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DEPUE — Small in size, but big in pride is just one way to describe DePue School, and its newly formed alumni association is hoping to grow the ‘Little Giants’ family.
DePue School community coordinator Anna McKee said different alumni have been talking about starting an association for a while so it was just a matter of when to run with it and who would take the initiative.
McKee said the school board picked up on the idea last July and she, as the school’s de facto public relations person, was approached to get the ball rolling. Science instructor Keith Garcia, a second generation DePue alumni, was named as president of the newly-formed club.
Garcia said last year’s boat races were the perfect place to start their membership drive since a lot of DePue grads use the boat races as an informal reunion/homecoming time.
“There are reunions for specific graduating classes,” said Garcia, “but there is also an open invitation for all classes to get together during the boat race weekend.”
“Part of our goal is to create a positive sense of community spirit for our recent alumni,” said McKee, “a spirit of volunteerism, of creating mentors.” Garcia agreed, saying the members want to serve a roll in building more traditions at DePue School.
So far, the momentum is building, with about 100 members already part of the association.
The group was able to fund a scholarship for two class of 2014 students, in part with a T-shirt drive sponsored by community businesses.
McKee said they will be out at the boat races again this year selling memorabilia such as shirts and mugs. They also will host an ice cream social at the lake shelter July 31 and plan on a class donation drive soon.
McKee said they have members scattered all throughout the country and hope to roll some of the officer positions out to those alumni living outside the community.
“It’s a challenge to get the younger alumni to be interested — they’re just leaving, starting their lives and careers so it’s harder to get them interested,” Garcia said.
McKee said one key benefit is that the association is free to join.
“There’s a lot of bad rap for these foundations that (members) will just be hammered for money, but that’s not how we’re running it.”
“You empower yourself with your commitment,” he said.
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