iT_QNC6o24E

What was your opinion on high school at that time?
I loved high school. Hanover and Delone was the big rivalry until my junior year when we played Southwest for the first time. It was early in the 60's when Hanover and Southwest became two different schools. You had kids you had gone to school with until they started at SW. It was a great rivalry, and by the way Hanover always won back then.

What were the school dances like?
The boys sat on one side and the girls on the other. Most fast dancing was girls dancing with girls because not many guys danced. The proms were fun. All of our proms were held at the school. When you were a junior you decorated  the gym for the seniors.You would walk into that gym and could not believe it was your gym. We had large parachutes on the ceiling to bring the ceiling down and then just all kinds of decorations. They would transform that gym so you would not recognize it. We had as much fun our junior year doing the decorating as we did our senior year attending.

Block parties?
This is going back to our dance days. In the summer they would close a parking lot at the Acme Supermarket and hire a DJ and everyone would come and dance. They also had a dance every Sunday night at a local swimming pool.

Who were Majorettes and what did they do?

You don't have Majorettes. When I was growing up there were majorette studios like they have Dance studios today.  I was a member of the Hanover Cadets. There were lots of girls who were anxious to be a majorette.  You had to be in the band in order to be a majorette. You had to try-out every year.  There were 6 majorettes. The band would have the Color Guard first, then the majorettes, then the drum major and then the band. We twirled batons. We also had an event called Cheer-A-Baloo and the majorettes and cheerleaders would do dance routines.  Mr Bird one of our teachers who came up with this. Being a majorette was a lot of fun!

Kathy pictured in her majorette uniform.

 Kathy is pictured in the middle of the back row with the majorettes and the cheerleaders.

What are your favorite memories from that?
I had great memories from the band. So many great memories that when I was in my 40's a group of us got together and started an Alumni Band. We sent letters out to all alumni band members and ask them if they were interested. We had 200 band members, who varied from students who had just graduated to a drum major who was 70 years old.  Mr. Rutledge who was our Junior High School band leader, volunteered to be our band leader. We performed at football games and the Halloween parade. We lasted about 2-3 years and then it ended.

Was the band respected by the student body?
Oh yes. There were so many different groups of students in the band that it was something that you just wanted to be part of.  After I graduated and started hearing the Band Buddy label I just never understood what it was all about. It takes a lot of talent to be a Band member. Not only do you have to be able to play an instrument but you have to be able to read music. That is why you had to be a band member in order to be a majorette. When you would make up routines for the majorettes you needed to be able to read music and count bars and notes. Band members should be very proud of their talent. That is a talent you will have forever. When we started that alumni band some of the people who joined said they had not picked up their instrument in 5-10 years but it came right back. It is a long process learning to play an instrument and it's definitely something your should take great pride in.

Photo featured the Hanover High School Band in 1966.

What are the most difficult and most rewarding things about growing older?
I don't think there are any difficult things. I guess the rewarding things are all your experiences of life. You have to always want to keep learning. Keep moving and learning. My husband and I started our business at the age of 49. It was not easy, we had two daughters in college at that time, but we just decided that was what we wanted to do. Long hours and a passion for what you want. You have to constantly be reading and improving yourself. Learning doesn't end after high school or college. You will change. What you might want to do now, five years from now you will have no interest in. That's life, you just change course.

Do you have any advice for students who want to start their own company/business?
You have to be prepared to work hard and work very long hours. If you decide to open your own business you really need to have a passion for what you are going to do. When we started our business it consumed 24 hours a day. We were lucky we had family and a few great employees to help us start. You have to rely on other people helping you and you have to treat those people with the respect that they deserve. It might be your business but it's only as good as the people you have working for you. After 20 years we sold our business and we are now retired. It was a great 20 years and we sold our business to our daughter and son-in-law who by the way is a Hanover High School Alumni!

We had such a great time sitting down with Kathy to talk about her life during high school. A huge thank you to her for volunteering to be interviewed! Be sure to look for her and the other alumni at graduation on May 26!

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