The 65th Annual Big Walnut Alumni Banquet was held on May 16 at the Big Walnut Middle School. The evening began with a Social Hour at which time classmates gathered for a time of catching up with each other. Pictures of the 1955, 1965 and 1990 classes were taken at this time. The Big Walnut Grill, a welcome addition to Sunbury, catered the delicious meal which was served by the youth from St. John Newuman. Guests were asked to leave tips for the youth who were working for money to help with their summer mission project.
After dinner, President Sue Butterfield welcomed all present then turned the evening over to Paul Miller who recognized the honored classes.
Middle School Assistant Principal Josh Frame addressed the group, letting all know that they have an outreach they are undertaking which involves current students interviewing alumni and getting a perspective of some of the things that had been done while attending Big Walnut. Butterfield recalled her high school years when the BW band went to Cleveland and performed at halftime at a Cleveland Browns football game. Alumni encouraged to talk with students to let them know what their experiences have been. Josh thanked the alumni for our legacy. There are around 500 students attending the Middle School.
President of the Class of 1965, Greg Pederson, addressed the audience, stating that we now live in a new era with computers, etc. He recalls growing up with the party line phone system, Growing up in a farming community he has seen many changes in that industry. Greg left us with a quote of his — “Make all you can, can all you make, but do not sit on your can.” Classmates, pictured in a photo as part of this article, introduced themselves.
Charles Shipman representing the Class of 1955, spoke telling us that their freshman class, and even beginning with the eighth grade, has been together throughout their high school years. Their class has lost 25 classmates. He remembers Hylen Souders being Principal and Marvin Miller, Superintendent. Many of their classmates meet at MCL Cafeteria in Westerville each Month for dinner and a time of fellowship. Classmates introduced themsleves (pictured in photo as part of this article).
The members of the Class of 1990 introduced themselves. Amy Forman Hill has heard family tell how her family member, Frank Stelzer, was a very important part of the governing department of Sunbury, wearing many hats; Carie Davis remembers riding the church bus at the First Baptist Church with Jim and Evelyn Brookens, mentioning her family members, Jane Shultz Davis, Joan Shultz Fuller and John Shultz, long-standing members of this community. Each class member received a certificate for a free pizza from PJ”s or Jet’s.
MC Paul then recognized Denny Groseclose, the graduate who traveled the furthest to attend this year’s banquet. Denny traveled from Orlando, Florida to be with his classmates from the class of 1965. Rachel Murphy Buxton, representing the Class of 1951, was the distinguished guest as being the most unrecent graduate. Rachel has never missed a banquet since they began. Quite an honor she can be proud and thankful for. Three family members received the recognition for the most family members present, including Marilyn Tutorow, Ralph and JoAnn Boggs. They received a pizza certificate from PJ’s.
Veterans in attendance were also recognized. Robert Grove received a gift certificate from BW Grill for being the oldest.
Mark Bryant, who takes care of reservations, read several notes which he had received. Grace Ellen Miller Lang regrets that she was out of town at the date if the banquet, but is doing well. Jeanette Lott, Class of 1935, wrote that she is doing well and still able to live alone. Edward Carnes, Class of 1946, sent a donation in memory of Lola Dell Searles.
A 50/50 drawing was won by Marsha Garee, who received $77.50. The other half goes to the Scholarship Fund.
The door prizes made possible by the generous merchants as list below, were then distributed.
Ridgely Conant agreed to join the current committee members to help plan next year’s banquet. Those who worked this year were Sue Butterfield, Mark Bryant, Julie Johnson, Karen Debolt and Valerie Pederson. Also working with the BW Reunion website was Valerie Hammill. Anyone available to help make this event another success may contact Sue at 614-562-7003. The committee thanks photographer Steve Stiverson for doing a fine job of taking the pictures and having them ready for the classmates that evening.
The 66th Big Walnut Alumni Banquet will be held on May 21, 2016.
Respectfully submitted by Marsha Garee, Recording Secretary
Door Prize Donors for the Banquet included: Advertising Products for You, Cracker Barrel, Donatos of Sunbury, Fracasso’s Village Pizza, Galena Diner, Jet’s Pizza of Sunbury, Kroger of Sunbury, Linda’s 3 on the Square, McDonald’s of Sunbury, Mi Sombrero Restaurant, Molly’s Flowers, Mudflats Bar & Grill, PJ’s Pizza, Saturday’s Hair Solon, Subway of Sunbury, Virgil’s Jerky Plus, Washington Auto Parts and Wendy’s Of Sunbury.