Alumni plan bash for six decades of grads

An alumni basketball game will be added to this year's reunion.
STRUTHERS -- For the rest of the country, it's Fourth of July weekend.
But in Struthers, it's time for the All-Alumni Reunion, a long weekend of activities that will bring together more than 60 years of graduates, administrators and teachers.
The idea for a reunion for all Struthers graduates started several years ago, said event organizer Tina Morell. In late 2001, with demolition of Struthers High looming, the idea for a one-last-time reunion for all classes was hatched. So, over the Fourth of July weekend in 2002, more than 1,000 Wildcats gathered to walk the familiar halls a final time and visit with old classmates and teachers.
"Everybody had so much fun, they all wanted to do it again," Morell said.
Organizers decided to come together again in 2005, and they plan to gather every five years from here on out.
The Struthers Alumni Association is doing more than just getting together, said Morell, who graduated in 1978. Since 2003, the group has awarded two $250 scholarships each year to Struthers graduates, and that new tradition will continue, she said, thanks to money raised at the reunion.
Dust off the uniforms
New for this year's reunion is an alumni basketball game, an event that will be open to the public. The game is set for 6 p.m. Thursday at the high school field house.
Teams include players from many past school teams, from the Class of 1968 to the Class of 2005; even-numbered years will play odd-numbered years.
There will be cheerleaders, too -- from the Class of 1944 to the Class of 2001. Among those wielding a pompom: Struthers Superintendent Dr. Sandra DiBacco, a member of the Class of 1971 and a former Wildcat cheerleader.
It's truly an alumni event, Morell said; referees, scorekeepers and the announcer are all Struthers graduates.
After the game, there's a sock hop planned. Attendees are encouraged to dress in clothing from the era they attended Struthers, Morell said.
On Friday, the action moves to Mr. Anthony's for a social hour, formal dinner and dancing.
On Saturday, Struthers schools are open for tours from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sports memorabilia and other historical items will be on display.
On Saturday night, an outdoor social is planned from 7 to 11 p.m. at Mauthe Park. The social is a repeat from 2002, and was the most popular event at that reunion, Morell said.
No formal events are planned past Saturday night, but alumni are encouraged to attend the community's Fourth of July parade Monday.
A busload of Struthers graduates is coming from Struthers Nursing Home, Morell said, including at least one graduate from the Class of 1927.
The group is expecting a big turnout, Morell said, but she's not surprised. At least five generations of her own family will attend the event, she said.
"I have a love for Struthers that I can't explain or describe," Morell said. "There's a beauty and uniqueness to Struthers. The love of the community is catching."
Struthers schools are facing a financial crisis, but Morell doesn't worry about the future.
"This town has gone through its crises before," she said. "We had the same problems in the '30s and the '50s and we came through that. People always rise to the occasion. Maybe it's time for my generation to do that."

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