Alumni banquets a long standing tradition in Groveport

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By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Photo courtesy of the Groveport Heritage Museum
Groveport Madison High School holds an a alumni banquet annually. Pictured here is the 1913 banquet that was held in the Elmont Hotel. The Elmont once stood on Groveport’s Main Street where Middle School Central now stands. In 1913, the Groveport Madison Alumni Association had 250 members.

Groveport Madison Schools began in 1848 with the district’s first school located on Walnut Street in Groveport. The district has been educating students and producing accomplished alumni ever since.

In 1894, the Groveport Madison Alumni Association formed and began holding its annual alumni banquet. The organization also selects inductees for the Groveport Madison Alumni Hall of Fame and the Rarey Award and cares for the history of Groveport Madison Schools.

The 21st century has witnessed the fading of many social organizations due to a variety of reasons, but, as it has for 127 years, the GMAA continues to be a strong presence in the community.

“We attract 15 to 20 members for our committee, which is great as it nears their 50th anniversary from graduation,” said GMAA member Judith Santmire. “Not all members get a job, but all get a say. We changed our name in 2018 to Groveport-Madison Alumni Association from Groveport Alumni Association. We also became a 501(c)3 organization and reworked our bylaws. All donations are tax exempt.”

She said in past years the GMAA has sponsored projects like buying flags for classrooms, framing and hanging old class pictures, and remodeling of the Groveport Elementary auditorium.

“We sponsor the Hall Fame Award that recognize successful graduates who have given back to the community and been out of school 10 years,” said Santmire. “We also sponsor the Rarey Award which recognizes someone who did not graduate from Groveport but has given back to the community.”

She said one thing that sets the GMAA apart from other groups are the long standing, committed volunteers. The board consists of alumni from classes of 1958 thru 1979 and 1994.

“GMAA is a social organization that works with the community,” said Santmire. “We believe that we have over 10,000 graduates. We have fantastic support from the school district and local businesses.”

Alumni Banquet

The GMAA will resume its Alumni Banquet after a year off due to the COVID pandemic. The next Alumni Banquet will be Sept. 18 and will honor the classes of 1970 and 1971, who graduated 50 years ago. The following Alumni Banquet will be May 21, 2022 and will honor the class of 1972 on the 50th anniversary of its graduation. The banquets are held at Groveport Madison High School, 4475 S. Hamilton Road, Groveport. The May 21, 2022 date will resume the normal cycle (third Saturday in May) for the banquet moving forward.

“In the early days, the alumni would do a potluck and then it turned into a banquet with a catered meal,” said Santmire.

The banquet has been held over the years in Groveport at the Elmont Hotel, Groveport School on Naomi Court, Town Hall, Groveport School (now Groveport Elementary), the high school on Main Street (now Middle School Central), the high school on Hamilton Road that is now demolished, back to Middle School Central, and now the new high school on Hamilton Road.

At the banquet, the Alumni Hall of Fame in the new high school’s mezzanine will be open for viewing No other school buildings will be open for tours. The honored Class of 1970 is invited to the Sept. 17 Cruiser football game free of charge.

“We like the banquet because it showcases Groveport Madison graduates as well as provides the opportunity for socializing with friends,” said Santmire.

Alumni Hall of Fame
The 2021 Hall of Fame inductee is retired Groveport Police Chief Roger Adams. The Rarey Award goes to John and Mary Mashburn.

Adams, a 1967 Groveport Madison graduate and lifelong Groveport resident, served in the Groveport Police Department for 32 years including 21 years as police chief.

According to the GMAA, the Mashburns served the community since 1978 with their attorney practice and helped the community members in various ways without compensation. They were involved with many different community and church organizations throughout the years. John was a long-time member of the Groveport Lions Club. Mary was part of the city of Groveport CIC committee and numerous other committees.

The Alumni Hall of Fame began in 1985. Members in the order they were inducted and the year they graduated are:

Nora Dowler Carruthers, 1921; Lillian Meloy, 1918; Grover Peters, 1910; Malcolm “Mac” Sims, 1939; Warren E. Motts, 1959; Dr. Mark M. Zangmeister, 1950; Lana Hamler Borders, 1961; William A Smith, 1962; E. Eugene Wilson, 1936; Maxine Cole Drury, 1931; Robert Peters, 1941; Edgar Rarey, 1948; Frederick Mick, 1964; Ned Webster, 1949; Catherine Powell Weikart, 1921; Harry E. Miller, 1939; Thomas J. Hennen, 1970; Floyd F. Heil, 1930;
Dick Klamfoth, 1946; Jack .T Stultz, 1943; Admiral Thomas R. Wilson, 1964; John D. Hummell, 1942; Louis Haines, 1946; Dr. Steven Miller, 1966; Ross L. Worch, 1966; Anna Cox Mann, 1939; Kathleen Grube Campbell, 1932; Terry L. McDowell, 1984; Kathryn McNabb Teeters, 1941; Dwayne Spence, 1961; Richard Palsgrove, 1974; Thomas Stevenson, 1963; George Darfus, 1945; John T. Brown, 1958; Wayne E. Motts, 1985; Todd A. Carter, 1986; Janice Graham Nicholson, 1959; Dr. Jeffrey A. Myers, 1977; Jean Ann Brown Hilbert, 1963; Molly Palsgrove Davis, 1967; Louis Casperson, 1967; Robert Lindemuth, 1954; Steven Michael Smith, 1980; Mary Jane McCollister Metcalf, 1958; Dewey Stokes, 1960; Timothy Michael, 1966.

About the GMAA
“We continue to look at innovations to engage younger alumni,” said Santmire. “We continue to post to social media and promoting the banquet are current strategies. This will be vital as the group moves forward.”

The GMAA primarily meets the third Tuesday of the month in the months of January through June at 6:30 p.m. Starting in January 2022, meetings will be held at the Madison Township Community Center, 4575 Madison Lane, Groveport.

For information, visit the website at https://www.gocruisers.org/Alumni.aspx

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