Shaw Alumni Weekend and the efforts of the alumni association
The Shaw High School Alumni Association recently hosted Alumni Weekend, currently in its 13th year. Each year, multiple celebrations take place revolving around the event. The event takes several months to plan creating a great turnout for the community. This year, the event began with a pre-weekend engagement, held on Thursday, Aug. 29 at Jackie’s Party Center. Next, was Party With a Purpose, Friday Aug., 30, at The Patrician with proceeds going to Shaw High School students. Then the Gospelfest, Saturday, Aug. 31, co-sponsored with Northeast Ohio Alliance for Hope. Lastly, was the Family Picnic, Sunday Sept. 1, held at Forest Hills Park. East Cleveland turns into one giant block party as natives gather to reminisce and reunite. Through the efforts of the alumni association, East Clevelanders can rally together embracing the past and cultivating the future.
This massive event started as a scholarship event located at Tucker’s according to Kathy Grant, president of the association and a graduate of the class of 1977. The association is a non-profit organization, created 13 years ago, whose mission is being dedicated to contributing to the further development of the academic, cultural, physical, social and athletic attributes of past and future alumni of Shaw High School. Grant has been president of the association for six years and coordinator of the alumni weekend since its origin. The original five members met at a local McDonald’s with a goal of forming a union to give back to the students at Shaw High School. The current committee meets monthly with graduates, starting with the class of 1970, and has 20 members that work with the community while helping the students and alumni make a difference. “[Many] of the Shaw Alumni have moved out of Cleveland,” said Grant. “This gives them a time to come back to where they started. This is their roots.”
The association has collected awarded close to $50,000 to scholarships for the East Cleveland City students.“We aim to honor the requests we receive from the school,” added Grant. One of their generous donations included giving to the marching band, directed by Donshon Wilson, for their 2008 trip to China. “If nothing else, we will feed the kids on the trip, we will buy them dinner,” said Grant. The association has also donated uniforms for the track team and fed the football team prior to one of their games. Recently, the group began aiding Shaw High School graduates who are currently in college and hosts a youth summit in October where they offer breakfast and lunch, teaching classes such as literacy and finance. “We try to provide guidance in career planning, dressing for success and resume writing,” said Grant. “We like to give back in ways that [students] might not get at school.”
The four-day alumni weekend event reunites classmates and raises money for a great cause. Not only that, but it also gives the city a chance to celebrate multiple generations and a community of family. The alumni association is always planning ways to benefit East Cleveland and its members. Alumni Weekend is just one of the many ways they have contributed to the growth of the neighborhood.