Planning has begun for the 2020 Park Rapids All-School Reunion, and there's a new coordinator in charge.
Dave "Lefty" Anderson (Class of 1958) has turned the keys over to Connie Carmichael (Class of 1983).
"But he's guiding me through," Carmichael said. "I'm just getting started so I have lots to learn."
Anderson oversaw the 2010 and 2015 all-school reunions. The next one is slated for July 31 through Aug. 2, 2020. Registration will kick off Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 2nd Street Stage.
In the meantime, there's a heap of details to sort through - music, venues, parades, tours, speakers, to name a few. Carmichael has formed a 12-person committee to help organize the affair. More volunteers are welcome, especially as the date draws closer, she said.
The next committee meeting is 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 15 at the Park Rapids American Legion.
Anyone who attended or taught at Park Rapids Area High School is urged to join www.prhsreunion.com. Click "Contact us" to request free membership. Newer teachers are also asked to join.
"It's an email-based program. You have to have an email address," explained Anderson, the site administrator.
According to Anderson, there are currently 1,220 active members and 2,400 deceased members listed on the website "with pictures and obituaries, starting with 1899."
"So there's a lot of history on there," Carmichael said.
"Oh, that's what it's for," agreed Anderson.
History is what draws Carmichael to the website and her new role as all-school reunion coordinator. Both of her parents were born and raised in Park Rapids. Her mother graduated in 1962. At 16, her dad left town to join to the Navy. Carmichael and her sisters attended Park Rapids as well.
"I think that makes a difference when you have that invested history. It makes working on these projects that much more fulfilling," Carmichael said.
Two fundraisers are scheduled for the Friday before Thanksgiving in 2018 and 2019. Proceeds will help pay for school facility fees, tents, bands, tickets and buttons.
"The legion is a blessing because they don't charge," Anderson said.
The Hubbard County Historical Museum will host an ice cream social during reunion weekend.
Once again, there will be a bus tour of the city.
"I didn't think that would go over, but it was packed," Anderson said. "If they've never been back since they graduated, a lot of them have no idea what Park Rapids turned into."
Park Rapids used to be a one-stoplight town, Carmichael recalled.
"We had four drive-ins with bellhops when I was a junior in high school," Anderson said.
Carmichael said she loves to reminisce with the older generation "because I find that kind of history fascinating."
Anderson is attempting to collect yearbooks for the historical museum. He needs a Class of 1958 and others.
"Our oldest alumni is 1931," he said. Leona Larson Hansen lives at Heritage Living Center.
Keith Kraft is probably the oldest living teacher, Anderson said. "He started in 1952."
Organizing the reunion is a lot of work, but it's also a lot of fun, Anderson said. "When something like the parade or the flotilla worked, you just sit there and smile. It was awesome."
Dave Konshok (Class of 1944) and Rollie Bishop (Class of 1941) should be credited as founders of the all-school reunion, he noted, estimating the very first one was held in 1975 or 1980.
For more information or suggestions for the 2020 All-School Reunion, contact Carmichael at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-0086.