PEQUOT LAKES -- Although they graduated decades ago from Pequot Lakes High School, an informal group of alumni still feels it is their school.
So when the Pequot Lakes School District told the all-class reunion organizers they could no longer hold their annual reunions at the school because the Sunday reunions went against district policy, many alumni were upset and demanded to meet with school board members.
Now both the school board and alumni have resolved the issue and Monday, the board voted to recognize the Pequot Lakes All-Class Reunion Association as an honorary school group so it may host the all-class reunions the second Sunday in August as it has every year since 1973.
Kathleen Tusa, a PLHS 1962 graduate and secretary of the all-class reunion association, said organizers were told they could no longer host the reunions at the high school because the district intended to enforce its school policy that only school groups could use the school buildings on Sundays.
More than 110 people attended the reunion last month. The association is made up of more than 400 alumni from 29 states and Canada with many who travel back to Pequot Lakes for the annual event. The class celebrating its 50th reunion is honored each year. In August the Class of 1955 was the honored group of graduates.
A few board members and Superintendent Percy Lingen suggested the reunions be held at other places in the area, but Tusa said the group didn't want to host its reunion anywhere else or on another day. Class reunions usually are held the Saturday before the Sunday all-class reunion, which has worked out well. While the group doesn't charge dues for alumni, it collects donations to buy food, like deli meat and buns, for the potluck event.
"It kind of caught us by surprise," Tusa said of being told this would be the last year for the all-class reunion. "We sort of knew it was coming, but when we were told it was the last time we could have it on the second Sunday in August in the school we thought, 'This is terrible.' We still feel we're a part of that school but nearly all of us didn't go to school in that actual school. But we feel like we're a part of Pequot School."
A group of alumni recently met with the district's public relations committee and worked out a plan. The alumni would become an honorary school group and would become a more formal organization, taking up a collection each year to pay for the costs to use the school building. Any additional funds left over would be used to provide scholarship money for a graduating senior, said Tusa.
Tusa said the group wants to start a history project so future PLHS graduates can read accounts of high school life passed down from their grandparents who attended school there, too. She said they also are trying to get younger alumni involved with the all-class reunion. Most people who attend the reunion are PLHS graduates from the 1940s to 1960s.
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