New Tecumseh Alumni Association to host homecoming kickoff Sept. 28
It’s been a long time in the making, but it is long overdue, according to the organizers of the newly founded Tecumseh Alumni Association (TAA). The TAA is still getting traction after its charter was established through the Tecumseh Schools Foundation with approval from the Tecumseh School Board in April.
The TAA is currently planning an informal introduction to the public at large with a celebration of the 147th year of public education in Tecumseh, which will take place at the Tecumseh High School Homecoming, Friday, Sept. 28, during the game against Dexter. There will not be an official ceremony to mark the occasion, but the TAA hopes to have a presence at the game. What that presence will be is still in the planning stage.
Two of the prime movers behind the founding of the TAA, Deb Lawson and Ray Schmidt, are hoping that area alumni will get behind the event in the short time remaining to plan the schools’ “birthday” celebration. The TAA will be meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 7 p.m. in the annex of the administrative services building, 212 N. Ottawa St., to decide on the details of the homecoming event. All alumni are invited, and there are no TAA dues and no required number of meetings to attend to maintain membership.
The concept of an alumni association is not new here or elsewhere. Alumni associations function to coordinate scholarship fundraisers, foster communication between grads, and, in the case of TAA, to help in the non-profit efforts of the Tecumseh Schools Foundation to advance education at all levels in the district schools through help to students and teachers.
“Everyone who ever went to Tecumseh schools is welcome to come and offer their ideas. We’re not planning anything too extravagant,” said Lawson, “just something to raise our profile a little bit more and let people know who we are and why we are here. We’re hoping to get the word out to alumni who would like to help organize an event that we want to be fun and informational.”
Lawson and Schmidt have been working behind the scenes for at least the past decade to bring the TAA into existence. The two co-chair the monthly meetings, but both maintain that there is really no hierarchy in the organization. “We kind of keep the ball rolling at the meetings,” said Schmidt, “but everyone gets their say, and we truly are looking for a cross-section of class representation at the meetings. We’re hoping to have representatives from classes who graduated five years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago, or whenever.”
Other mainstays who have featured prominently in the TAA in its infancy include Tom Hamilton, Kerry Hamilton Smith, and Jane Poczatec, along with members of the TSF board, many of whom are active in both organizations.
Few TAA members have worked as long as Lawson has to bring the alumni association into existence. She had been advocating for the organization for at least a decade. “An alumni association is something that will help the schools and the people who join,” Lawson said. “It’s a win-win for everyone. We want it to be both fun and useful. We’re planning a website that will help people find classmates, organize class reunions, and recognize grads who have marked milestones in their lives.”
“We’re really grateful to the Tecumseh Schools Foundation for their support of the alumni association,” said Schmidt. “I think we got their support because they saw the potential good that we can do to help raise money for student scholarships and grants for teachers. We’re here to serve as a clearinghouse for school information and to help educate local students for another 150 years.”
Schmidt said that one of the organization’s future goals is to establish a TPS Hall of Fame. “We want to eventually recognize some of our grads who have gone on to do great things, not just athletic achievements but things for the greater good of everyone. We’ve had great musicians and even ambassadors who have come from this school system, and we hope to give them all recognition. This is an opportunity for those of us who have benefited from the education we have received to give something back.”
In the meantime, the TAA hopes to start by throwing a good party at this month’s homecoming. “This will be our first big event,” said Lawson, “and we’re basically trying to generate more interest and awareness to help grow the TAA. This can be the beginning of something that can really do some good.”