2013-07-04 / Social

St. Ignace Area Schools Alumni Expect Strong Turnout for All-class Reunion July 6

By Martha Stuit

The third All Class Reunion gives local residents a chance to connect and offers people with ties to the area an opportunity to revisit their roots. The event is open to both alumni of St. Ignace Area Schools and anyone interested in visiting with the crowd. As a fundraiser, St. Ignace Area Community Foundation organizes the get-together every five years. Little Bear East Arena in St. Ignace will host the All Class Reunion Saturday, July 6, starting at 5 p.m.

At the end of June, 440 participants had registered, and people can also register at the door. Talking and recollecting days gone by are the main attractions.

“The place is just abuzz,” said Pete Everson, organizer and former superintendent, about the previous reunions. “I see folks that come back, and they have a pretty strong desire to reminisce.”

The reunion is a fundraiser for the St. Ignace Area Community Foundation, of which Mr. Everson is the chairman. The first two reunions in 2003 and 2008 generated around $10,000 each for the foundation.

“It is an organization that benefits the community in a lot of different ways,” said Mr. Everson, and “the money that goes there stays there.”

The community foundation provides scholarships for graduates of LaSalle High School and grants for local organizations.

While early registration for $25 closed June 15, people can still sign up at the door for $30. The charge covers the cost of the arena, food, and mailings, and any money leftover benefits the community foundation. People can also donate to the foundation with their registration.

The reunion is open to all community members, including people who attended the school, graduates of LaSalle High School, and interested community members.

“You don’t have to be an alumni. If you like the people, and you like the community, just come,” said Ruth LaChapelle, organizer and board member for the foundation.

Participants often travel from out of town to reunite with former classmates and then might spend a long weekend in the area.

“It is fun to see…a lot of the alumni and former residents,” she said.

“This gives them one opportunity to come back and not only see their friends from the school but to visit the community,” Mr. Everson said.

Doors open at 5 p.m. for the reunion, and people can stay until after 11 p.m.

“People tend to hang around” talking, Mr. Everson said.

When people arrive at Little Bear, they can first go to the tent outside. There, pre-registered participants can check in and receive their nametag. People registering at the door can sign up in the tent. Then, people can proceed into the arena.

Dinner begins at 5:30 and continues through 8 p.m. The buffet will include hors d’oeuvres, sandwiches, salad, smoked fish, and dessert, among other items. Food will be available in both the conference room and arena concessions stand. Also, two cash bars will be available from the St. Ignace Ambassadors through the Chamber of Commerce.

Jim Fitzpatrick will play music, along with other alumni, in the conference room. He will start performing at 8:30 p.m. until around 11 p.m.

“We have not had music in the events in the past, so this is a new feature,” Mr. Everson said.

Purple, black, and gold decorations will brighten Little Bear East Arena. School colors changed in 1970, noted Mr. Everson. Before then, purple and gold were the colors, but then the school switched to black and gold.

During the evening, people can visit at tables for their class, which will be located throughout the arena. In fact, alumni can assemble displays of memorabilia starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 6, before the reunion.

“They are welcome to come to the reunion and set up for that,” noted Mr. Everson.

A silent auction will offer a Mackinac Bridge tower tour and packages to Mackinac Island.

Raffle tickets will also be available to purchase for $10 for a pack of 15. Lunches, gift certificates, pine chairs, golf passes, and framed photographs are among the items to win. The prizes will be grouped in baskets.

“Each one is a little collection,” Ms. LaChapelle said.

An event program will outline the years that alumni in attendance were graduated, including the farthest back the participants were graduated. Some members of classes in the 1930s have registered, and a number of people from the 1940s will also attend, said Mr. Everson. Many the registrations are from graduates of classes in the 1950s and 1960s, he added.

St. Ignace’s weekly Saturday night fireworks will burst over Moran Bay at dusk, and participants can view them from outside the arena and anywhere along downtown St. Ignace.

St. Ignace Area Community Foundation helps organize the reunion. The reunion committee is composed of community volunteers, Claudette Brown, Kathy Feher, Ruth LaChapelle, Patrice Mackin, Kathy Marshall, and Laurie Steiner.

For more information or to register, e-mail peverson@eup.k12.mi.us.

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