WHITMAN — A big party for good causes is being planned in Whitman Center from 6 to 11:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 17 as the Whitman High School/Whitman-Hanson Regional High School Alumni Association raises funds for its scholarships and other programs supporting the school district.
The event, on Legion Parkway at McGuiggan’s Pub is the second Alumni Block Party, although it was not held last year.
Organizer Richard Rosen has obtained permission from town officials to close Legion Parkway for the event, and has obtained a one-day liquor license for the event to allow outdoor beer and wine sales. People can bring food out from McGuiggan’s or other area eateries.
“We think we’re going to have a very large crowd,” he said. More publicity via Facebook and other social media outlets and several classes are using it as a mini reunion.
While it benefits the alumni association, Rosen is encouraging the public to attend — no matter what their school colors were. He’s also hoping the ambiance of white linen-covered tables and the music of DJ Kenny Norris will prove an attraction.
The association has about 35 items donated as raffle prizes, there will be a 50/50 raffle and School Committee Chairman Bob Hayes will conduct a live auction.
“Those funds [raised] will be used for scholarships and whatever other things we can do to make the high school and school system a better place,” Rosen said.
The choice of date was an important decision for the success of the event, he said.
“When we did it the first time [in 2014], we did it in August,” Rosen said. “The turnout was OK.”
The association decided September was a better choice as people are back from summer vacations, but it will not clash with traditional Thanksgiving week plans.
“Thanksgiving is a time where a lot of people that are away at school or other places come home for the local football games,” he said. “We don’t want to compete with anybody and we want to do it outdoors.”
Rosen noted that organized class reunions are slowly fading out of fashion.
“Several years ago the Alumni Association was trying to coordinate reunions with multiple classes,” he said. “Even that’s becoming more difficult. Everybody’s busy.”
Organized in 1998, the Alumni Association has raised more than $100,000 for scholarships, gifts, donation and payments to local merchants for services benefiting WHRHS, according to Rosen.
• $18,000 in scholarships (two $500 awards each year to a student from each town);
• $18,000 to install and maintain an Alumni Brick Way;
• $ 3,600 to install an illuminated flag pole at the Brick Way;
• $2,000 to install a sound system at the new athletic field;
• $1,000 toward the digital sign facing Franklin Street and
• $65,000 for the payments to local merchants for services and supplies.
“It was being run through the schools, but we were sanctioned by the School Department,” he said. “We’ve done it through fundraisers in the past, but each year it gets more difficult.”
Dances and athletic banner auctions have been featured in past fundraisers.
Hall of Fame
The Alumni Association is also soliciting nominations for the WHRHS Hall of Fame. Induction coincides with the National Honor Society’s induction ceremonies.
Graduates are eligible for nomination 10 years after graduation through letters submitted to Principal Jeffrey Szymaniak stating the reasons for a nomination. Only one person may be nominated per letter, but graduates may be re-nominated and letters are kept on file for two years.
The principal sends letters of acknowledgement to all letter writers.
A minimum of one, but not more than two nominees are selected each year by a screening committee of Alumni Association members, and voted by all members at a general meeting.
Relatives of the person making a nomination may not participate in the Alumni Association meeting at which the selection is made.
To make a nomination, send letters to: Whitman High School/ Whitman-Hanson Regional High School Alumni Association, P.O. Box 128, Whitman, MA 02382.
Among past inductees are Sha-Na-Na saxophonist Lenny Baker, Journey musician Stephen Smith, sportswriter Nick Cafardo, Olympic figure skater Tiffany Scott, who competed in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games, and late W-H football coach Dennis M. O’Brien.