’55 PHS graduate says he’d like to see more young people involved –
By Patricia Beech –
Remember school spirit?
That high-energy enthusiasm from days gone by when every local village had its own school, mascot, and call sign – We are the Panthers, the Eagles, the Rifles!
Back then, when students were graduated their loyalty to their schools didn’t dissipate, but was nurtured by community alumni members who encouraged involvement to keep school spirit alive.
Those days may have gone the way of bouffants, blazers, and boppin’ at the high school hop, but there still remains small pockets of resistance in the revolution against school spirit.
Dale Grooms, who graduated from Peebles High School in 1955, could definitely be considered a part of that resistance.
Sitting at a long table in Mel’s Diner on Main Street in Peebles, Grooms says he thinks people need to be more loyal to their schools and alumni organizations.
“It’s a shame the alumni turnout keeps dwindling every year, there’s less and less people, and when you look out across the crowd, they’re all our age,” he says. “Hardly any of the young people are there.”
Grooms’ loyalty to his school has kept him coming back for the yearly alumni celebration for 63 years.
“I graduated and went to the first one, so I thought I’d just see how many I could go to since I live here,” he says. “Ends up, I’ve gone to every one of them.”
To commemorate his years of perfect attendance at the annual PHS alumni dinner, members of the Alumni Committee on Wednesday, June 6 presented Grooms a plaque of recognition.
“Not many people can say they’ve supported the Alumni the way Dale has,” said Susie Robinson, a long-time member of the Alumni Committee. “He sets a good example for everyone else to follow.”
The 81 year-old Grooms says as the years go by, fewer and fewer of his classmates show up.
“Back when we started, several people in my class would go, but, it’s gone down, and this year we only had five show up,” he says. “I’d like to see more young people come to the dinner. I think the high school seniors should be required to go.”
While he has remained committed to faithfully attending his school’s alumni celebrations, he had a somewhat different view of education when he was a student.
“I’d miss school if I had a chance,” he admits. “I didn’t like English or Government, or any of those classes – my favorite subject was Agriculture.”
Not surprisingly, Grooms chose to go into farming and later became an active member in the local Grange organization. He and his wife Glenna now host the annual Draft Horse Days festival on their farm in the Fawcett area during the last weekend of September.
“I don’t know where the years have gone,” he says, pulling a watch and chain from his pocket. “My grand-dad was a jeweler so when I graduated they asked me what gift I wanted, and I said a pocket watch.”
“This was my graduation gift,” he says. “I’ve it carried it for 63 years.”