Alumni event short on attendance but enjoyable

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By Dave Taylor

Saturday’s annual gathering of the alumni of Trimble County’s schools was somewhat disappointing for alumni banquet organizers.

Don’t get me wrong. The meal prepared by the Trimble County school corporation’s cafeteria staff was nothing short of excellent. The fellowship of those in attendance was enthusiastic and cheerful. The Bedford Elementary School cafeteria facility provides an outstanding venue for revelers from school days past.

What was missing? You!

Less than 100 former students and their spouses were in attendance, a far cry from more than 250 who regularly attended the banquets of the 1960s, after the event was inaugurated by former teachers Cecil Fisher and Gail Ransdell.

I have attended several banquets in the 41 years since my class was the first to receive diplomas in the current high school building. This is the smallest gathering I’ve seen in all the years I have been going. Perhaps the event needs to be scheduled on a different weekend than the high school prom as many parents and grandparents enjoy being a part of that special evening in the high school lives of their offspring.

Shortly after former students of high schools in Milton and Bedford formed the alumni association a scholarship program was put in place to honor a deserving student from each graduating class to help pay the high cost of furthering their education in college. In most years since, a TCHS graduate has been the recipient of the Trimble County Alumni Scholarship although insufficient funds prevented the assistance of a deserving student in some lean years.

This year’s entertainment featured music by Covington Ridge, a mixed-voice gospel quartet whose presentation is in the style of the legendary, old-fashioned singing Chuck Wagon Gang. Among the personnel of Covington Ridge were two Trimble alumni: Linda Bentley Callis, class of 1973, and Dale Jennings, class of 1969. Dale was a member of that highly successful 1968-69 Trimble County Raiders team that won 20 of 29 games.

Sometimes, I guess, we’re too busy thinking about what has to be done today and tomorrow to reflect on friendships of the past. I would much rather see in an alumni banquet gathering old classmates and other schoolmates from classes just ahead or just behind mine than see them in the somber confines of a funeral home where all too often old acquaintances renew friendships at the wake of a mutual friend.

Each year the classes celebrating milestone years are honored. This year’s classes included the 70-year class of 1941. Alice Welty was the lone member of that graduating year to attend. Her son, Bill Welty, was honored with the 50-year class of 1961. Five members of the 1951, 60-year class were in attendance. The same number was present from the class of 1971 celebrating 40 years since “Pomp and Circumstance.” Only four were still around for the newspaper photo, however.

Saturday, the responsibility of heading the Alumni Association for the coming year passed from the shoulders of Scott Burrows to mine. I hope that during the next few months you will share with me your ideas of what you would like to see accomplished by the organization as we strive to not only preserve the histories of bygone days at old Milton High School and Trimble County High School, but to ensure that the organization can be the beneficent provider of scholarship opportunities for many deserving young Trimble students in the years to come.

Will you join me?