Recent Op-Eds

Legacy of All-School Reunions Continues

Senator John Thune

July 8, 2011

South Dakotans participate in many summer traditions that revolve around community and heritage. One such tradition celebrated with much fanfare is the all-school reunion. Although all-school reunions can be found throughout the country, South Dakota's reunions possess a unique sense of community and commitment to improvement for future generations.

Many towns and counties around the state have already celebrated their all-school reunions this summer, while others are still gearing up for their weekend of events. Graduates from various decades are returning to their home state from locations across the country to celebrate their South Dakota roots. This is a time to reminisce about school day memories, see old classmates and friends, and make new memories with fellow graduates and their families.

Not surprisingly, many of the all-school reunions also coincide with town anniversaries. Sporting events, band and choir concerts, and graduations are not just events for the school to revel in but for the entire town to commemorate and support throughout the years. The community support for our South Dakota schools does not just occur in ten-year intervals when a reunion is celebrated, but instead is ongoing in the lives of South Dakota citizens.

All-school reunions are not only a time to remember the past, but also a time to look to the future. Many of the reunions occurring throughout the state have implemented fundraising programs to help the schools purchase new equipment and improve their facilities. These fundraisers show South Dakota's commitment to ensuring that future generations will also have treasured memories from their school. Many of these South Dakota schools are also raising money to be awarded as scholarships for students of their alma mater.

My hometown of Murdo recently celebrated an all-school reunion. The celebration included Murdo High School and Jones County High School graduates from the classes of 1916 through 2011. The reunion was an opportunity for me to catch up with old friends, remember the glory days, and meet others who attended the school and cherished their time there as much as I did.

As the summer continues, I hope that all those who have an opportunity to attend their all-school reunions do so to help the legacy continue. Fellowship, scholarship, and stewardship for future generations are just a few of the principles that make South Dakota an outstanding place to live and nowhere are all of these principles more prevalent than at our all-school reunions.