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Diman set to celebrate 50 years on Stonehaven Road

By Kevin P. O’Connor
Herald News Staff Reporter

One of our 49 classes to graduate from Stonehaven Rd

FALL RIVER — Learning furniture making at Diman might seem an odd preparation for a legal career.

But it was, in fact, a shortcut, Richard Urban said.

“The experience of putting things together, the discipline of thinking step by step, is such an important lesson that is taught at Diman,” Urban said. “I don’t think people ever lose that. You have it for life.”

And those people who carry Diman in them are invited to come celebrate their educational roots in a gala set for Sept. 29 at the Venus de Milo, Swansea.

Diman was formed in 1912 by the Rev. John Diman was a place to train young men in the trades to give them options beyond mill work.

The current school, at 251 Stonehaven Road, was dedicated 50 years ago. It is now the Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School, open to males and females from Fall River, Somerset, Swansea and Westport. It has an enrollment of 1,400 students and has to turn away applicants every year, according to Superintendent Thomas Aubin.

The gathering at the Venus will be for everyone — graduates, family and friends, fans of the school — according to Maria Torres, chair of the event.

“Some Diman graduates told us they have never had a class reunion before, so what better time than this,” Torres said.

Diman was important, not only in making him who he is today, but also in keeping the city running, Urban said. He was a graduate of the class of 1960 when the school was on Hartwells Street.

“The major objective of the gala is to say that the school has been here for 50 years and it is running well,” he said. “The students are succeeding. Many are going on to higher education.

“Everywhere you look in the city, you can see the contribution of Diman grads.”

Edward Hill, a graduate of the class of 1972, is a longtime member of the Diman Bengal Educational Foundation and a member of the gala committee.

Every neighborhood he goes into shows evidence of the work of a Diman graduate, he said.

“We could get in a car and start in the industrial park and go by two companies started by Diman grads,” he said. “When we get into the rest of the city, there are a dozen more.

“So we are celebrating the graduates of Diman in this area and the work they have done.”

Tickets are $50 apiece. They are available at the Diman business office, Torres said. Companies are also buying tables of 10 seats for their employees, she said.

Besides tickets, sponsors have also contributed $16,000 to help pay for improvements to the medical and computer labs at the school. The foundation formed by Bristol County Savings Bank leads the donors with a $5,000 contribution.

Everyone is welcome, Torres said. Recent graduates have purchased tickets for their parents. Other graduates are bringing spouses, children or grandchildren.

The night will start with at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail hour, followed by a buffet, a short speaking program, a raffle of donated goods and then music by the Crashland Band.

“It is a night to socialize,” Urban said. The raffle, silent auction and speaking with be short, he said.

“It won’t interfere with people moving around and talking to people they know,” he said. “We want to bring people together. Some of us haven’t seen each other for decades.”