Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Times Union's Coverage of the Upcoming Valley 40th "Birthday" Party

 reprinted  by permission of the Warsaw Times Union

by David Sloan, Times Union Staff Writer

AKRON – Whether they were Talma Tigers, Burket Hawks, Mentone Bulldogs, Akron Flyers, Beaver Dam Beavers or Tippecanoe Valley Vikings, alumni of the Tippecanoe Valley School Corp. are invited back to the district for its 40th anniversary event.

The seventeen members of the Valley Hometown Advisory Board have been busy planning the Tippecanoe Valley High School 40th birthday celebration so its alumni can reconnect with each other and the school corporation.

The event is June 20 from 1 to 5 p.m. at TVHS. Graduates of Akron, Mentone, Beaver Dam, Burket and Talma high schools – all the schools that now make up TVSC – are invited as well as their families.

“The idea is to make it a family event,” said Angie Miller, advisory board member and Mentone principal.

Lunch will be served at 1 p.m. Miller said it will include pulled pork sandwiches, chips and a cookie.
A variety of activities is planned for adults and children, including inflatables for the kids, corn hole, a selfie station and the gym will be open.

Homemade ice cream will be provided. The local tractor club, Echoes of the Past, will make 10 gallons of ice cream with the use of a tractor, according to Adam Heckaman, TVHS Distinguished Alumni representative to the advisory board.

Miller said items from Valley’s past will be on display during the June 20 celebration.
TVSC Superintendent Brett Boggs said there will be a silent auction of two autographed basketballs signed by this year’s girls basketball state runner-up team as well as two plaques of the team.
The advisory board hopes to have technology in place in time for the celebration so alumni who can not attend can view it on Skype.

Miller said the board is planning for 350 people to attend. People can RSVP by calling 574-353-7741 or online at surveymonkey.com/s/tvhs40 but Miller said they also can just show up the date of the event.

“But when the food is out, it’s out,” she cautioned.

Along with current and former students, some of the former teachers expected to be at the event will include Nancy Alspaugh, Charlie Smith, Kevin Campbell, Wayne Cumberland and Tom Roy.

The Valley Hometown Advisory Board is a 17-member group of TVHS graduates, current students and staff. The board administers the Valley Hometown Fund with the purpose of connecting TVSC alumni “with their schools and hometowns in support of education and community development.”

The Fund is an effort to raise awareness and money for community and educational needs in the TVSC, while recruiting alumni to re-engage in their hometowns. It is not a separate non-profit corporation with its own overhead expenses – the Northern Indiana Community Foundation serves as its fiscal agent so that all contributions to the effort are tax-deductible and go entirely to support projects in the community.

The fund is not an alumni association and does not charge membership dues or fees.
Ron Newlin, Tippecanoe Valley Alumni Association, graduated from TVHS in 1976. He said his family moved a lot when he was growing up, so when he came to Valley before his sophomore year he was able to make a fresh start.

He said he wasn’t forced into any clique and the school and community were very welcoming. He could get involved in everything, something that at larger schools is not always possible, he said.
Newlin earned degrees from Ball State and Indiana University, and they constantly are contacting him about speaking to students or donating money. But he said he feels a deeper obligation to the Valley community.

It wasn’t, however, until a few years ago that someone – Boggs – contacted him about giving back to his high school. If high schools like Valley can get their alumni involved, those graduates can not only make financial contributions but also provide other contributions like mentorships to students.

“The long game here is, my hometown and my high school are actually places I want to include in my will. My estate will likely make more of a difference here,” Newlin said.

Jordan Fraser just graduated from TVHS. He said he grew up just a mile away from the school so it’s been a part of his world “forever.” He said he uses what Valley has taught him every day.

As for what he’s looking forward to at the 40th anniversary celebration, Fraser said, “For me it’s reconnecting that bond.”

He said he hopes to build connections, and hopes that the event is a stepping stone to get the community involved.

“I want Valley to be a part of my future. I hope we have (this event) again. If not, I hope homecoming becomes a part of the community,” he said.

From working with the board on the 40th anniversary celebration, Fraser said he’s learned more about the other alumni. “I’ve built my connection pool a bit,” he said.

Donations to the Valley Fund can be made at the Northern Indiana Community Foundation, Rochester, with “Valley Hometown Fund” in the memo line. Donations for Valley’s 40th anniversary celebration should have “Valley 40th” in the memo line.

For more information on the fund, visit www.valleyhometownfund.org or visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/valleyhometownfund

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