BCPEF working with local high schools to rally alumni

By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG
Posted 9/9/18

The Bradley Cleveland Public Education Foundation has been helping three local high schools — Bradley Central, Cleveland and Walker Valley — as they each establish or expand their alumni associations. 

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BCPEF working with local high schools to rally alumni

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The Bradley Cleveland Public Education Foundation has been helping three local high schools — Bradley Central, Cleveland and Walker Valley — as they each establish or expand their alumni associations. 

Amanda Gouveia, alumni relations coordinator at the foundation, said it is looking to help the local schools by rallying more community support for them. To do this, the foundation is rallying the alumni. 

“We are looking at how we can support them and are here to guide the process as they begin to work on projects near and dear to them,” said Gouveia. “All three of the schools are so different and have different needs.” 

Gouveia has since last October been offering advisory help to each of the high schools as they get together and plan what they would like to do. 

The Cleveland High School Alumni Association was formed last year and completed its first major legacy project this fall — the CHS Alumni Walk, a paved walkway and park area with benches. 

Earlier this year, an alumni group was also began meeting at Bradley Central High School, said Gouveia. The BCPEF is also working to help Walker Valley High School start a group. 

Two of the high schools — Bradley Central and Cleveland — have alumni dating back at least 50 years. However, the alumni base at Walker Valley, which opened in 2001, skews younger and has not been as involved. Still, Gouveia said there has been “a good response” at each school. 

“All of the school administrators are really excited as well,” said Gouveia. “They are eager to see what these groups come up with and how they will affect the schools and the current student bodies.” 

Gouveia said some of the projects these groups are discussing are similar to the CHS Alumni Walk, in that they involve raising funds for particular needs on school property. However, there are also conversations about alumni taking part in mentoring programs and other activities which would affect the students themselves. 

David Beckler, one of the founding members of the Cleveland High School Alumni Association, said he has been excited to see the enthusiasm of his fellow alumni. He added he hopes the other two schools will end up with strong alumni groups. 

“I think it’s good for the schools — and for the community as a whole,” Beckler said. “It supports the schools and promotes education. It also helps people stay connected.” 

He added getting involved with an alumni group is about more than school spirit. Giving back to one’s alma mater helps the students “see the pride those who came before them had for giving back to the community,” said Beckler. 

Many people are used to seeing how colleges and universities encourage alumni to donate and get involved in alumni activities. Though it is not as common to see such groups on the high school level, local school leaders hope to see their alumni groups grow. 

“The bottom line is that the best way to build up a community is to build up the local schools, to pour into the students who will be leading in the future,” Gouveia said. “The alumni can help improve the public education systems in Cleveland and Bradley County.” 

For more information on the high school alumni groups or to express interest in joining them, contact Gouveia at 423-476-0034 or alumni@bcpef.org.

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