BBAA Annual Dinner

Thursday Oct 26

The inaugural Benson Bobcat Alumni Association Dinner Thursday featured induction of four Honorary BBAA members.

A social hour in the auditorium served as the precursor to the dinner in the old gymnasium prepared and served by students in Benson High School’s Culinary Arts program under the direction of Amanda Goss. In addition to hors d’oeuvres, attendees enjoyed Italian fare consisting of meat lasagna and chicken Alfredo dinner entree complete with dessert and drinks.  The first-graders led the pledge of allegiance and singing of the national anthem under direction of Principal Jomel Jansson. The middle school band, under direction of Ron Rivera, brought the house down with a rousing rendition of the Benson Bobcat Fight Song.

Inductees included Mark Battaglia, Linda Lou Lamb, former teacher Fred Becchetti and Gilberto Zamudio, Benson High School Ag teacher and FFA Advisor who retired at the end of the last school year. Zamudio however was away with students at the FFA’s 90th National Convention in Indianapolis, Ind. His daughter Amanda Zamudio accepted his award and Zamudio himself took part via Skype. Battaglia, longtime resident and attorney, Lamb, in her 33rd year with the school district, and Becchetti, the beloved instructor who taught from 1950-61, were recognized for their contributions to Benson education.

Fred Beccetti, Linda Lou Lamb, and Mark Battaglia

Mr. Becchetti traveled from the east coast for this event. Mr. Becchetti is now 92 years old. His motel room charge was split among 3 classes, 1960, 1961, & 1962, who were thrilled to do something for Mr. Becchetti.

The event was wonderful and many said it was so thrilling to have Fred Becchetti here in Benson with us. He came in on Wednesday night, attended the Meet & Greet event, and then on to the Alumni Dinner at the old Benson Bobcat Gym. The same gym that we all knew for sporting events, P.E., proms, etc., from our youthful “growing up” years.

The next day (Friday) Mr. Becchetti was escorted around the school by our Benson School District Superintendant, Micah Mortensen, and even attended a Spanish Class at the school. Mr. Mortensen took Mr. Becchetti, and his daughter Carol, to G & F Pizza for dinner,(G & F Pizza is the favorite “hangout” for Benson’s local students). Mr. Mortensen then took him to the Friday night Benson vs Wilcox Football Game, where Mr. Becchetti was again honored by presenting the “game ball” during the pre-game events. By the way, Benson beat Willcox in an exciting game, in which the halftime score was Benson 14 & Wilcox 14.

The next day the BUHS Class of 1961 had a reunion get together at Lion’s Park where Mr. Becchetti was able to talk to and share time with many of his beloved 1961 Class members before he left for home.

A number of people contacted Lorene Whaley for tickets to the Alumni Dinner, simply because Mr. Becchetti was going to be in attendance. We cannot express enough how honored we were to have Fred Becchetti return to Benson for this event and have the pleasure of meeting his daughter Carol who came with him. His grandson Paul also came from California. God Bless you Fred Becchetti, and know that you deeply touched so many of us and created wonderful memories for the students who were fortunate enough to know you in your years in Benson, Arizona.

Fred Becchetti, former Benson High School English & Spanish teacher (1950-1961) was named an Honorary Benson High School Alumnus by the BBAA.    Click this link to read Mr. Becchetti’s acceptance speech

Mr Becchetti also did a report with photos of his probably-final trip out to Benson, that will be reported in the next issue because this one is getting kinda big.  😀