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Volumne III Issue II Fall - 2000

Straight From the Gavel
By Terry Dermody, Acting President
The Talk of the Town

Alumni Weekend 2000 is history now, but far from forgotten. I could devote this entire column to sharing with you the details of the weekend, but that would be an injustice.

The editor and alumni contributors to this issue of "Reflections" have done a superb job of capturing the enthusiasm, emotion and excitement of the celebration and festivities. The vivid articles and pictorial review have created "Reflections" own version of the 1950’s popular TV show "You are There."

Once you have finished reading this issue you will feel like you were there and in all probability will regret that you weren't. So enjoy your walk down memory lane through the eyes and ears of the editor and your fellow alumni. My analysis of Alumni Weekend 2000 can be simply stated in two words: "OVERWHELMING SUCCESS"

Not only did it provide a wonderful weekend of fun and memories for those attending (despite some competition from the weather), it captured the imagination of the entire community. It truly embodied the spirit and purposes of the association by uniting alumni, school and community.

The vision of the association has been realized. This was confirmed by extensive media attention and community recognition. Interviews regarding the weekend appeared in the Oneonta Daily Star and were broadcast on WCDO radio. Numerous articles and pictorial highlights appeared in the Tri-Town News. A mayoral proclamation was declared by Mayor James Warren, a former faculty member. Community residents joined alumni for the millennium photo. “Welcome Alumni” banners were hung all over town and marquees at the library and fire hall announced weekend events. Alumni and residents alike crowded around the old bank showcase window to view the alumni displays. Merchants and local businesses welcomed returning alumni.

It truly became the "Talk of the Town" and left an positive impact. As one alumnus observed, he knew something special was happening in town because as he toured the neighborhoods there seemed to be an out of state vehicle in every driveway he passed. He is right, it was something special. It exceeded even my ambitious expectations. Not bad for an organization with such humble beginnings.

What is important to remember is that an event of this magnitude did not just happen. A debt of gratitude belongs to the individual volunteers whose extraordinary efforts, hard work, passion and commitment transformed the vision into a reality and set the standard of excellence for future events of the association. I want to publicly express our thanks to these individuals on behalf of the entire alumni community. I am not alone in my appreciation. Recognizing the positive effect on the community, The Tri-Town News wrote an editorial saluting the efforts of these individual. Borrowing their words: " A bouquet of roses to the many people who worked so hard to organize and carry out the All-Alumni Weekend in Sidney" I second that emotion. Plans are already in progress for next year.

As we move beyond Alumni Weekend, we must direct our focus on formalizing the process to perpetuate and provide the continuity to the association, maintain the services and activities of the association and explore new ones.

Quite frankly our efforts to attract additional leadership and additional volunteers to serve on existing committees has been less than effective. This concerns me very deeply. Everyone I hear from is positive about the association and its direction. But we cannot expect the same small group to continue to take on all the burdens and responsibilities of the association without sacrificing growth or existing activities. Ultimately the future of the Association could be in jeopardy.

I do not believe that the entire alumni community is complacent. My instincts suggest just the opposite. It is my conclusion that our appeal has been too general.. So let me try to rectify that right now.

The key ingredient required in keeping the association vital and vibrant is leadership. Attracting strong leaders to assume responsibilities in the association is the #1 issue facing it. We must act now with a sense of urgency through formal elections. Surely there are several of you among the 4,000 who receive this publication who have an interest or you know someone who does. To give you the opportunity to formally declare this interest we have inserted a nominating petition in this issue. The nominating petition should be completed and returned to the attention of the nominating committee at PO address listed in the newsletter.

Under the temporary by-laws of the Association up to 11 members of the Board of Directors are elected by the Association membership and the Executive officers are either elected and or confirmed by the elected Board of Directors. This could change because it has been proposed that the Executive Officers be directly elected by the association membership. However, regardless of how the Executive officers are elected only those individuals who declare their candidacy or are nominated by others will be eligible for election or appointment.

Also, it should be noted that Association Officers are allowed to serve on the Board of Directors so you are allowed to proclaim your candidacy for both. You do not have to be a retired general or corporate CEO to be eligible. The major (only) qualifications are that you are a paid Association member, willing to attend a minimum of two executive meetings a year in Sidney and embrace the purposes of the Association. We are anxious to see candidates from all walks of life and all class eras. I know you are out there so don’t rely on others. Stand up and be counted.

Just as important to the survival of the association is the urgent need for committee members. Committees are where the real work of the association gets done. Everyone can make a valuable contribution to a committee no matter what your skill level or time commitment. We have critical need for volunteers to serve on the following standing committee(s) :

 * Website We have a Webmaster
    Ray Taylor '55 has volunteered to take this task on--- thanks Ray!
 * Fund raising Committee
 * Membership Committee
 * Public Relations Committee
 * Newsletter Committee: reporters/photographer/section editor/ proof readers
 * Wall of Fame Committee
 * Historical Committee
 Each of these roles are vital to the mission and purposes of the Association.

The newsletter has become the heart and soul of the association. Without the funds and assistance with the publication, the time will come when it will be impossible to maintain the professional quality and mail it tothe entire mailing roster.

Serving on the Public Relations Committee would be a fun position and entail working with the local media and community organizations and keep the association in the public eye.

Membership is a key component of a successful organization. Membership dues are the primary funding source of our organization. Currently, paid members represent less than 10% of the alumni roster, we need to improve in this area. We desperately need a membership committee who will focus their efforts in developing ideas for expanding the membership of the Association and responding to the needs of the membership. Without members the Association will face the prospect of withering away.

The Fund Raising Committee will formulate ideas for providing additional funding sources for the Association and creating resources to fund new projects of the Association.

The Historical Committee will maintain the Association archives and document the history of the Association.

The Wall of Fame Committee will develop the criteria and identify candidates for future election to the Wall of Fame.

In addition to the Standing Committees described above, the Alumni Weekend Committee is always searching for volunteers. An event of this magnitude has a constant need for an influx of new workers. There are a variety of committees that need to be staffed including the decoration, registration/reservation, accommodation , program, set-up, promotion, event, publicity and more.

As you can see wherever your interests lie we have an opportunity for you to serve your association. It is not necessary for you to live in the Sidney area or devote all of your free time. Many of our current volunteers reside out of state and many serve in a limited capacity as their schedule permits.

So, give it a try. It is simple to volunteer your services. All you have to do is contact me by phone at 609-631-9516, by e-mail at or drop me a note at SCS Alumni Association. If you want to see the Association continue its journey for years to come, become a volunteer today. It is even simpler to serve on the Alumni Weekend Committee. The committee will be meeting on monthly basis in Sidney. All you have to do is show up. The meeting dates will posted on the Web-site or you contact me for the next scheduled meeting. I hope to be hearing from you soon.

So now that I have divulged the secrets for volunteering, it is back in your court. Accept the challenge for the sake of your Association. We have created something very special and unique that is unlike any High School Alumni Association through out the country. Help your association retain its status as the "Talk of the Town" Who knows, with your help maybe we can graduate to the "Talk of the Nation."