By Jennifer McDaniel
For the Sentinel
A 5K run, a wine and cheese reception and a live band are among the new activities on tap this summer during the reinvigorated Lincoln High School Alumni weekend set for June 3-4.
Last summer, a new group of younger alumni joined the LHS Alumni Association, breathing new life and new ideas into the annual event.
Traditionally, the high school’s alumni celebration took place during the same fall weekend as the LHS homecoming. But by moving the event to June, and expanding it with a range of new activities, board members believe the change will not only attract more alumni, but increase the association’s membership numbers.
“I feel that the changes will be good for the alumni association,” Lincoln Alumni Association Vice President Janice Bryan said in a release. “It is great to see the younger alumni get involved and bring fresh ideas to the organization. I am looking forward to working with the new people who have volunteered to serve, as well as those who have served in the past.”
New board members hope the rescheduled weekend will allow for more young families to return home for the weekend.
“Many alumni who don’t live in the immediate area, said they had a hard time attending this event because they had kids who were attending their own sporting events and homecoming weekends,” Breanna Meier, new board member and recent LHS grad, said. “It made sense to us to move the date to June, so it gives everyone a better chance to try to attend.”
To raise enough revenue to support a number of activities, the association has a membership drive on now.
The weekend will also provide an opportunity for classes to plan their class reunions, officials said.
“The goal of the weekend is to bring together alumni of all ages, and we are hoping the events we are planning will attract local alumni to join us, along with alumni who have moved away, but would love to come home for the weekend,” said Lincoln Alumni Association President Nikki Flinn. “It’s a great chance to get together with friends to reminisce about the glory days.”
The schedule of events for this year’s alumni weekend begins Friday evening with registration from 5-9 p.m. at the VFW Hall, 144 S. Fourth St., as well as a sloppy joe feed, sponsored by the Lincoln United Methodist Women Fellowship, beginning at 5 p.m. at the United Methodist Church, 216 N. 4th St. At 7 p.m., the Cruz’n Main Street event begins, followed by a mixer at 8 p.m., at the VFW and Biggie Biggs.
Saturday kicks off with a day full of activities, beginning with the 5K Color Run/Walk. The event, sponsored by the Live Healthy Lincoln County committee, begins at 9 a.m., with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. Participants can register online at www.runsignup.com/Race/KS/Lincoln/ColorMeHealthy. And for golfers, a two-person golf tournament takes place at 9 a.m. at the Lincoln Golf Course. The tournament is sponsored by the Lincoln Hospital Foundation, and prizes will be awarded. For more information, contact Kathy Schwerdtfager at (785) 531-2437.
From 9 a.m. to noon, the Lincoln Carnegie Library, 203 S. Third St., will host free tours to show off its $573,000 renovation project, which was completed in 2009. For those needing to register for Saturday’s events, registration will take place from 10 a.m. to noon at the high school, 701 E. North St. The Lincoln Elementary School Site Council will cater the alumni lunch and annual meeting, beginning at noon, at the high school. Reservations are required.
At 2 p.m., alums can catch a free movie at the Finch Theatre, 122 E. Lincoln Ave., or take a tour during the “Be a Tourist in Your Hometown” event, beginning at 2:15 p.m. Catch a bus at the Lincoln County Courthouse and take in a guided tour by Lincoln County Economic Development Director Kelly Larson. Tours are planned through 5:45 p.m., and will include stops at a number of newly renovated businesses and the old Lincoln High School. Officials note the tours have limited seating
A number of activities begin at 5 p.m., in the downtown area, including a beer garden. Sponsored by the Lincoln Fire Department, the garden will remain open until midnight.
For those feeling a little competitive, the alumni association is sponsoring free trivia and outdoor games. Contestants can put their Lincoln trivia knowledge to the test during a free trivia game or go head-to-head by competing in several outdoor games, which will run through midnight.
Beginning at 6 p.m., a wine and cheese reception is planned at the Lincoln Art Center, 126 E. Lincoln Ave. Alums are encouraged to bring their photos and yearbooks to the casual come-and-go event. Admission is free. Also at 6 p.m., a barbecue dinner, sponsored by the St. John’s Lincoln Youth Group, is planned downtown.
From 8 p.m. to midnight, the band, BootLeg Mercy, will perform a free concert downtown. The band, which features Brady Donley, a 2007 LHS graduate, is sponsored by the alumni association. Donations will be accepted.
Membership dues are $7.50, and can be paid by mailing them to the: Lincoln Alumni Association, PO Box 15, Lincoln, KS 67455. Dues must also be accompanied by complete contact information, including an email address for each LHS alum.
The alumni association also has a Facebook page, and encourage graduates to “Like” it so they can stay updated on alumni weekend and all things LHS.
“One of our goals is to keep things fresh for alumni weekend, so people don’t get bored and stop attending after the first year or two,” board member Bree McReynolds-Baetz said. “That always seems to be the biggest obstacle with any event. We are implementing some new activities and after this first alumni weekend, we plan to phase out what doesn’t seem as popular with the attendees and rotate in fresh ideas. After one brainstorming session, we came up with a long list of ideas that I hope will keep people interested in attending for years to come.
“And the weekend is not just for LHS alumni, but for spouses, families, and anyone who wants to reminisce with old friends,” McReynolds-Baetz added.
LHS Alumni Association officers include President, Nikki (Schwerdtfager) Flinn – Class of 2002; Vice President, Janice (Lyne) Bryan – Class of 1963; Secretary, Katie (Stegman) Good – Class of 1999; Treasurer, Connie (Judd) Liggett – Class of 1967. Board members are Breanna Meier – Class of 2015; Allison (Aufdemberge) Johnson – Class of 2007; Jill (VonFange) Naasz – Class of 1999; Bree McReynolds-Baetz – Class of 1998; Rebecca (Stegman) Rathbun – Class of 1996; Colleen (Wirth) Biggs – Class of 1989; Dalen Rathbun – Class of 1970; Ethel (Harlow) Zachgo – Class of 1962; Rosemary (Wolting) Copeland – Class of 1962; and Blanche (Lyne) Rolph – Class of 1960.