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Alas, the final planning meeting for this weekend’s Trimble County Alumni banquet came and went last Saturday with one solitary soul in attendance--me.
In the year-and-a-half since I took over as president of the Trimble County Alumni Association I have called five of these meetings to try to plan toward not only this year’s banquet and get some fresh ideas on the table but to discuss the future of the alumni organization. On two occasions I showed up alone. On one occasion one other individual was in attendance. On another occasion two other persons were there and on the occasion of the first meeting I held five persons were there in addition to myself.
People have been after me for months to learn when this year’s alumni banquet would be held. Many seem interested in enjoying the proceedings and the fellowship of the annual event, but only a handful seem willing to share in the responsibility of organization and continuation of a tradition that dates back to 1964. Prior to that an earlier group of alumni would sponsor a banquet each year for the high school graduating classes in the 1930s and ‘40s.
This year the few of us who did get together decided to try to move the date to the fall because so many end-of-the-school year activities were scheduled in the spring and on several occasions the alumni banquet was held on prom night preventing some parents and grandparents from attending the alumni event so they could enjoy seeing and photographing their kids and grandkids and their prom dates or volunteering with the post-prom party at the high school gymnasium.
We also decided that, rather than having a guest speak or musical entertainment, we would try something new by paying tribute to a retired popular teacher and coach with a “celebrity roast,” which should prove entertaining since the victim, I mean, the recipient of the fun-spirited night is J.T. Peniston.
Several past students and basketball players will trade barbs and tell stories--some funny, some serious (some might even be true!)--about J.T.’s service to Trimble County education.
We have also made the banquet open to all teachers who served time in the dungeons of the classroom with J.T. -- or maybe I should say who served as colleagues during J.T.’s teaching years to come join the fun.
Many alumni enjoy gathering each year for the fellowship and the entertainment is only a secondary reason for coming. Many enjoy rehashing the “glory days” of years gone by when we were younger, eager for the adult days ahead, our eyes undimmed by the effects of age and disappointments that come into each and every life.
I would much rather spend time with alumni at a banquet than to stand beside a casket and rue the times I could have reconnected with the newly-departed but chose instead to go about the “busyness’ of the every day routine. Which was more important, the activity that is often routine and can be enjoyed many times a year or the one time each year that your schoolmates meet and greet and revisit those fun times in the classroom, the band trips, the ballgames of long ago, and for some not so long ago?
I love hearing the different classes talk about the fun stuff that made their high school experience unique--whether it is stories from the 1940s, ‘50s, ‘60s and on through today. It is often interesting to see how each generation has come through the high school experience and how, while some things have changed, many things about being teenagers remain the same.
Admission is $15 per individual or $25 per couple. I hope to see all of you there!