Since its inception in 1995, the Greencastle High School Alumni Association has awarded 67 scholarships to GHS students and organized yearly fundraisers and banquets for graduates.
Administered by the Putnam County Foundation, the GHS Alumni Association was originally founded as a scholarship fund. Through donations from alumni and friends and contributions from the Putnam County Foundation and the Lilly Endowment the association has accumulated approximately $220,000 since its first year.
Only the interest from this fund is used to pay out scholarships, the principle is not tapped, according to Association President Steve McMains.
"Our primary goal is to provide scholarships to deserving students," Jinsie Bingham, a current member of the association's board of directors said.
Two GHS seniors receive scholarships every year from the association. Scholarships are also awarded to students already attending college. Some students receive scholarships for all four years of college with yearly reapplication.
This year, the association has awarded 9 scholarships to GHS graduates using four criteria: The student must have attended GHS for at least two years, must exhibit scholarship, practice citizenship and the student's need is assessed.
In addition to awarding scholarships, the association holds an all-class banquet every other year and a fund-raising spaghetti dinner on the off years.
The association also aids GHS classes in coordinating individual class reunions by providing contact information for classmates.
"There is also a social aspect to what we do," McMains said.
The association is currently making plans for its 2009 all-class banquet. According to Bingham, the semi-annual event is especially important to those alumni whose classes do not have regular reunions or who only have a few living members of their graduating classes.
Peggy McClaine, a current board member, admitted to never regularly attending GHS reunions until she attended her first all-class banquet.
"I think the neatest thing is to see the generations of families who have gone to Greencastle," McClaine said.
Carolyn Carson, another board member, said 14 or 15 members of one family who attended GHS have come to the banquet together.
At every banquet, alumni can find a complete set of GHS yearbooks, as well as other photographs ranging through the high schools' years.
"People spend hours just looking through the yearbooks and embarrassing photos," Bingham said.
Though the all-class banquet is not a fund-raising event, the semi-annual spaghetti dinner held at the high school is geared toward raising money for the scholarship fund.
At this year's event, the association raised over $1,500 for the fund.
The association also uses its funds to furnish wallet-size diplomas to graduating seniors and to buy the purple blazers for the GHS ambassadors. The association also releases a newsletter entitled "Tiger Tales."
Alumni interested in joining the GHS Alumni Association or receiving more information on the organization can visit its Web site (www.greencastlealumni.com).
The association boasts about 500 members and accepts anyone at least loosely associated with a GHS graduating class as a member, being a graduate is not necessary.
Applications for the alumni association's scholarships are also available through the Web site.