Quitman alumni group plans all-school reunion

Carol Rolf Originally Published May 5, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated May 3, 2013 at 1:23 p.m.
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Carol Rolf

Don Rowlett, left, and Lynn Burford are members of the Quitman School Alumni Association Inc., which will sponsor the annual alumni reunion May 25 at Quitman High School. They are shown here in the foyer of the new Quitman High School, which was completed in 2010. On the wall behind them is a painting by Gary Reeves of the former school building, known as Old Main. Reeves also painted a bulldog, the school’s mascot, in the entryway.

Thousands of students and employees have come and gone from Quitman schools over the years. Organizers of the Quitman School Alumni Association Inc. hope many will return on May 25 for the annual alumni reunion, which will be held from 2-4 p.m. in the school cafeteria.

Members of the class of 1963 will host the event, as well as the class’s own 50-year reunion.

Don Rowlett, facilities coordinator for the Quitman School District and a 1965 graduate of Quitman High School, said the 501(c)(3) organization was formed three years ago under the leadership of Cecil Daves. Rowlett, who serves as the alumni association’s treasurer, said the main purpose of the association is “to award academic scholarships to deserving seniors, … helping them on the road to their selected career.”

“We gave a $1,000 scholarship last year,” Rowlett said. “We are just getting started. All of the money raised is through donations.”

Other goals of the nonprofit organization include making grants available to deserving programs, honoring individuals who have achieved a high degree of excellence, planning homecoming activities for alumni and establishing a newsletter.

Membership in the association is open to anyone who has ever attended Quitman schools or was employed as a teacher, administrator or noncertified staff member, as well as board members or those who served the school in any capacity. Anyone involved in schools that consolidated with Quitman is invited to join as well.

Memberships are available at several levels — $10 a year for a bulldog membership; $25 a year for a silver member; $50 a year for a gold member; $100 a year for a platinum member; and $500 one time for a life member.

“We really need people who will renew their memberships every year,” Rowlett said. “We have several charter members, so we have a broad-based support from them. We need lots of $25-, $50- and $100-a-year memberships. If we have people to pay each year, we will be able to establish an endowment fund that will collect interest each year. We would like to be able to live off renewed dues. That will enable us to give more than one scholarship.”

Lynn Burford, a 1960 graduate of the local school who is an elder at the Quitman Church of Christ and a former used-car-business owner, is chairman of this year’s all-school reunion.

“It’s not just for graduates,” he said. “We welcome anyone who’s ever been connected with the school. … Those who [attend the reunion] always enjoy it.

“It tends to be those from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s who show up. We don’t hear much from those from the 1970s and on.”

Burford said snacks will be available at the reunion.

“And we will introduce everyone and just mingle,” he said. “We’ll probably have some entertainment as well.”

“We had a good video presentation last year,” Rowlett said. “We hope to do that again this year.”

Rowlett said the average attendance at the alumni reunion is 100. He said the oldest attendee last year was Floyd Wayne Wallace of Eudora, Iowa, who graduated in 1932. The person who traveled the farthest was Leo Nored of the class of 1943, who came from California. Others from the older classes in attendance included Billie Faye Verser, class of 1941; Nelda Kennedy, 1946; Charles James, 1951; and Willodean Daves, 1955.

In addition to Rowlett, officers of the Quitman School Alumni Association Inc. are Richard Rothwell of Quitman, president; George Condray of Bee Branch, vice president; and Geneva Lackey of Quitman, secretary.

For more information on the Quitman School Alumni Association Inc. and the upcoming reunion, call Rowlett at (501) 589-7855 or Burford at (501) 514-4081.

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