History of the Association

 

ALBEMARLE HIGH SCHOOL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION

EARLY HISTORY

 Organizing the Albemarle High School Alumni Association has been time consuming but very rewarding.  I have been asked many times why I made the decision to tackle the job.  It was early 2008. I was in a meeting with Pam Moran, Superintendent of Albemarle County Schools, about obtaining approval to name the Albemarle High School road system Benjamin Hurt Drive.  (You can see the presentation on this website by going to menu item "Alumni Association and click on Alumni Honor Mr. Hurt.)

After we finished, Pam asked me, how would I go about raising funds for a school project?  My reply was, if the project would create interest of many people, I would organize an Alumni Association.  Pam got excited about the words and I could see it in her eyes.  I went home that day and could not get it out of my mind.  After much thought and discussions with my wife Heidi, I decided that it could do a lot of good and touch many AHS Alumni and Albemarle students in the future in positive ways and since it was tried in the 1980's and did not survive, if it was not accomplished now, it may never happen.  I committed to myself a year to get it started.  I phoned Mr. Ben Hurt who was principal for thirty years and Willie Raines who was principal for eleven years and Larry Lawwill principal for nine years to supply me with a list of graduates from their years that they thought may be interested in an Alumni Organization.  Mr. Hurt and Mr Raines did so and those names went on our first mailing list. Mr. Lawwill told me to go look at year books, which I did and included class officers.  Mr. Hurt and Willie Raines were happy to help and furnished me with a list of select students from each class during their years as principal.

We held our first meeting in the school media center on October 22, 2008.  Mr. and Mrs. Hurt, Principal Matt Haas and Albemarle County school board member Diantha McKeel were in attendance along with six Alumni.  This was after a mailing of five hundred and numerous emails and phone calls. Was I disappointed, you better believe it.  I guess it is good that I am stubborn and hard headed.  It made me more determined to succeed.     That was our beginning.  On December 2, 2008 we had our second meeting and we had three new people in attendance but everyone that was attending were interested and thought it was a good idea.  We had sent out another mailing of two hundred and fifty.  After receiving memberships in the mail from 1954 graduates, Ronnie and Pat Layne, I made a decision, people did not want to come to meetings, they just wanted to join.  I learned how to send more than one email at a time and starting emailing every AHS graduate in the Albemarle High School Alumni Directory with an attached membership signup form that they could mail in.  Those that did not have an email address or the email was undeliverable went on a mailing list.  By the end of December 2009 we had 75 members and had raised $3,005.00. In the spring of 2009, we wanted to present two scholarships at Senior Night.  Emails and letters with a scholarship donation form were sent to members. I also put out a notice to my newspaper customers.  We raised $1,320.00 for our Scholarship Fund of which $1,020.00 came from my customers.  Member Jamison Darden Botkin and I made two $500.00 scholarship presentations at Senior Night.  At the end of June 2009 we had 124 members and $4,950.00 and December 2009 140 members and $5,975.00.  We had a mailing in February and a large mailing of 4,945 in March that included graduates of 2005 through 2009 since we did not have email addresses for them.  In the spring of 2010 we solicited the members and my newspaper customers for donations for our scholarship fund.  We raised $2,570.00 and Charles Terry and I presented three $500.00 scholarships at Senior Night 2010.  By June 2010 we had 230 members and $9,940.00.  As of this writing, the day we launch our new web-site, November 17, 2010, we have 248 members and $11,120.00.  In addition we have raised a total of  $3,990.00 for our scholarship fund, presented five scholarships and have a balance of $1,490.00.  My long range goal is to have enough in the fund so that the investment income will pay for the scholarships each year.  It would be nice if the scholarships could be larger to help the students more as college educational cost continue to increase.    

 We have publicized the Alumni Association on Facebook, Classmates.com. Albemarle High School Alumni site (which is a commercial site and not the school) our AHS site and in Patriot Progress.  Now that we have our website and can accept on line payments, we can solicit financial support from the community for our Scholarship Fund or any other programs.

 So one year became two years, lots of mailings, lots of emails and lots of phone calls, I have made every effort to contact all (17,422) alumnus listed in the AHS Alumni Directory.  We did a mailing for classes 2005-2009 which makes the total 19,960 and are all listed on our website. The economy situation did not make it easy since we were and still are in a recession. 

 So now we are beginning year three and I am excited about our future.  With the new site we can reach so many more people and hopefully AHS Alumni will have a home that they can call their own.  For the first time, alumni can join and pay on line.  This website is not like others, it is funded by and operated by Albemarle High School Alumni Association volunteer supporting members.  We did the website work.  Stan Maupin had the know how or learned how and I had the information so we worked well together deciding what information to post and how to display. 

 I would say the two key words that have brought us to this point are commitment and dedication.  The support and encouragement by Pam Moran, Diantha McKeel, Mr. Hurt who joined at our first meeting, Matt Haas who spent hours with me discussing

 ideas when we were first getting started, and current principal Jay Thomas have meant so much to me.  The staff at the school has been so helpful, Sandy Allen helping me get out mailings, even taking them home and stuffing envelopes, Carolyn Herring doing our bookkeeping, Linda Applegate helping us to get class listings and labels for our mailings, Kim Dunaway who spent an evening with Jamison Botkin and I teaching us how to use the AHS site, Matt Titone getting our office set up and Cat Stanley getting us meeting space.  Member and board member Jamison Darden Botkin has been my right hand helper getting the school site set up and going and posting on Facebook and just putting up with me.  Stan Maupin has spent countless hours getting this website set up and operational.  Stan and I have become lunch buddies.

  My wife Heidi and our family who have put up with me, Heidi says her memory of me will be looking at my back working on the computer.  To all these people I am very appreciative and grateful. Thank you to all the Alumni who had enough faith or were willing to take a chance and join the Alumni Association. It takes some to root you on, some to be participate and some to roll up their sleeves and get in the ditch with you.  Thank you all, together we can make a difference.

 Charles "Connie" Crenshaw

Chairman - AHS Alumni Association

 



agape