I have always enjoyed spending time in Corner where you will find great folks, great schools and a great community. It’s impressive to see a high school alumni group that is passionate about helping students 100 years after the association began and when I heard of how much was raised to be awarded in scholarships to Corner students this year by the group, I asked Brad Green, the CHS Alumni Association President and a 1999 graduate of Corner High to answer a few questions about the journey.
Tell us a little about the Corner High School Alumni Association.
The Association began in 1923. We cannot find any other high school alumni association in Alabama that has been around as long as we have. We have our banquet each year on the Saturday before the first Sunday in May. We raise money during the year an at the banquet to provide scholarships to our graduating seniors. We are a 501(c)(3) charity which allows donors to claim a tax deduction for their contributions. This year we will award 36 scholarships totaling $100,000, both the number and the amount of scholarships are an all-time record.
This is your 100th year. Wy do you think the CHS Alumni Association has stayed vibrant over a century and been so successful?
The countless hours volunteered over ten decades by the alumni members of the Association Executive Board who work throughout the year, every year to make the banquet and the accompanying scholarship program a success.
How have the amounts of scholarships awarded to CHS seniors grown over the years?
It started with just very small donations, basically passing the hat. Over time it grew into a formal program of raising money, forming a committee, creating applications. Several generous alums donated to the Association through their estates, and we were able to create a trust fund that provides annual funds that joins the yearly donations we raise.
How many members are there and how do you raise scholarship donations?
In terms of dues paying members, a core group of less than 150 regularly participate. An executive board of 9 members volunteers hundreds of hours each year in planning the banquet and other fundraising activities during each school year. Most of the money is raised each year by board members reaching out to alumni to encourage them to contribute.
You are giving away a record amount to seniors on May 6th. Give us some insight and how scholarships are awarded?
There is a Scholarship Committee headed by Ms. Barbara Chappel. The application process looks at a set criteria including test scores, GPA, an essay, along with consideration of awards and community service. The scholarship committee interviews every student who applies. However, the financial need of a student is the most important factor.
What plans do you have moving forward for the Alumni group?
We continue to focus on increasing participation of alumni, and new fundraising activities to supplement our trust fund. We are looking to continue to increase the amount of money we give in scholarships each year. Our goal is that no Corner High School graduate will ever miss the opportunity to go to college because of financial need.