History of the Buckeye Local Schools Alumni Association
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 Constitution and set of By-laws were established.
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 Community Center 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 which 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. Donna Hilty Ulmer retired from the committee in 2014. By 2016, 180 people attended the annual luncheon. Due to the growing costs of mailing, it was decided that the committee would email invitations to all alumni with email addresses, but mailing through the postal service would be limited to those alumni with an Ohio address.
In 2018, Sandra Keller Turner joined the Luncheon Planning Committee and Andrew Steirer retired in 2019. In 2020, Darryl Towne became part of the committee followed by Cecelia Schafer Sivard in 2021. Virgil Koppes and Celia Starr Kruggel retired from the Planning Committee following the luncheon in 2021.
“Buckeye Pride” pins were sold by the Alumni Association at the 2018 “50 Years and Beyond” luncheon and at a home football game held early in September that celebrated “Golden Alumni”.
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 were as follows:
Sandra Wolfe Berger (Alumni Assoc. rep.), Howard Calame (faculty member), John Coyne (HOF award recipient), Paula Jenny Dedrick (Alumni Assn. rep.), and Jill Mack Morton (Foundation Board rep.). The Superintendent of Schools serves as an ex-officio member of the Selection Committee. In August 2019, Linda Lang Lucas replaced Paula Jenny Dedrick. In 2022, Janet Schaefer Haneberg and Bill Schnurr replaced the two Alumni Assn. representatives and Christine Demagall became the representative for the Foundation Board.
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., a 1952 graduate of Liverpool, in the Academic/Career category. They were recognized at the 2016 “50 Years and Beyond” luncheon and presented with their awards.
In 2017, Alan S. Kiene, who graduated in 1971, was inducted into the Hall of Fame for Athletics, Kenneth C. Hill, M. D. was inducted for Academic/Career and David L. Parker, Class of 1962, was inducted for Academic/Career. All three were honored at the annual luncheon.
At the 2018 luncheon held on August 8th, John and Celia Starr Kruggel, both 1959 graduates were honored as Hall of Fame inductees in the category of Special/Honorary and Anna Pfaff, Class of 2000, was inducted in the Athletic category.
The 2019 Hall of Fame inductee was Buckeye alumni Richard J. Parker who graduated from Buckeye in 1955. Richard was selected for an Academic/Career award. The 210 people that attended the 2019 “50 years and Beyond” luncheon witnessed the award presented posthumously to Richard’s daughter.
The 2020 luncheon was scheduled for Wednesday, August 12, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus. The graduating classes from 1970 and 1971 were both welcomed at the 2021 luncheon.
The 2020 Hall of Fame inductees were Brian Bartos who graduated from Buckeye in 1985 and was selected for an Athletic award; Wilbur F. Dobson who graduated from Liverpool in 1949 and was selected for an Academic/Career Award; and, Bill Schnurr, a 1971 Buckeye graduate, who was selected for a Special Honorary award. They, too, were honored at the 2021 “50 Years and Beyond” Luncheon which was held on October 6. There were no inductees into the Hall of Fame in 2021.
Phil Bova, who was the Vocational Director and teacher of the Occupational Work Experience (OWE) Program at Buckeye High School for 35 years, received a Hall of Fame Special Honorary Award at the annual “50 Years and Beyond” Luncheon on August 10, 2022. Buckeye High School graduates from 1954-1972 were present to help celebrate this honor.
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 created an official Facebook page to broaden its communication with all alumni. Be sure to Like our page, share it with other alumni, and post relevant comments and photos. The Facebook page is Buckeye High School Alumni Association.