It is mind boggling for me to realize that the Smithfield High School Alumni Association has been in existence for 110 years - since 1902, as a matter of fact.
I have been involved with serving as an officer and writing the newsletter for almost 38 years, since Darin's birth when I wasn't out every day working on a job.
Someone who has been on the job for even longer has been John Domenick, who took over the president's office much earlier. He not only does presidential duties, he serves as emcee for the program, entertaining all in attendance by pulling school secrets from the 50-year members; handling fundraising and getting entertainment; and making arrangements for the place of the banquet each year.
A table of 1956 classmates came together to welcome Eleanor Moore from Tennessee. Shown are, from left, seated, Linda Walker Borkowski, Moore, Doris Kinyo Gazzola, and back, Tom Borkowski and Joe Ogden.
During his early term in office, 37 years ago, he started the Mary Sutherland Service Award for a graduate who is or has been active in the business or church community. When some suggestions for the award seemed to fall into sports-oriented or organization areas, it was thought that another award was needed.
The name coming to mind right away was Octa Foster, the school principal, journalism and Latin teacher and No. 1 leader in cheers at the school pep rallies. It was called a spirit award for that reason and started 32 years ago.
Thirty years ago our officers thought a scholarship from the alumni would be nice, and it was started. To alleviate someone getting the whole amount and then falling out of the scholastic world, John felt it would be good to give the money in increments aligned with the school semester. No one has ever dropped out of college that we have sponsored. Good selections are made by teachers Chris McCain, Carol Pruneski and Ron Ignace, teachers, and Tom Straus.
Other scholarships have been added, and the total number this year was nine. This was for the Dick and Dorothy Prokes scholarship, 20 years; Lions Club and Just Hair/Vend It scholarships, 13 years each; Fred Straus advanced college scholarship, seven years; and the Sutherland and Cibulka family scholarships, two years each.
The Mary Sutherland Award was presented by John Borkowski to Eleanor Moore of Nashville, class of 1956. She worked as a reporter for the Herald-Star, obituary department, for two years while attending the College of Steubenville. She attending alongside her mother, Ruth Moore, who graduated with an associate degree in elementary education, while her daughter followed with an English degree.
Eleanor received a call to use her talents for the church and moved to Nashville to work at the United Methodist Publishing House. She edited Sunday School curriculum for youth and adults, as well as religious books. Along the way she earned two master's degrees, one in literature and history of the Bible and the second in Christian education.
Eleanor has traveled to churches across the United States and the Holy Land three times. Another important event was consecration as a diaconal minister in 1984, given to qualified lay persons in the Methodist church who make a commitment to use their talents in church-related occupations.
Edward Waldman, Class of 1947, received the Octa Foster Spirit Award, presented by his friend and Piney Fork American Legion buddy, Tony Phillippi.
He was drafted into the Army in 1950, leaving behind his wife, Mildred "Toots" Fabry Waldman. He served in the 7th division-13th combat engineers division, with the dangerous job of disarming land mines in Korea and attained the rank of master sergeant before his August 1952 departure.
Ed was presented an award by the Republic of Korea in regards to the Korean Veterans Chapter 70 in 2011. He was joined by Jay Kolenc in receiving awards. They are both members of the Jefferson County Veterans Association.
He is a charter member of the County Veterans Association, serving as vice commander at its formation and was named Veteran of the Year in May. He is one of the veterans raising the Prisoners of War flag at military programs at Friendship Park.
Waldman is vice commander of the Piney Fork Gwynn Allen American Legion Post 735.
He is a trustee of the Smithfield Historical Society and serves on the board of the Smithfield Methodist Church.
The Class of 1962 was honored on its 50th anniversary. A get-reacquainted dinner was held the evening before the alumni all-school reunion at the Farm Inn near Mount Pleasant.
Attending the dinner and spinning tales were Ed Krulcik, Frank Smith, Bill Sutherland, Frances Crawford, Verna Roe Reynard, Kathy Ignace Concato, Sandy Kinyo Rakoski, Alfonso "Sonny" VanHove, Brenda Hargrave, Garth and Linda Cooper Beany, Marlene Case Hosier, John Prevot, Mary Jo Hatfield and Judy Christian Cylar and their guests. Attending the Friday dinner but not the alumni were Ron Reynard and Nelson Puch.
Brenda told how the Washington, D.C., trip brought the discovery of true friends when the blacks were told they could not stay in the only late-at-night eating establishment, as the bus had arrived late, and the students were starved.
Brenda said the four blacks in the group looked about, not knowing what to do when their classmates solved it for them. "If they can't be served then we don't want to be either," was the consensus of the remaining students.
"I would like the audience to stand and give a hand to the group who stood up for us. They showed what real equality can be," she said. Everybody stood and gave a rousing hand to the Class of 1962 who showed real friendship.
There were 174 in attendance at the dinner held at Froehlich's Classic Corner. Pam Cihon Berry did her usual great job in baking a gigantic cake with decorations in the Spartan black and gold colors.
Thanks to Pastre's Service Center, Just Hair, Vend-It and Foster Funeral Home in Smithfield for donating the plaques that were presented.
In the election of officers, all members approved the same officers serving for another year. This includes John Domenick as president; Manuel "Butch" Garcia, first vice president; someone named Esther McCoy as second vice president and newsletter editor, a job I would gladly hand to anyone who is willing to go searching for news; Dave Simmons, secretary; Tony Phillippi, recording secretary; and Rick Pastre, treasurer.
(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is food editor and a staff columnist for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at email@example.com.)