BARKER — The Barker Alumni Association is one of most unique and largest associations of its kind in the country, Emma Dewart, class of 2008, told alumni and members of the class of 2019 who attended the 107th alumni reunion at Barker Fire Department on June 8.
The organization thrives because of its members, who continue to give and support it, Dewart said.
Doug Capell of Gasport, chairman of the Alumni Board of Directors, presided at the business meeting, at which Emma Dewart was elected president. Joining her on the officers' slate are: Marcia Rose Frost, class of 1972, secretary; John Sweeney Jr., class of 1978, treasurer; J. Andrew Rose, class of 1967, assistant treasurer; Patrick Kennedy, class of 1969, financial adviser; and Amy Coates Dewart, class of 1982, alumni coordinator.
High school seniors who received awards from the association include: Jessica Haseley, Valedictorian Award; and Bridget Moeller, Salutatorian Award. Haseley also received the Citizenship Award and a check for $100 for having the highest four-year average in social studies. Chloe Goodlander received the Americanism Award.
Three seniors were randomly selected to receive $100 awards: Erin Costello, Kathryn Donner and Paige Sandolfini.
It was noted that Sandolfini is a fourth-generation graduate of Barker Central School.
Twenty scholarships totaling $20,000 were awarded to graduating seniors based on criteria of need and merit. To apply, students had to write an essay on how their education prepared them for life in the community. All scholarships were for $1,000 per school year. Nine alumni members also received scholarships.
“This is a significant amount for an organization of this size, and a source of great pride,” Capell said.
The evening also included recognition of class members of each year, beginning with the 11 graduates in the class of 1919.
Those 11 and the 20 graduates of the class of 1929 are all deceased, but the class of 1939 has two surviving members among its 43 graduates. One of them, Reah Johnson Todkill of County Line Road, Medina, attended the banquet.
Johnson did post graduate studies at Millard Fillmore Nursing School, obtaining her degree in 1944. She retired as a nurse from the Albion Correctional Facility. She and her first husband, G. Ross Johnson, a member of Barker’s class of 1940, had a daughter and two sons.
Todkill, who will be 98 on June 30, said she has attended many alumni banquets, but it is getting harder as she gets older. Her son Robert brought her to this year's banquet.
The other surviving 1939 graduate, Mary Lou Fox Buck of Vero Beach, Fla., did not attend.
Also during the evening, Cheryl Nichols Reed, who has been alumni coordinator for 12 years, announced she would be stepping down from her duties and passing the torch to Amy Coates Dewart, class of 1982.
“But I will still be at the banquet next year,” Reed said.
The Barker Alumni Association was started by the class of 1912 and C. Stanley Coleman. There are currently about 4,000 members nation-wide.
The annual reunion in June is for every Barker Central School graduate, and each year the 10-year classes are honored, along with all members of the current senior class. Recognition was also given to the 50-year class, which had 76 members.