I have found that not every high school has an Alumni Association and that is sad for so many reasons. It is not just because they can’t come to a picnic in the summer where they meet old friends. Although I still look up to those senior grads from the 50s and early 60s and I want to see how the young kids from the 70s and 80s are doing.
The first reason for an Alumni association is it makes for a better school district. With something like 10,000 living Kennett alumni you have a group of people who want to see the district keep providing a first-rate education. We may not be giving the district a report card but we are looking over their shoulders. This leads to less negative feedback from property tax increases when a new building, and other expenses combined with inflation needs to be paid. Secondly, there is the need of having a place to go to find out what happened to Harry.
I am going to the 50th reunion of my Navy ship this fall and was told only 40 percent of Vietnam Veterans are still alive. As we get older this seems to be more important. Third is KAA are the historians. Our tribal knowledge is alive and well in Walt Paynter’s basement and we enjoy sharing it at class reunions. KAA is on the “Legends” committee to recognize great contributors to the school. People love to look back and there is nothing like a picture of you in the band or in those old basketball uniforms with your Chuck Taylors to bring you down to earth. We were a lot skinnier then.
Last is our Kennett Alumni Scholarships that go to a male and female student that shows school spirit and outstanding citizenship and who are involved in school and community activities
The Kennett Alumni Association scholarships went to Victor Alexander Flores and Brenna McGowan this year. There is nothing better than providing reinforcement to two young people who have made a difference in our school. And these are not your average high school graduates.
Though I am not sure there is such a thing as an average graduate, each is so unique. Brenna also won the “Be the Change” award for making the most impact on her school’s community. She did this through leading the LGBTQ club and setting up a meeting at West Chester University with prominent professionals who are a member of this community to share their experiences. It makes me sad that in my day you would expect gay class members in each class.
I could not name you one who trusted me enough to share this part of their life. But thanks to Brenna and the folks who have come before her, I hope we have an opportunity for every Kennett student to feel safe and at home in the Kennett Community.
The Alumni board noticed that the individuals that receive our award are usually on the standard track of a BS or BA in four years and then maybe grad school. Occasionally we will recognize a student who is off to trade school but it is very much the exception. What we are investigating for next year is a second award that is focused on someone who is pursuing higher education in the trades or a technical field. We need good plumbers and electricians, nurse’s aids and beauticians.
I was fortunate to participate in Avon Grove’s awards night in June and it seemed a quarter of their awards recognized this population of their school. I’m not sure if they have an Alumni Association but I hope they do. It has become one of the great schools in the state.
I hope it doesn’t come off as arrogant, but your high school can learn from Kennett. You should have an Alumni Association to help pull together that great time of growing up in our lives. If they do, make sure you are paying your dues and if not, get one started.