Welcome back classmates! Welcome to Liberty High School's Class of 1971 50th Reunion Webpage. Here you'll find information relating to the Reunion and the Class of 1971.
Click on the Google Form button to give the Reunion Committee updated contact information to stay connected! The 50th Reunion invitation is accessible by clicking on the Reunion Info button. Click on the third button, Facebook Page, to be redirected to Liberty High Class of 1971 Reunion's group page. The fourth button, 1971 Yearbook, will redirect you to a digital scanned copy of the Liberty 1971 yearbook! Please give it a few minutes to load the pages. The fifth button, 1970s Yearbooks, provides highlights of the decade provided by Liberty High School yearbooks. Access to these highlights are available to BASD Nation members.
"Hail to Alma Mater dear! Where we've spent our high school years. Now to Liberty we raise voices to extol thy praise. In thy stately halls we've spent hours with hearts and minds content, now to thee, dear Liberty High in our loyalty we cry:
Liberty High School hail to thee!
Loyal sons and daughters we,
In the futures as the past,
We'll be loyal to the last.
50th Reunion Information
Friday September 2, 2022
Southmoore Golf Course (235 Moorestown Dr. Bath, PA 18014)
9:00 am shotgun start
$50 fee includes golf with cart & prizes
Contact Jim Muschlitz - [email protected]
Please RSVP by August 26, 2022 for the Golf Outing
The Historic Hotel Bethlehem (437 Main St, Bethlehem, PA 18018)
6:00 p.m.- 10:00 p.m.
$65 per person includes Hors d’oeuvres, Buffet Dinner, Dessert, Coffee & Tea
Music by DJ John Tone
Saturday, September 3, 2022
Tour by Dean Donaher, former Principal of Liberty HS and current BASD School Board Member
Liberty High School (1115 Linden St, Bethlehem, PA 18018)
10:00 a.m. start
If there are any special accommodations, please contact Dean prior.
Contact Dean Donaher - [email protected]
Noteworthy stories from the Class of 1971
45th Reunion at The Meadows (2016)
40th Reunion at Southmoore Golf Course (2011)
New Building is an Attractive Addition to LHS
The 1971 school year was made especially interesting and exciting by the realization of Mr. Klein's long-standing dream - the new classroom center. Construction was started in the fall of 1969. By February 11, 1971, the old building had been abandoned (with the exception of the cafeteria) in favor of the classroom center and the remodeled laboratory center.
It took a while for students to locate their new rooms and to open their lockers without hitting their heads. The use of two buildings meant greater distances between classes. Everyone had to get used to hurrying to get to class on time. But in a matter of weeks, everyone was settled and things were going normally. The beautiful new library, the lounge facilities, the large amphitheater, and the air conditioning all combined to make an attractive, functional addition to the Liberty campus.
Class of 1971 Biographies
Courtesy of Mark Iampietro, Class of 1971
Many Liberty grads have gone on to bigger and better things. In some cases, their interests and talents shown during their high school years became their vocation after graduation. One such example is Class of 71s Jim Muschlitz. The game of golf was Jim's love from an early age and he has parlayed this into a lifelong passion. Jim has earned his living in the golf business and he derives great pleasure from teaching the game to others. At Liberty, Jim was EPL champ, District 11 champion and runner up in the PIAA State Gold Tournament in 1971. Jim continued his education at Northampton Community College, then at Rutgers. In addition to honing his physical skills, Jim also studied business, and learning the psychology of teaching, working with such experts as Chuck Hogan, Jim McLean, David Ledbetter, Nick Faldo and others. Jim's playing career and talent enabled him to qualify for the U.S. Amateur, the USGA Publinx Championship, the White Rose Classic (Nike Tour), several Delaware Valley championship tournaments and more. Along the way, Jim became a four-time Lehigh Valley Amateur Champion and a seven-time Bethlehem City Champ. His accomplishments earned him acceptance into the Lehigh Valley Golf Hall of Fame in 2005. Jim has worked at Bethlehem Municipal, Saw Mill, Green Pond (as Head Pro) and since 1993, at Southmoore as Director of Golf. And Jim remains one of the very best teaching pros anywhere.
The LHS girl swimmers (1970) had a not so special season, finishing 1 - 7 overall. Their lone victory was a narrow win over Whitehall, but that lack of team success was despite a remarkable season by Joan Peto. Joan and Ann Hrkach each earned a total of 62 points to lead the team. Joan set the league record in the 50 yard breaststroke and a team record in the 100 yard individual medley. She was also undefeated in her individual events during her three year high school career! Joan was a four-year letter winner on Liberty’s swimming team. Peto went on to swim at Penn State University where she attained All-American honors in the 200 and 400 Free Relay and would also set the American record in the 200 Free Relay. After graduating from PSU, Peto earned her Master’s degree in counselor education at Lehigh University and was hired as the inaugural women’s swimming coach at Northern Michigan University. In her nine year tenure at NMU, her teams produced eight Division II National Champions and 34 Division II All- Americans. In 1982, Peto was recognized as the Division II “National Swimming Coach of the Year”. Currently, Joan is the Associate Athletic Director for Academic Support Services at the University of Massachusetts, where she continues her excellence overseeing more than 500 student athletes. Joan was a former executive board member of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A) and has been a Master's and Age Group swimming coach. For her athletic efforts, Joan is enshrined in the Liberty High Athletic Hall of Fame.
1970 Liberty Football
It’s been said that success sometimes comes as the result of learning from mistakes and hardship. If that’s true, then senior players on the magnificent 1970 football team learned well from the very unsuccessful 1968 season. That team struggled mightily, enduring the ignominy of an 0-10 season. Not making excuses, but the reason could in part be laid at the feet of an unprecedented circumstance... namely the split of the school to create a new high school. The team was more or less decimated by the action that created Freedom High in time for the 1968 season. Many of Liberty’s fine players would find themselves across town wearing the Black & Gold of the new school, rather that the Red & Blue of Liberty. The result was that the Hurricane struggled, especially on offense as they managed to score only ten touchdowns all season. Perhaps the most galling defeat was the 3-0 shutout at the hands of Freedom, where the winning field goal was kicked by a player who had been on Liberty’s roster a year before! The team rebounded well under Head Coach Bob Buffman and his staff, putting together a fine 7-2-1 record in 1969. The Class of ’71 participants had gotten much experience and by the 1970 season, they were looking like real contenders for the Big Seven Conference crown. The conference was made up of Easton, William Allen, Dieruff, Pennsbury, Neshaminy and Reading in those days. The 1970 Hurricane team started strong with lopsided victories over Penn Highlands, Bishop McDevitt and Becahi. In fact, the team scored as many TDs in those three games than the 1968 team scored that entire season. The next five weeks would be the crucible though with tougher opponents such as Pennsbury, Allen, Neshaminy, Easton and Dieruff. The team, led by versatile junior QB Rich Wescoe handled the first three teams, giving up just thirteen points in those games. The win over Easton was a signature win, a hard fought 23-21 win to bring the record to 7-0. The Hurricane was ranked # 1 in the State at this point. Then came the game against Dieruff, in Allentown. The Huskies played their best game and the final result (18-13) knocked our boys from the ranks of the undefeated. The final two games were played for pride since in those days, there were no post season playoffs. Liberty blanked Phillipsburg and Freedom and finished 9 – 1. Despite the loss, the season remains memorable for several other reasons. Mike Hartenstine became All State and All American and would become an All American at Penn State and play professionally for the Chicago Bears. He set a franchise record for consecutive games played and won a World Championship in 1985. Matt (Stan) Szymakowski went on to play in the Big Ten for Indiana; Rob Ruyak ran for 1,000 yards and broke the school’s scoring record before heading off to Temple. Mitch Lukevics (baseball), Dave DiGiacinto and John Fritz (wrestling) and Ruyak all played Division one sports in college. The legacy of the Class of 1971 in football is to be among the very best ever. Four members of the team are enshrined in the LHS HOF, and several more belong.
One of the school's most successful wrestlers was Class of 71's John Fritz. John began wrestling as a fourth grader at Holy Ghost school in Bethlehem. He credits his early development to coaches like Tom Ortwein, Bill Danyluk and Tony Iasiello during his early years. This may have been what led him toward a career in coaching. It certainly helped that his dad Bernie was a coach at Liberty High. He was an assistant in football and longtime head coach of the baseball team. John had a terrific career at Liberty, posting a 49-7 record as a three year starter. He finished undefeated as a senior (as did his team) winning his second straight District and Regional crowns and then taking second at states. He had a choice between Penn State and Lehigh but chose the Nittany Lions where he was a four year starter. John became a three time All American, finishing third nationally at his weight twice before winning the national title as a senior. John took coaching positions including head coach at F&M before moving back to State College as an assistant. In 1993, he was named PSU's head coach and he went on to compile an 87-33-2 record in six years. He was named national coach of the year in 1993 and Big Ten coach of the year in 1998. He coached four NCAA champions, nine finalists and 21 All Americans. For his accomplishments, John has been honored as a Hall of Famer at Liberty High, Penn State, the EIWA and the National Wrestling Hall.
Michael Albert Hartenstine
Any discussion about Liberty's best football player, or even best athlete has to include Michael Albert Hartenstine, Class of '71. So how good was Liberty High’s Mike Hartenstine? Good enough to rank as probably the second greatest player in 100 years of Liberty football, right behind Chuck Bednarik. But what really separates the great ones from the good ones are qualities such as performance at higher levels and sheer longevity at the top. For Iron Mike, this was the quality most fans recall. Mike was a three year starter in three sports, including basketball (leading scorer as a senior) and track, where he excelled in three events especially as a record setter in the shot put. But it was on the grid iron where he ultimately made his indelible mark. Mike would go on to be recognized as one of Penn State’s top 100 players of all time as well as one of the all time great Chicago Bears in their more than 100 year history. From the time he stepped onto a football field, it was clear to his coaches, teammates, and opponents that he had special qualities. Those qualities were size, strength, speed, athleticism, and desire. When all of these qualities are combined in one person, limitless potential can be achieved. While Mike had great natural abilities, he will also be remembered for his work ethic. Mike dominated high school football as few others did. He played both ways because he was the best athlete on teams with lots of good athletes. But Mike was ultimately a football player, one who you might say was designed to play a collision sport. Reasonably tall at 6’ 3”, weighing around 225 in high school, and with surprising speed and uncommon strength and quickness, he dominated every game he played in. He became an All Stater and an All American. Not surprisingly, Mike was besieged by college offers from across the country, but he chose Penn State. Freshmen were not allowed to play varsity in those days (that changed soon after), but we’re pretty sure he could have stepped right into the starting lineup as an eighteen year old on a top 10 team. Hartenstine was active from his post at defensive tackle, leading the 1973 Lions with 104 tackles and earning All-America honors in ’74 with 108 tackles, two fumble recoveries and a blocked punt. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears and went on to have a sterling career at defensive end for thirteen years, rarely missing a game. In fact, he set a Bears team record for consecutive starts. His career was highlighted by being a member of the 1985 World Championship team. So in a career that spanned 1968 through 1985, Mike was honored as one of the very best players in the long and storied history of Liberty High (100 years), Penn State (130 years) and the Chicago Bears (since 1920). Perhaps just as importantly, he earned the respect of teammates and opponents and he made each of his teams better. Liberty was 16-3-1, Penn State 32-4 with two bowl wins and top 10 finishes each year and the Bears became a winning team during his time, culminating with a Super Bowl championship in 1985.
The Class of ’71 has produced its share of Hall of Fame athletes. In addition to individuals like John Fritz, Mike Hartenstine, Joan Peto, Jim Muschlitz and the 1970-71 undefeated wrestling team, three sport star Mitch Lukevics is also a member. Mitch led the Hurricanes his senior season, pitching a no-hitter that year. Mitch was also a starter on the basketball and football teams. He had been drafted by Detroit Tigers while in high school, but he decided to enroll at Penn State instead. He played for Chuck Medlar and was a second-round draft choice of the Chicago White Sox in 1975. He kicked around the minors from 1975 to 1980, making it to the AAA level with the Iowa Oaks. There, at age 27, Mitch made the decision to end his playing career and to embark on a new career, one that kept him in the game that he loved. Mitch has been the Tampa Bay Rays' Director of Minor League Operations since 2006, overseeing every aspect of the Rays farm system, including the 2015 Florida State League Champion Charlotte Stone Crabs. Lukevics was honored with the Sheldon "Chief" Bender Award in 2012, which is presented to someone with distinguished service who has been instrumental in player development. His efforts in player development helped Tampa Bay reach its first World Series in 2008 and he continues to work in the game helping to build winning teams at baseball’s highest level. Mitch is an LHS HOF member.
Class of 1971’s Rob Ruyak joins five other members of his class, along with the unbeaten 1970-71 wrestling squad as a proud member of the athletic Hall of Fame. Rob lettered (6) in baseball, basketball and in football. As a two-year starter in the Hurricane backfield, Rob rushed for more than 1,500 yards and as a senior, scored 120 points. This broke the previous record held by Tom Donchez. For his efforts, he received two Jasper Awards. In addition to being Bethlehem’s scoring champion (the "Ripper" Rich award), he was also honored as Outstanding Back by the 1934 State Championship team, as the Big Seven Conference scoring leader, being named to Dieruff and Philipsburg High School All-Opponent teams, selected as Pennsylvania All-State (Honorable Mention) and chosen to play in the very first Lehigh Valley All-Star Football Game. In his baseball career, Rob was a key member of his Connie Mack state runner up squad in 1968, leading hitter on the Northeast Bethlehem Teener League State Championship team in 1969 and leading hitter on the Bethlehem Wanderers State Legion Championship team in 1970. He lettered three times playing for coach Bernie Fritz’s Hurricanes. Rob also played two years of basketball, lettering once but missing out on a senior season due to illness. In addition to sports, Rob was a Key Club member, a Choralier and a member of the school’s Glee Club. He was also an Honor Roll student. Rob received a football scholarship to attend Temple University and then, its dental program. There, he was a member of the Oral Surgery Honor Society, the periodontal Honor Society and the Psi Omega Professional Dental Fraternity. Upon graduation, Rob returned to Bethlehem and operated a successful dental practice for forty-one years before retiring. Professionally, Rob was at the forefront of local medical issues as a member of the Bethlehem Board of Health, the Bethlehem Jaycees, the staff at Muhlenberg Medical Center, and the Allentown Hospital Continuing Education Program. He also proudly participated in the local “Tooth Print Program”. Bite impressions were used to record children’s unique identifications, which could be used to ID youngsters if necessary. He donated proceeds to the Special Olympics. Today, Rob and wife Jennie (LHS Class of 1970) are retired and proud parents and grandparents and they continue to reside here in Bethlehem.
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