The Thomas Worthington High School Alumni Club is expanding its reach – and getting a new name.
The club is poised to launch a membership drive, starting with this year's graduates.
Per a decision made in June 2019, all new alumni are eligible to sign up with the organization, said T.K. Cellar, president of the club.
Previously, the club invited only graduates who were celebrating their 30-year anniversaries, said Cellar, a 1970 graduate and a former guidance counselor at the school.
"We just felt it was important to be more inclusive and bring more people in," he said.
Also, in a year or two, the club will add alumni from Worthington Kilbourne High School, which graduated its first class in 1992.
Because of logistical issues, the Kilbourne classes cannot be added before that time, said Niki Gnezda, secretary of the club, a 1969 graduate and former Worthington Schools teacher.
The group will be known officially as the Worthington High School Alumni Club after the new graduates are invited to join.
When Worthington Schools added Kilbourne High School in 1991, the original Worthington High School added Thomas to its name, Cellar said.
Yet only the current alumni group, run on a shoestring budget by volunteers, has taken on the task of rounding up alumni for the annual Memorial Day parade, homecoming football game and annual dinner in June, which is its only source of income, he said.
"We are the only alumni association in the school district, independent and volunteer-run," said John Snouffer, past president of the organization, a 1970 graduate and Gnezda's husband.
"There's not an alumni association for Kilbourne High School at all," Gnezda said.
In the future, all classes will be invited to mingle and participate in alumni activities, as long as they sign up and provide contact information at worthingtonhighschoolalumniclub.com, Snouffer said.
The alumni club has 5,000 members, who do not pay dues, he said.
The next objective is getting people to join, Cellar said.
Cellar said the hope is to bring in a representative from each class to track the whereabouts of fellow alumni.
Snouffer said the annual dinner has lost some patrons over the years, once being attended by 350 alumni with spouses but now numbering about 275 in attendance.
Gnezda said she looks forward to bridging the generation gap with other alumni.
"I have really enjoyed meeting people of different high school experiences and age groups," she said. "And our 50-year class at the (annual) dinner does a presentation to show what school was like in their era."