The Mepham High School
First Alumni Meeting
From the 1940 Treasure Chest
At a meeting held December 1939 in the high school auditorium, more than sixty of last year's graduates [the first graduating class] were present and voted to postpone the organization of an alumni association until some later date. However, a committee including Gustav Bensen, Mahlon Steiner, Gladys Billings, Jerry Liguori, Margaret Frank, Richard Quackenbush, and headed by Frances Kotlarz and William Kelly, was appointed to act as the executive body until such time as permanent officers may be elected.
The executive committee planned an informal get-together and social evening for December 26. More than seventy persons enjoyed dancing to the tunes of the nickelodeon, with Mr. and Mrs. Eugene E. Hallenbeck, Miss Agnes M. Berwind, and Miss Felice M. Gunther as guests.
W.C. Mepham High School Alumni Association, Inc.
A Brief History
By Frank Setteducati, '70
From the program booklet of the 50th anniversary, Nov. 7, 1987
Although groups of alumni have been active through these past 50 years, it was not until 1979 that the Association, as we know it today, became a viable organization. Prior to that, small social groups existed, fostered mainly by the more and more frequent class reunions. Through the efforts of Richard Wilgenkamp ('58), Eileen McNulty ('57), Ruth Menchen Bromberg ('59), and Harry Betzig ('39), officers during the first year, the foundation was laid. The purpose of the organization is "to promote social interaction among all Alumni, and to assist the school and current student body wherever and whenever possible." The Alumni Association is proud to be recognized and is greatly assisted by the school's administration, as well as by the Board of Education.
During that first year, an alumni choir was formed to participate in a concert/ testimonial to H. Walton Alderfer, Mepham's choral director through the fifties and sixties. One hundred and forty-seven (147) alumni singers took part on that Saturday evening gala. Through the efforts of Seth Poppel ('60) and Jan Wilgenkamp ('56) in the Fall of 1980, the choir was to remain active through 1986. It was headed by Frank Setteducati ('70) from 1981. A small group of faithful followers still joins forces with the high school choir during their annual caroling fest at the tree on Circle Drive.
All in all, the Alumni Association has become more and more active since 1979. "Scuttlebutt", an annual magazine-type publication keeps members throughout the country informed of the groups activities, upcoming reunions, and goings-on at the school. There are also reports on accomplishments of various alumni. In addition, "the Quarterdeck" newsletter is published three times a year.
Through the generosity of the alumni and the funds raising efforts of the Association, we provide scholar incentive awards to several students each June. This year, a total of four (4) $1,000.00 grants were made. We are also able to provide some of the "perks" that the district cannot provide (additional athletic equipment, uniforms, etc.). We have even provided chaperones necessary for student groups to make class trips which enrich their educations.
The organization is most visable during Homecoming Week-end. On that Saturday, a parade, complete with floats and dignitaries, makes its way up Bedford Avenue, to Mepham's athletic field for the "Big Game". Various reunions and other activities are usually planned around that date, which generally creates a whirl of activity for those "coming home".
The Alumni Association is proud to have planned this special week-end commemorating the 50th anniversary of the opening of W.C. Mepham High School. It would be impossible to list each person who helped individually; In particular, however we thank Principal Ken Rutley, his secretary, Ann Palkovich, and his staff for their support and the fact that they never say "no".
The advertisers who have sponsored this publication are predominantly Mepham graduates; many are in business locally. Your consideration in patronizing them can be your way of thanking them for their efforts in aiding Mepham students. There are also congratulatory messages from many others who have been part of the Mepham family, as well. We all share common good wishes for our own health and happiness but, more important, your presence and continued support shows faith in our Alma Mater and confidence in those who will pass through its halls during the next 50 years.
Editor's update: Our newsletter, Quarterdeck, is now published annually, in mid-winter, and our magazine, Scuttlebutt, is published in mid-summer. The Association provided scholarships and facilities for the school in the amount of $17,000 in 2000.