The CD that you have in your computer is the result of the Ruston Academy yearbook (COLUMNS) scanning project started in 2000. It is in fact the satisfying conclusion of a process that started back in 1975 with the organization of the first Ruston Reunion. The process is described in these words in Ruston: From Dreams to Reality:
"One has only to attend a Ruston reunion to know how alive the Ruston spirit is today. To hear the shouts as old friends meet again. To share the “abrazos fuertes” (big hugs). To watch teenagers-turned-grandparents swaying to Cuban rhythms or swinging in a Conga line. Each of the reunions has been attended by several hundred Rustonians and their spouses, teachers, parents and friends. They have been such joy-filled days that many alumni have returned again and again. Those who missed the fun one time planned carefully to make the next reunion. They have been weekend affairs with a cocktail party on Friday night, a business meeting on Saturday morning, and the big dinner dance on Saturday evening. These festive reunions have been living proof of what Ruston meant to her students.
There have been seven reunions. The first was held in July, 1975, the latest in July, 2000. Because of the large numbers of Rustonians in South Florida, all of these celebrations have been held in Miami. Margarita Oteiza Castro ’51 initiated the first celebration. Rocky Harper ’60 and Celia Suárez ’60 with the help of a committee planned and promoted the second. John Motion and his committee were the hard workers behind the next three. John organized a Ruston support group called Friends of Ruston. He printed the first Ruston directory which gave the names and addresses of over 250 former students, teachers, and still active, parent supporters. This effort led to the establishment of a computerized database which is used as the source of our mailing list. Today this database contains more than 3,500 names and the addresses for approximately 1,000 of them. The last two reunions have been organized by the Ruston-Baker Educational Institution (RBEI) with major assistance from Ben Recarey, Margarita Oteiza Castro, Olga Cano, Celia Suárez, and Sergio Megías.
In addition to these big reunions, there have been numerous Christmas parties in Miami. Other alumni groups in California, New Mexico, and Washington, D.C. have organized regional get-togethers. These mini-reunions have shown that the Ruston spirit is still alive and strong! The faith in the Ruston dream reflected at these celebrations can be a vital force in helping to create a new Ruston for the future.
This living Ruston spirit led Bob Allen ’46 to create a Ruston Academy web page in 1996. It can be found at WWW.RUSTONACADEMY.ORG . Bob started this site as a means of trying to locate old friends from the period when he had been at Ruston as a boarding student. He kindly agreed to expand the site to make it readily accessible to all those interested in the school.
Over the years Chris Baker has carried out several other important keep-the-spirit-alive projects. His first effort involved collecting copies of the yearbooks published by the school. This was a very difficult task given that most Rustonians had to leave their yearbook collections behind when they left Cuba. His research determined that the first yearbook was published in 1940, and the editor was Marvin Shapiro, the very same man who fifteen years later would be responsible for creating much of the furniture and built-in lockers which characterized the hallways of the Upper School and the classrooms of the Lower School in the new building. The last yearbook was published in 1960. Chris was able to locate all but one of the editions which were then used to produce photocopied versions of the yearbooks. They were also used to reconstruct a listing of the students and faculty of Ruston Academy between 1940 and 1961. He is today in the process of carrying out a new project, this time to scan all of the yearbooks so that they can be made available as digitized files on compact discs (CDs) which can be easily viewed on most computer screens."
The advent of simple and inexpensive scanning technology has made it possible for us to capture our past and assure that it is available in the future in a high quality and durable format and media which can be easily used. In reaching decisions on the way in which the scanned results would be packaged we have made the following assumptions and decisions.
1) The majority of potential users would prefer to have all yearbooks on one CD. In order to do so, we have had to compress the original scanned files.
2) For those users who would like to have the larger files with higher resolution, we decided to scan the project at a much higher quality, not containable in a single CD. We will make these hi-res scanned files available to those interested on a DVD disc or on six separate CD discs. Interested parties should contact Chris Baker at email@example.com.
3) We have assumed that most users would like to have a user friendly way of viewing the yearbook CD. This has led us to the design of a eye catching and fairly simple approach to picture display and to movement from yearbook to yearbook and from section to section within each yearbook.
In this day and age, copying CDs containing data is a simple process. For those of you who decide that you might wish to do so, we would ask that you recognize the dedicated volunteer work that has gone into this project through a donation to RBEI.