BLANCHESTER — The Blanchester Alumni Association held its annual reunion dinner on Saturday evening, May 29 at the Blanchester Middle School Auditorium, with 134 guests present.
The social hour entertainment included: music provided by the BHS Choir under the direction of David Wood; a slideshow of photos of Wildcat Alumni who have passed in the last two years produced by Ellen Hill; a display of Blanchester memorabilia organized and presented by Wayne (’52) and Miriam (’56) Florea; and Laurel Oaks Digital Arts and Design program photographers Jaqueline Sweet and Noelle Robertson, capturing candid moments of long-time friends reuniting.
The auditorium was festively decorated with school colors of blue and white tablecloths, balloons, and fresh-cut floral centerpieces adorning each table.
President Ellen (Binkley) Hill, Class of 1978, opened the evening by welcoming everyone. The Blanchester American Legion and Boy Scout Troop 47 posted the colors.
Miss Ashleigh Osborn (’21) shared her beautiful voice with us by singing the National Anthem. The American Legion Post 179 Chaplain, Steve Lawson (’60), offered the invocation.
Dinner was served and everyone enjoyed a wonderful meal by McCoy’s Catering, which has served the group at this event for over 30 years.
In honor of our fallen, missing, or imprisoned military service members, Tommy Morlan presented the Missing Man Table that had been set up by Mary Crone Murphy (’72). Mr. Morlan shared the significance and symbolism of this table as the focal point of ceremonial remembrance of Prisoners of War, Missing in Action, and Fallen Comrades. We are proud to honor our classmates who served and are now serving in the U.S. military.
Ellen (Binkley) Hill (’78) kicked off the business portion of the banquet by introducing and welcoming the new Superintendent of Blanchester Local Schools, Randy Dunlap.
She offered a special welcome to the Class of 1970, explaining that we were unable to hold their 50th reunion banquet in 2020 due to the COVID restrictions. She also welcomed the Class of 1971 in honor of their 50th reunion, and the Class of 2021 as the newest members of BHS Alumni.
The Class of ’70 rallied and collected $3,070 to give as a special scholarship, which was received by graduating senior Lily Collins.
The Alumni Executive Board also presented two scholarships in the amount of $1,000 each, to graduating seniors Ashleigh Osborn and Brian Miller.
The Class of ’71 gave a scholarship to Savanna Schutte in the amount of $650. Destiny Waldron received a special scholarship of $350 that was given in memory of Charlene Bowman.
Proud family members who have helped these students along the way were present to celebrate the scholarship recipients.
The 50th Year Classes were recognized with Garland Crawford speaking on behalf of the Class of 1970 and Jim Villars speaking on behalf of the Class of 1971. Other classes recognized were from the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.
After asking if there were any nominations for the Alumni executive committee, it was decided that the current members would continue serving: President is Ellen (Binkley) Hill (’78), Vice President Ida (Sells) Miller (’81), Treasurer Laura (LeMasters) Summers (’58), and Secretary Beth (Snyder) Porter (’79).
Bruce Cadwallader (’79) was elected to fill the position of Historian, formerly held by Patty Williams (’73).
Ellen (Binkley) Hill (’78) explained how the Alumni Association would benefit by becoming part of the Blanchester Schools Foundation, asked for a move to join the Foundation, and the motion was passed.
Fun awards were given out for various categories. Amy Taylor (’71) received the award for traveling farthest to attend the banquet. The award for the Alum from the earliest class was given to Phyllis Allen (’50). Ed Kalb (‘65) received recognition for making the first donation to the Scholarship Fund.
Finally, two couples received awards for being the longest married high school sweethearts: Jim and Anne Lykins (‘61), and Ronald and Phyllis Kidd (’54).
The business meeting was closed. Guests enjoyed time to visit and reconnect after the banquet.
Many thanks go out to the Blanchester Girl Scout Troop 45988 and the Boy Scout Troop 47 for helping to set up, greeting graduates, and cleaning up after the banquet.
The next Alumni dinner will be on Saturday, May 28, 2022.