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Hello Franklin: Franklin High School Class of 1969 Hosts their 50th Reunion

Post Date:04/11/2019 4:59 PM

Hello Franklin!

Franklin High School Class of 1969 Hosts their 50th Reunion

Class of 69 spotlight

The Franklin High School (F.H.S) Class of 1969 will host their 50th reunion on Saturday, October 12, 2019, at the Martinsville Gardens located at 180 Washington Valley Rd, Bridgewater, NJ from 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm. The event will reconnect alumni with their friends, former classmates, and club members.

In the years between 1965 and 1969, this high school class saw the advent of the Modern Civil Rights Movement, as well as women fighting vigorously for gender equality, equal pay, and career advancement. However, Franklin High School was a place for students to develop their interest in a culturally and racially diverse environment. The administration was made up of mostly teachers from Caucasian and African American communities. F.H.S also had a diverse population of students such as Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, and Asian communities. The students participated in clubs like Stage Crafters, the National Honor Society, the German Club, the Art Club, and the Athletic Club.

Three Franklin High School reunion committee members and former classmates: Margaret (Teager) Tharp, Bonnie Sovinee, and Jeff Witchel had the freedom to express their talents while shaping their future career path. Margaret Tharp was the valedictorian for the F.H.S class of 1969.  Tharp was a member of the National Honor Society, a finalist for the National Merit Scholarship, recipient of the American Cyanamid Chemistry Award, and the PTA Scholarship recipient according to Franklin News-Record. After graduating from F.H.S, she pursued a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Physical Sciences from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T). Following graduation from M.I.T, Tharp became a 6th-grade math teacher for the Southborough Board of Education in Massachusetts. After two years of teaching, she became a Software Developer.  In addition to many Software Engineering positions she was also, at one time, Software Quality Assurance Manager for Nellcor Instruments in California. Today, Tharp works as a Consulting Software Engineer for Siemens Corporate Research while organizing the Franklin High School 50th Reunion.

“I am more of the facilitator, the central point of contact, the strategist, and someone that organizes the information,” stated Margaret Tharp when asked about her role in the reunion process.

Tharp reconnected with past reunion organizers and former classmates to assist her at locating alumni to invite them to the F.H.S reunion. She entered the information in a database shared by committee members. Bonnie Sovinee, a Franklin resident for 68 years, was involved in many clubs, nonprofit and professional organizations throughout high school and in her professional life. She was an active member in the National Honor Society, FHS German Club, and FTA, the first recipient of the Cedar Wood Women's Club Academic Achievement, and PTA Scholarship. Over the years, Ms. Sovinee served in many different leadership roles including President of the Skylands Tourism Council, Executive Director of the Miss Somerset County Scholarship Pageant, and Board member of The Meadows Foundation, and Heritage Trail Association of Somerset County.  Owner of Wendell’s Jewelers, she was also a member of the State and National Jewelers of America, contributor to the National Jewelers Circular Keystone magazine, Chair of the Historic Bound Brook, and President of the Main Street Merchants Association. Bonnie also broke a few glass ceilings as the first woman member of the Bound Brook Kiwanis, the Middlesex Jaycees, and the NJ Jewelers Association Board and President. She was the Director of Development for the ARC of Somerset County, and a Director at the Somerset County Business Partnership and Somerset/ Hunterdon Business and Education Partnership. She retired from work as Director of Development & Membership for NAIOP NJ, a commercial real estate organization. Sovinee is part of the Leadership Somerset Class of 2019, an organization which encourages people to become trustees of their communities and become leadership resources. Bonnie Sovinee compiled photographs and information for the “Then and Now” slideshow presentation from this database as well as contacted classmates for updated photographs.

Jeff Witchel is working with Sovinee on putting the “Then and Now” slideshow together by adding designs, and organizing photographs provided by their classmates. As a graduate of Pratt Institute, Witchel developed his passion for graphic design and led to reputable projects with companies like: Grey Advertising, Wells, Rich, and Greene, AT&T, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and Jell-O Pudding. His Jell-O Pudding advertisement was named one of the top 100 advertisements of the last century. Witchel also received many prestigious awards such as the Art Directors Club Gold Award, the One Show Gold Award, New Jersey Art Directors Club Award, as well as multiple Andy Awards, Graphics Annual, numerous Readership Awards, and an Emmy Award nomination. Witchel currently teaches classes in Illustrator and InDesign at Kean University.

To learn more about the Franklin High School Class of 1969 reunion, please contact Margaret Tharp at

Hello Franklin! 50th reunion