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Published: Wednesday, 4/6/2005

Toledo: Scott to organize alumni group

BY CLYDE HUGHES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Scott High School - one of Toledo's oldest high schools - has a long academic, athletic and community history in the Old West End.

But it has not had an active alumni association.

As the school approaches its 100th birthday, former Scott basketball coach Ben Williams and other alumni are organizing a new association with a mixture of old and new faces.

They're planning spring and summer meetings to establish a presence at the high school and in the community, members said.

They're hoping to pick up where a previous group left off almost 20 years ago.

Larry Quinn, a 1956 graduate of Scott and a member of the alumni association that was active in the 1980s, said that organization set out to celebrate the school's 75th anniversary in 1988.

A big celebration was held at the SeaGate Convention Centre, which drew alumni from across the country. But the group couldn't maintain the positive feelings from the celebration, Mr. Quinn said.

"I guess the group was worn out," he said. "The 75th birthday was a big affair. It took a lot of planning, and afterward, we just faded. The consistency wasn't there."

Larry Sykes, a 1967 graduate of Scott and a member of the former association, said he has personally maintained and updated the association's non-profit status in hopes it would start up again.

Mr. Sykes, now president of the Toledo Board of Education, said alumni associations not only at Scott but other high schools help draw people back to the community and show current students why their education matters.

Successful alumni show the value of public education and give students the best example of their future if they work to excel in the classroom, he said.

Richard Eppstein, president of the Better Business Bureau and a 1965 graduate of Scott, said the alumni association can play a vital role in the high school and surrounding community.

"Young kids want to have some loyalty and pride in their school," said Mr. Eppstein, who is involved in the new alumni association. "One place they get that is from the alumni. The alumni can give that passion to excel. We want all the kids to excel."

Mr. Eppstein, who was a member of the 1980s group, said he is most excited about the older Scott graduates coming together with the newer Scott graduates. He said the alumni can help hold the school board accountable for needs in the community, such as the upcoming renovation of the school.

Toledo Public Schools' $821 million construction plan is the largest in Toledo history. A total of 57 schools will be replaced or added, while seven others will be renovated during the decade-long project.

The school system has an agreement with the Ohio School Facilities Commission, which is providing 77 percent of the total project costs. The remaining 23 percent is being funded by a 4.99-mill, 28-year levy passed by TPS voters in 2002.

Four schools are currently under construction: Oakdale and Ottawa River elementary schools, Waite Middle School, and Rogers High School. By the end of the year, the number will jump to 14.

"We want to make sure the new Scott High School meets the needs of the community," Mr. Eppstein said. "We want to know that athletic facilities at Scott are equal to that at other high schools. We know right now they're not."

Mr. Quinn said Scott at one time was the city's most diverse high school. When he graduated with 1956, he was one of a few African-American students.

He said the school was mostly white and there was a large Jewish population of students.

Mr. Quinn said Scott was also known for its academic excellence and strong football program.

The alumni association will hold its first spring meeting April 14 at Scott High School's new cafeteria from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mr. Quinn said bringing alumni back to the school will be drawing cards for attendance.

Committees will be established to address scholarships, investments, building renovations, reunions and re-establishing the Scott Hall of Fame.

He said he would like to see better communication among the alumni.

Contact Clyde Hughes at:

chughes@theblade.com

or 419-724-6095.



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