While sharing memories during their reunion, members of the Sampson High School Alumni Association are looking to keeping a legacy alive through an endowment and scholarships.
The 46th SHSAA Reunion, hosted by the organization’s Fayetteville chapter, is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 10, through Sunday, Aug. 12, at the Holiday Inn, 1944 Cedar Creek Road, Fayetteville. The theme is “Educating Generations Through a Legacy of Scholarship.” Some of the highlights include an executive board meeting, picnic and a reunion banquet.
Jesse Williams, SHSAA national president, is looking forward to the event and having a good turnout. About 200 graduates and supporters are expected to attend. During the banquet, a dinner will be served and the scholarship winners will be announced. D. Hector McEachern, a retired executive from Wells Fargo and owner of The McEachern Group, will serve as the guest speaker.
SHSAA also established an endowment fund for scholarships. The goal is to reach $1 million.
“We’re excited,” Williams said. “We think we’re going to get some significant contributions at this reunion. It’s been a little slower than we thought, but we’re still optimistic. We want to do this scholarship endowment, so we can get to the point where we can give more in each scholarship and give to more children.”
After the alumni association was created in 1973, hundreds of students have earned scholarships. The total is more than $350,000.
“We’re happy where we are,” Williams said. “For 45 years, we raised the money every year and gave it away. Now we’re trying to raise so we can use the interest from the endowment fund to fund the scholarship program and we’re excited about that.”
Williams also appreciated the support for the endowment goal and organization. He added that awareness continues to increase. Currently it’s estimated that SHSAA still has close to $900,000 to raise to reach its $1 million goal.
“We’re challenging our members to donate significantly,” he said. “Once we have them come in at certain levels, we feel that other people will come in and help us. Most people will not help you if you don’t help yourself.”
The organization is also challenging former scholarship recipients to help as well.
“We want more of them to come back and more of them to be active and take part in running the organization,” Williams said.
In the meantime, community members will continue to work towards the effort.
“There’s nothing to small and nothing to big,” he said about the size and generosity of donations.
Announcements regarding finances will be announced during the weekend. Another project of the organization is the refurbishing the old grounds to build a community center. A study and analysis was made on the property. Located at 615 McKoy St. in Clinton, the educational institute was established with money provided by Julius Rosenwald, co-owner and and president of Sears, Roebuck and Company. His foundation, The Rosenwald Fund, provided seed money to communities throughout the South to build schools. In the early 1900s, Rosenwald was convinced by African-American leader Booker T. Washington to do so.
“That’s one of the things that’s going to be a key topic of discussion at this year’s reunion,” Williams said. “It’s hard to do something like that on your own, so we’re looking for some corporate sponsors and help from both the city and the county.”
Williams feels that the center will provide support to the community by offering services for adults and youths.
For more information about the event or making donations towards efforts, visit www.sampsonalumni.org
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-592-8137. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.