“There won’t be a Gilbert High School in five years when the next reunion occurs, but there will always be Gilbert graduates, teachers, and memories of the school,” said reunion director Sharon Ellis Murphy.
And there are many, many graduates to recall those memories; 2, 942 in all from 1926 to 1985.
Contacting the close to 3,000 Gilbert alumni was no small feat, Murphy said. The arduous task began in February 2010 when over 2,300 letters were sent out with many of them being returned and others coming in after the June 4 registration deadline.
The reunion committee is expecting 530 people to attend Saturday evening’s banquet and approximately 650 people for Sunday’s memorial service and picnic. Limited seating for the banquet restricted alumni to bringing only one guest, however attendees can bring as many guests as they’d like to Sunday’s picnic for an additional $5 per person.
During the banquet, Dr. Simon Perry of Marshall University who recently retired after 48 years of teaching at Marshall will deliver the keynote speech. The banquet will also host singing and entertainment from other Gilbert alumni in addition to Dr. Perry’s speech.
Along with the weekend’s events, food, and camaraderie, attendees will receive a 120-page memory book compiled of photos from years past which is included in the $50 registration for the reunion.
Margaret Hatfield, retired school teacher was the first director of the reunion, organizing the event in 1980. After her passing, Flossie Hatfield Smith and Ruby Hatfield Thompson spearheaded the event. Ruby passed away in 2006 and because of health issues, Flossie has not been able to participate in this year’s reunion. Alice Lester Straley, Jean Lester Allen and Gladys Lester Rutledge have helped Murphy in organizing the weekend’s events.
Among the 500 attendees, the oldest graduate to attend the upcoming reunion will be class of 1935 graduate, Elizabeth Vinciguerra of Matewan. The second oldest alumnus is the reunion’s benefactor, James “Buck” Harless. For Mrs. Vinciguerra and Mr. Harless, the trip to event will not be a long one, but some graduates are coming from as far away as California for the event.
Below is the schedule of events:
Saturday, July 3, 2010
- 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Social and registration in the LHJCC lobby.
- 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., Class luncheons at area restaurants and homes.
- 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Social at the LHJCC lobby.
- 6:30 p.m. to 6: 45 p.m., Welcoming with the GHS Alumni Chorus in the LHJCC lobby.
- 6:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Banquet in the LHJCC gymnasium.
- 9:30 p.m. to 12 a.m., Dance on the in the LHJCC patio.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
- 1 p.m to 5 p.m., Memorial service and picnic at in the LHJCC gazebo and patio.