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For several years now, graduates, former students, teachers, administrators, coaches and staff who are connected to Pea Ridge schools have gathered on the second Saturday of July to enjoy PRHS Alumni Day.

This year, Alumni Day 2019 is set for Saturday, July 13, in the Pea Ridge High School cafeteria. The times are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. A light lunch will be provided at the cafeteria. There is no charge for attending the event, or for lunch, but donations are welcomed and much appreciated.

PRHS Alumni Day

9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Saturday, July 13

PRHS cafeteria

Alumni Day 2019 will be the 13th annual school reunion since the All-Years Reunions were initiated in 2007. High School reunions in some form have been held for many years. Many PRHS graduating classes have kept in contact with school friends, and have arranged class reunions from time to time. My wife and I first attended a class reunion in 1963, when Nancy's class, the PRHS Class of 1958, held it's first five-year reunion at Taylor's Cafe in downtown Pea Ridge. The old Taylor's Cafe building later served as our mayor's office and courtroom until the new city offices were constructed on Weston Street. The Class of 1958 has consistently held a class reunion every five years until about four years ago when they began meeting every year at PRHS Alumni Reunion time.

The Class of 1967 has also been a very consistent reuniting class.

During the 1990s, several PRHS graduating classes initiated multi-class reunions. In our case, our multi-class reunions usually brought together my 1957 class, along with the two preceding classes and the two following classes; i.e., 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, and 1959. In 2006, we decided to invite anyone who had attended Pea Ridge Schools to join in with us in a time for reminiscing, catching up on old times, and reconnecting with our schoolmates. This seemed fitting, since in earlier years our Pea Ridge School was small enough that we could know most all the students, in the elementary grades as well as in the High School.

I often like to comment that when I began first grade in the Pea Ridge School in 1946, the total school enrollment, first through 12th grade, was probably about 120 to 140 students. Today we have that many students in each grade, throughout the school system.

In the later months of 2006, a number of PRHS alums, mostly from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, began a series of meetings to explore forming a Pea Ridge High School Alumni Association, looking for ways the alumni could be helpful in relation to the current school programs. In July 2007, the first All-Years Alumni Reunion was held. We also made the first Alumni Scholarship grant in 2007, a scholarship awarded to a single 2007 graduate.

Since that time, the Alumni Scholarship has grown, with an additional scholarship initiated almost every year, so that this year 12 2019 PRHS graduates were awarded $1,000 Alumni Scholarships. Alumni Scholarships are devoted to helping PRHS graduates in their first year of college. Each scholarship provides $500 for the first semester, applicable for tuition, fees or books. Most scholarships are renewable for a second semester and an additional $500 so long as the student maintains a satisfactory grade point average. The funding for Alumni Scholarships comes from memberships paid to the Alumni Association by former PRHS students, from the sale of Blackhawk chairs, stadium cushions, class picture books and from fund-raising dinners such as the springtime pulled-pork BBQ dinner, and the autumn ham and bean dinner, as well as donations from local businesses and interested individuals. The Alumni Association is grateful for the support of all the friends who make these events and the scholarship program possible year by year.

The school reunion is also the time for electing members of the Alumni Association's nine-member governing board. The PRHS Alumni Association is a 501.c.3 non-profit organization, so major gifts qualify as tax-deductible. Members of the Alumni Board serve three-year terms. Each year, the terms of three board members come to an end, and three alums need to be elected to serve on the Board. The board meets monthly at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month in the School Heritage Building on the downtown campus of the Pea Ridge Intermediate School.

We hope everyone who spent time in Pea Ridge Schools in years past will plan to attend this years All-Years Reunion on Saturday, July 13, at Pea Ridge High School Cafeteria.

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Editor's note: Jerry Nichols, a native of Pea Ridge and an award-winning columnist, is vice president of Pea Ridge Historical Society. He can be contacted by e-mail at joe369@centurytel.net, or call 621-1621.

Editorial on 07/03/2019

Print Headline: Alumni Day offers time to reminisce

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