LIMA — High school reunions. Do you love them or hate them? Does it bring back good memories or conjure up nightmares of cliques?
Jeff McElroy and his wife Robin are trying to break down some barriers in the name of school spirit.
On Saturday night at the Eagles Lodge on Robb Avenue, the McElroys organized a class reunion — for all classes of Lima Senior, Lima South or Central high schools.
“I graduated from the Class of ‘82 and it was hard to have anybody organize a class reunion, and mine didn’t for the 30th. So I thought, there’s got to be other classes out there that don’t organize, or have a hard time organizing a class reunion, getting people interested and motivated to do it. Talked to my wife, Pam, and came up with the idea. There’s not one here in Lima, so I thought, why don’t we try an alumni reunion?” he said.
The reunions have been held the first Saturday in August for the past seven years.
“You still find your tables where it’s the same classes or even like the decades. You’ll see some like ‘71, ‘72, ‘73, you’ll see ‘81, ‘82, ‘83 sitting together and when I came up with the idea I thought, I have friends that were not in the class I graduated from, so I knew all of the other people in those classes.”
Still, old habits die hard and people who knew each other well tend to group up.
“I try to get them to mingle. I tell them to give a handshake, give a high five, give a fist bump, give a hug. These were all graduates of Lima Senior. We’re all Spartans. We come together as one.”
The event is free to attend. People order off the menu at the Eagles and, in return, the alumni aren’t charged for renting the building. People can also get involved in raffles that help current students.
“We set up a Lima Senior Alumni Scholarship Fund, so every year we offer two scholarships. We started at $250 and offered two of those to two for two years. The last two years we did $500. We try to increase it every couple of years to give more back to the schools and the alumni.”
The process for awarding the scholarships will change this year.
“We had four or five different questions (in previous years) and it was like, let’s just make this an essay. So we changed it to a 250-word essay this year: What makes you proud to be a Lima Senior Spartan alumni?” he said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.