On Saturday, the North Putnam Alumni held its inaugural Blue and Orange banquet to celebrate four decades of tradition.
The North Putnam Community School Corporation was created on July 1, 1964, under the provisions of the Reorganization Act of 1959. Its first superintendent was Charles Frazee -- a man who was given distinguished honorary alumni status for his years of allegiance to quality education.
"It is important to develop a corporation with good school board members and faculty who help develop total academic progress," he said.
Although Frazee didn't begin his career with aspirations to be a school superintendent, he said North Putnam was an "ideal" place for him. He was a science teacher for six years before a "World War I veteran who was a principal" suggested he become a principal. With that, Frazee became principal of a Kirkland school near Frankfort.
By the time Frazee reached North Putnam, he had been acting as superintendent of Rossville schools.
He was among four others honored as distinguished honorary alumni, each contributing to the history of a small rural school.
"They taught us to think outside the box, despite being in the middle of four cornfields," said 2000 graduate Adam Clodfelter, during his speech.
Clodfelter summed it up best when he said cultivation happened not just outside, but also inside the classrooms.
"North Putnam cultivated success," he said.
Shirley Steward, a retired teacher, was honored as distinguished alumni for her many years cultivating character and success in her students.
"In small schools, you become family," she said, as she accepted her blue and orange blanket with the NPHS varsity logo. "North Putnam feels like family."
Retired band director John T. Wilson was among the honorees for his 40 years of helping students appreciate the art of music. Wilson was the band director at Roachdale prior to the 1964 consolidation.
"I remember when there wasn't any air conditioning in the band room for the first six years," he said.
The band had to march down the road, he recalled, while a student would stop traffic with her flag because there was not a field for practice. Wilson said he took pride in his award and gave recognition to NPHS current principal Alan Zerkel and wife Mary.
"We've been blessed with great faculty and support of the community, as well as band parents," he concluded.
Ron Price began his teaching career at North Putnam in 1972 and has enjoyed his 38 years in Putnam County. Price remembered when he was the assistant basketball coach under head coach Jim Sharp.
"The gym would be full of fans and parents," he said. "It's been a lot of fun."
Also among the honorees was one who could not be there, but was recognized for his many years as high school principal. Kenneth Miller was a geometry teacher before becoming principal.
The North Putnam Blue and Orange banquet will take place annually with all its proceeds going towards scholarships and school organizations, such as the band.
"That is our goal," said Jason Hartman, a 1989 graduate and alumni board president. "We feel like it is the perfect opportunity to bring people together."
The banquet recognized the classes of 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000. The next one is scheduled for June 18, 2011.