In 2005 Craig Bailey, Superintendent of Buckeye Local Schools, gathered a small group of high school alumni and supporters for the purpose of forming an alumni association. He asked a former colleague, Glen K. Gerard, Ph.D., to help determine officers and describe committees. A Statement of Mission was established along with a set of By-laws.
The original group consisted of alumni Donna Arick, Janet Schaefer Haneberg, Jean Brintnall Marvin, David Parrish, Carolyn Leonard Squire, Esther Kemrite Koppes, William Schafer, as well as Joan Petrigala Weigel of the Foundation Board. They started in earnest to try to gather names and contact information for alumni. They decided there would be no membership dues, but attended football games and set up a table, using hot dogs and donuts to attract alumni to their table in the hopes of gaining their contact information. Unfortunately, their tactics gained minimal results.
The only activity that seemed to have appeal was a luncheon held at St. Martin’s Parish Hall in August of 2010. The theme was “50 Years and Beyond” and was targeted to alumni that had graduated 50 years or more from Buckeye High School. Each year a new class was added to the invitation list beginning with the Class of 1954, the first graduating class from the consolidated high school.
By 2012, the original coordinating committee had exhausted their energies and a new planning committee took over. That committee consisted of Donna Hilty Ulmer, Madeline Frate Brookshire, Virgil Koppes, Celia Starr Kruggel, Jeanette Hibler Rafter, and Andrew Steirer. A concerted effort was made to update contact information to reach as many people as possible. Excel spreadsheets were created for each class and alumni were invited via a mailed invitation or an emailed invitation.
As time went by, more and more alumni had email addresses that helped reduce mailing costs. The biggest challenge was keeping the lists and the contact information current. The luncheon planning committee met after each luncheon to determine what could be done to improve the luncheon for the following year. In 2014, Luana Foecking Elliott and Nancee Mack Visintainer joined the planning committee. By 2016, 180 people attended the annual luncheon.
In August of 2015, Superintendent Brian Williams recognized that the association had become a viable group. He asked the Alumni Association if they would take over the nomination/selection process for the Buckeye Local Schools Hall of Fame Awards. The committee had been inactive for a number of years and he was interested in restructuring and revitalizing the program. So, a subcommittee was formed to review the existing process, revise the guidelines for nomination, establish new timelines, and identify a selection committee that reflected those groups that needed representation in the process. The subcommittee consisted of Sandra Wolfe Berger, James Buddie, Virgil Koppes, and William Schafer. Madeline Frate Brookshire and Superintendent Williams assisted in the restructuring process.
Members of the restructured Hall of Fame Awards Committee are as follows: Sandra Wolfe Berger (Alumni Assoc. rep.), Howard Calame (faculty member), John Coyne (HOF award recipient), Paula Jenne Dedrick (Alumni Assn. rep.), and Jill Mack Morton (Foundation Board rep.). The Superintendent of Schools is an ex-officio member of the Selection Committee.
As a result of their work, two individuals were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016. They were Virgil Koppes in the Special/Honorary category and Thomas Mack, D.V.M. in the Academic/Career category. They were recognized at the 2016 “50 Years and Beyond” luncheon and presented with their awards.
In May of 2016, the Alumni Association selected Buckeye High School Senior Erin Hist to receive a $1,000 scholarship toward her goal of becoming a large animal veterinarian. The Association received 33 applications for this scholarship.
As part of the Buckeye Local Schools’ strategic plan, the Alumni Association plans to establish an official Facebook page and broaden its communication to include all alumni.