Every month, the original Beef 'O' Brady's on Kings Avenue transforms into a mini Brandon High reunion.
Folks who graduated in the 1960s sit at one table while '70s graduates and '80s graduates form their own little groups. Each offers memories that make up the fabric of one of Hillsborough County's oldest communities.
They don't come just to reminisce, however, they come to plan and organize what could be one of the most memorable celebrations in Brandon's history.
Brandon High, founded as the Brandon Grade School in 1914, celebrates its 100th anniversary on March 1, 2014. All those memories will be woven together in a grand event that will connect old and new, community and school.
"I'm one of those people who enjoy meeting with all the classes," said Karen Rodriguez, co-chair of the Brandon High 100th Celebration Planning Committee and a 1972 graduate. "I enjoy it because it stimulates the history. We reminisce about things that happened long ago and it helps us see the progress we've made at Brandon High and in the community."
If all goes as planned, this event will spur an even greater walk down memory lane while connecting the past to the present. The committee is looking to include a 5K run, kid-friendly activities, a sensory area for kids with autism and other special needs, food trucks and multiple opportunities for the current group of students to showcase their abilities while learning school history.
This may surprise some, but the planning has been under way since the fall of 2012.
The group typically meets on the first Monday of the month to hear committee reports, fine-tune ideas and discuss promotions. Next week, the meeting will be held on Tuesday to avoid conflicting with Labor Day. Although the committee has a strong core, it welcomes more input.
"We're open to ideas," said committee co-chair Cher Stanbro. "That's why we keep inviting people."
Committee members also stressed that volunteers don't have to be high school graduates. Stanbro, who grew up in a military family, left Brandon High in her junior year when her father was assigned to Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. But she has four brothers who graduated from Brandon and her son graduated from Brandon.
"If you had children who graduated from Brandon, if you taught at Brandon, if you just live in Brandon, you can help," said committee member Mark Nash, Class of '79. "We welcome anyone who wants to lend a helping hand."
Rodriguez noted that the committee also is selling memory bricks for a memory walk at the school. It's just another way for alums to connect with the school and the celebration.
"We have alumni of all different ages and the community coming together to celebrate this milestone," Rodriguez said. "I'm happy to be a part of that because there are so many of us making history."