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Bryan Adams High School Alumni Association

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History of the Bryan Adams H.S. Alumni Association
A documentary of Activities and Operational Information
prepared by Charlotte Briley Wilson, Class of 1962

FOREWORD

I have proudly served as an officer in the Bryan Adams Alumni Association since it's inception in 1992. I have served as President, Newsletter Editor, Database Manager, Reunion Contact for All Classes and Membership Director 1995 - 2002. Our charter board members are still as active today as they were in the beginning. We have held annual board meetings and have discussed any number of problems, questions or activities via internet' between meetings. We have all voiced opinions and voted on all issues. The following narrative was a combined effort of the outgoing officers.

 PAST ACTIVITIES

Since the school first opened it's doors in 1957, more than 30,000 proud students have tread Bryan Adams' hallways. However, little is known about them after they leave to make their mark in the world.

In May, 1992, Lisa McClenan Massena, Class of 1973, organized a phone-a-thon to solicit pledges from alums in an effort to help the Parent-Teacher-Student Association and to determine the level of interest in a school alumni association. Bruce McShan, Class of 1966, of McShan's Florist, generously donated the use of his phone banks for the 3-day event. As a result, the group was able to present the PTSA with $2,396.41 in 1992 and $2,115.00 in early 1993. The grads who were called were told they would also receive membership in the new Bryan Adams Alumni Association with their pledge. However, the Alumni Association had not been organized at the time of the phone-a-thon.

In the Fall of 1992, some of the volunteers were asked if they would help develop an alumni association. We met and discussed the possibility of an new organization. The charter board members created the new By-Laws and elected officers and we began without any start-up money.

A new landmark was achieved with the organization and founding of the BRYAN ADAMS HIGH SCHOOL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION. The official Alumni Association was organized with the following objectives in mind:

  • To provide the most comprehensive databank of current alumni information
  • To provide assistance to the school if and when needed
  • To provide input from the community in school-centered issues
  • To lend increased spirit and support to school activities and fund-raisers
  • To establish a scholarship fund for gifted or needy students
  • To develop social activities that will provide multi-class interaction

In the beginning, Charlotte Briley Wilson, Class of '62, volunteered to set up a database of sorts, based on the pledge forms received from the phone-a-thon. Newsletters were sent out to the only existing addresses we had on hand which did not cover the entire amount of grads.

We began inviting members to alumni meetings in 1993 and 1994 but most of the time only the officers attended. We did manage to get a few new members during this time but still did not have a total database of grads. We held our first all-alumni picnic at White Rock Lake during the summer of 1994 and only had a few members in attendance.

"To provide the most comprehensive databank of current alumni information"

Without a proper database, and based on poor attendance in the past, we were ready to shut-down operations late in 1994. Good fortune arrived when Bernard C. Harris Publishing Company contacted us about publishing an alumni directory and we would receive a database with grads from 1959 through 1995. We invited their account rep to our alumni meeting and were convinced that signing a contract was the only way we would ever get a good database. The officers went to the school and borrowed old files from the storage room that contained as many commencement lists, senior directories, and anything else that had names and old addresses. It took us a week to copy thousands pages and then we had to call around to find reunion books from as many classes we could find. We copied those, too, and sent everything to the publisher. They told us they had never received as much data from a school and had to hire more telephone operators to conduct the grad search for the new database.

Harris gave us a royalty of $5.00 per book they sold and we finally had enough money in our alumni account to purchase a new computer and printer. Through various donations from grads over the next two years, we were able to purchase a fax machine and a copier. All of the equipment was maintained and operated by Charlotte in her home. Membership renewals were mailed by post card on a monthly basis until we began sending renewal notices via e-mail to the majority of our members.

"To lend increased spirit and support to school activities and fund-raisers"

We have participated in the Bryan Adams Homecoming Parade through the neighborhood surrounding the school each fall. Our Alumni Parade Chairman, Scarlette Holland Carey, '61 has consistently recruited drivers for our floats as well as alumni members to help decorate and ride on our float. Her efforts have earned the association many awards through the past few years! Scarlette works very hard every fall by designing the float and buying the decorations for which she is reimbursed by the alumni association. She sends out invitations to past participants to help decorate and ride on the float and after the parade she sends out thank you notes.

"To lend increased spirit and support to school activities and fund-raisers"

In 1997, the Alumni Association was asked to organize and maintain the building of the COUGAR WALL OF MEMORIES at Bryan Adams. Engraved 12" x 12" tiles and 4" x 8" bricks are sold throughout the year. We introduced the concept at the 40th Anniversary celebration in 1997 and the first portion of the wall was installed over the office doors during Spring Break in 1998. The second portion of the wall is scheduled to be installed May 28-31, 2002. Jean Horton Schell, '62, had served as the brick wall coordinator since the beginning and has maintained all records.

""To establish a scholarship fund for gifted or needy students"

The Cougar Brick Wall of Memories was, and still is, a very important fund-raiser for the Bryan Adams Alumni Scholarship Fund. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of bricks and tiles is used for Scholarships for B. A. grads every Spring. In the early years, we presented $500 every spring to the PTSA Scholarship fund but we never learned which student received our donation. In May, 2000 we presented a $500 scholarship and a free brick to Miss Sheniqua Johnson who is pursuing a nursing career. In May, 2001 we presented $500 scholarships and free bricks to Brandon Scott Sparkman and Jeffrey Parrott. Before we began selling the personalized bricks and tiles, we had to depend on members who sent in donations along with their membership renewals. The interest earned on our money market account has been a significant factor in the scholarships we have given out in the past three years, more so than the proceeds from sale of the bricks and tiles.  Since the Alumni Association received it’s IRS 501(c)(3) Charitable Organization designation at the end of 2002, all donations for bricks and tiles have become tax deductible.  All donations to the Association besides dues are tax deductible.

"To provide assistance to the school if and when needed"

In February 1998, the Alumni Association helped organize the 40th Anniversary activities at Bryan Adams. We organized and recruited volunteers for the first alumni "Clean-up Day". To advertise the event, postcards were sent to the local grads and the White Rocker News offered a free ad in their paper. Volunteers from many classes came to help paint, trim shrubs, mow, edge, plant flowers and bushes in the front yard and in the court yard. A good time was had by all, despite the triple-digit temperature that August day.

"To lend increased spirit and support to school activities and fund-raisers."

In 1999, our first alumni website was designed by Lorri Crossno Nevil, Class of 1979. We are very proud of our website and graduates from around the world are finding us. With the increased usage of the Internet, we have been able to locate many former graduates who had previously been listed as LOST.

"To develop social activities that will provide multi-class interaction "

The Alumni Association organized the First Alumni Day at B.A. in November, 2000. Foy Moss, Class of 19b4, was the tireless Director who commanded all areas of committees and research to develop a list of former teachers. More than 300 grads and many retired teachers came on Alumni Day and we enjoyed meeting all the former grads and teachers. We will do it again! As membership increases, activities will be added based on input from our members.

PRESENT ACTIVITIES

    • The Bryan Adams Alumni Association sends out quarterly newsletters, COUGAR TRACKS, to its active members and new members who are joining monthly.
    • We assist all classes during reunion time by providing a computerized list from our alumni database; assisting them in locating lost members by tracking siblings from other classes; by attending their class reunions and monitoring the Alumni Table with free newsletters and information and by advertising their reunions in the newsletter and on the alumni website.
    • We also assist classes by forwarding any new addresses that we receive either by new members or via the alumni website.
    • We update our alumni database on a daily basis. As grads find us or send address changes, we make corrections and notify the class reunion chairmen of any new information.
    • When grads post death notices on the website, we update our database and forward the notices to the class reunion chairman. Not all classes have active reunion chairmen or database managers however so our database will never be complete without the total support of representatives from every class.

Our alumni website is active and a-mail requests usually number 700-800 a month. The largest undertaking thus far has been to update and maintain our alumni database. This enables us to help class reunion chairmen when they are planning a reunion. We can offer them a hard copy of their class taken from the alumni database.

Our Internet activity has increased interest among grads and we have new members on a weekly basis who register on-line. When questions arrive via-email, they are forward to the proper officer to handle or to the school.

On March 23, 2002, our first all-alumni meeting was announced through newsletters to current members as well as through the Internet. Charlotte e-mailed the newsletter to class reunion chairmen that had large e-mail distribution lists and asked them to send it to their classmates. We also posted the newsletter for the first time on the alumni website for anyone to read. Word spread much more quickly than it had in the past. Although we only had 45 attendees, we were successful in electing all new Officers, Directors and two new Advisory Board members.

The outgoing Officers will serve on the advisory board and will be offering help to the new officers for as long as they are needed until everyone feels comfortable in their new positions.

 PLANNED ACTIVITIES

"To provide assistance to the school if and when needed"

Our membership must grow to enable the association to help Bryan Adams and our graduating Seniors. DISD is not financially able to help the older schools and our school is cramped with no room to grow. The 2002 student population is larger this year than it has been in many years. More alumni activities are needed at the school so our alumni can visually see how badly our school needs our assistance.

"To establish a scholarship fund for gifted or needy students"

For many years, the Bryan Adams commencement programs list the scholarships that the senior received. The monetary amount is staggering and our small $500 scholarships will hardly cover the cost of books for a college student. We have not had many donations this past year from our current members and the brick and tile sales helped in 1998 but we haven't had another installation until this spring which will be the last that the alumni association sponsors.  The Association has been fortunate to receive generous donations in 2003 and 2004 from the M.R. and Evelyn Hudson Foundation.  With the assistance of these donations, the Alumni Association awarded 6 - $1000 scholarships in 2003, and 13 - $1000 scholarships in 2004!

"To provide the most comprehensive databank of current alumni information"

To be able to assist all class reunion chairmen with updated addresses, the alumni association needs to have at least one representative per class to be responsible for keeping the updates the association receives on a daily basis. We have consistently asked for help in many different activities in our COUGAR TRACKS newsletters but rarely has anyone called to offer their assistance.

"To lend increased spirit and support to school activities and fund-raisers"

One of the major complaints we have received is that our school does not have trophy cases to show the history of our school since 1957. The prized trophies are currently housed in dusty boxes under the stage. Bryan Adams students have won awards in every organization since the opening of the school. Without trophy cases to display these historical awards, our current students have no idea of our school's history nor are visitors and parents aware of the levels of achievement of our alumnus.  We hope to establish a special fund to pay for these trophy cases.

Bryan Adams Alumni Association Executive Board of Directors

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