Apathy leads to EP reunion’s demise

EAST PALESTINE – When Shirley Gorby and Barb Lynch were the only two to show up to a meeting for the High School All School Reunion Committee they knew it was time to quit.

Gorby moved to dissolve the committee and Lynch seconded, and that was that, Lynch said.

That meeting was Oct. 30, and since then the committee’s remaining $6,811.88 has been donated to the High School Alumni Scholarship Committee.

Lynch is a graduate of the Class of 1955 and, like others on the committee, tried to find someone interested in taking over the event. Like the others, she had no luck.

“The same people have done it year after year after year, and they are all getting older, and younger people aren’t interested,” she said.

The all school reunion was first held around the Fourth of July since 1993 and then went to August later, after people said they wanted to spend the holiday with their families, Lynch said.

Sue Smith, Harry Foster and Jim Mackall were co-chairs of the event the first year. Virginia Foster, Jane Zellem and Mary Bingham chaired the event in 1998, Lynch said, and whether the reunion was held between those years, she wasn’t sure.

The most recent reunion was in 2011. The two-day event was organized by the Class of 1960 and held in August. At that time the committee was already looking for a new chairman, and seeking someone younger.

“We did try to get younger officers for the all school reunion and it just didn’t work out. People are busier now and so many people work. It’s just like with kids and all the activities they have – they just don’t have the time,” Mary Bingham said.

Bingham has worked on the committee and is now treasurer of the scholarship committee.

Bingham, Lynch and reunion committee member Sandy Wales said chairing the event can be difficult.

In 2011 the reunion featured a window decorating contest and after-hours event by participating businesses in town, a street dance and social gathering at the fire station on Clark Street, indoor and outdoor activities at the park, including board and card games at the community center and a paid dinner and social hour at Heid Hall.

“It takes so much work to get one of the reunions lined up. Of course, the money will be put to good use,” Bingham said of the scholarship fund. “We are sorry to see that committee dissolve.”

She also said that a reunion for the Class of 1970 this August was a huge success, so she isn’t sure why interest in the all school reunion is dwindling.

In the meantime the committee is dissolved unless or until someone is willing to step up and bring it back together, she added.

The scholarship committee is doing well, however.

Lynch said the more than 25-member committee is a “big active group,” and the donated money is now available to eligible students in the school district. She and Wales are also involved with the committee.

She said a portion of the money in the reunion fund was from the community breakfast in the park every Fourth of July.

Bingham said 10 students were awarded scholarships last year. The scholarships are not need-based, but given to those who show involvement in the community and high school.