President's Annual Report to the Association
July 2002
To the Board of Directors and Membership SCS Alumni Association

I am pleased to report that the State of the Association is sound and well positioned to continue to pursue the founding purposes of the organization and accept the challenges of the future. As stated in the President's column of the Fall 2001 issue of "Reflections", our Association has "Come of Age", which has given me a sense of confidence and optimism that the future of the Association is bright and our direction is on course and consistent with our vision.

This was a year of milestones and significant accomplishments.

Several major milestones were reached during 2001-2002 which has enhanced the ability of the Association to pursue its purposes and goals which included:

These milestones have served to give the association a permanent status and a means to provide for its continuity and perpetuation. They have also served to sanction the Association as the official representative of the alumni community and a recognized Community Organization.

The newly formed structure provided the means for the Executive Officers to create a strategic plan for the future and harness the collective energies and talents of the various committees to execute this plan under the guidance of the Board of Directors. The plan was ambitious and while time would not allow all the objectives to be achieved, the year 2001-02 saw some significant accomplishments.

  • Strengthened the relationship with the Community the Association and became an active member in the Sidney Chamber of Commerce
  • To expand the Communication link with the membership, a webmaster was appointed and the services and features of the website enhanced. The success of the website is evident by the fact we have had over 12,000 hits to the site. This site has become source of pride to the entire association.
  • As mentioned above, through the efforts of the Finance Committee, the Association achieved Non-profit incorporation status.
  • The financial position of the association was strengthened by adjusting the dues structure to $10 after conducting a survey of the membership and consulting with other similar organizations.
  • Began to preserve the history of the Association - various association documents and articles were compiled and archived
  • To promote awareness of the association and its events and activities numerous articles were published in the local media and a promotional commercial was produced and aired on WCDO radio.
  • To verify the accuracy of our mailing roster in preparation for the publication of an alumni directory, a return mailing campaign was undertaken.
  • The scholarship fund was expanded and the Alumni Association awarded four $250 scholarships to deserving 2002 Sidney High School graduates.
  • To supplement the financial requirements of the Association and expand our visibility with the Community, additional fund raising activities were inaugurated in 2001-02:

- Alumni auction which raised over $3,000 at Alumni Weekend 2001
- the sale of advertising on the Luncheon placemats
- the sale of alumni candy bars
- sale of advertising for the Alumni golf tournament

  • To recognize outstanding achievements in different disciplines by alumni, the Wall of Fame Committee was formed and made significant progress in establishing the selection criteria

Over the last year, the organization continued to concentrate a majority of its time & attention on the core activities of the Association which were designed to create a communication link among alumni and create opportunities for Alumni to get together.

These activities are:

  • The publication of "Reflections": Reflections continues to remains the heart & soul of the Association and judging from the response from the members, the most popular of our services. It still serves as the primary focal point for channeling ideas and suggestions of the alumni. The Association Board made a decision to continue sending reflections to the entire mailing roster as long as funds permit. Currently " Reflections" is mailed to about 4,000 Alumni. It was decided to send "Reflections" by first class mail to out of area paid members. Publishing "Reflections" has become almost a full time job for the editor and the limited number of volunteers, which causes me considerable concern. . One of the top priorities for this coming year will have to be intensifying recruiting efforts to attract additional volunteers to work on the newsletter to support this important endeavor of the Association.

  • Annual Alumni Weekend: Each year this event continues to grow and Alumni Weekend 2001 was no exception with another record attendance . Over 800 alumni participated in the Weekend festivities with 325 attending the Alumni luncheon. The success and popularity of the celebration was evident from the number of classes represented. Members from over 35 classes attended one of the activities from the Class of '24 to the Class of 2001. This activity embodies one of the fundamental purposes of the association by attracting alumni from all eras and provides an opportunity to bridge the generation gap in a social setting and an opportunity for alumni of all ages and background to share the common experience of growing up in Sidney and attending Sidney schools. This has become a pre-eminent Celebration of Alumni, School & Community and has played a major role in maintaining the vitality of the Sidney Community. This event is the result of the hard work, creativity and dedication of a committee of about 25 alumni volunteers which meet monthly throughout the year planning and organizing the activities. Each year the Committee has been able to add a few new volunteers from the classes who are celebrating their anniversary reunion. This was also true in 2001 & 2002 . Another top priority of the Association is to continue to recruit new volunteers to insure its survival as a viable activity.

  • Alumni Website: In the fall of 2000, Ray Taylor '55 volunteered to serve as webmaster. This allowed the association to develop the website in a format envisioned by its creators and provided an additional communication link for the benefit of the alumni users. Ray assisted in a campaign to raise additional development funds which resulted in contributions of over $1,000 from the alumni Community. Ray redesigned the website and added new features including an alumni directory, photo gallery, calendar of events, "Reflections" archive, alumni store and membership & events registration applications. In addition the website was configured to conduct alumni surveys and to allow alumni to cast their votes in the annual elections. The website has received high praise from the alumni community and non alumni alike from around the country. It has become the means for instant communication among the organization. It is on a level with any professionally designed website and is one of only a handful of High School websites in the country.

  • Financial Condition of the Association: Financially the Association is presently on solid ground. We realized a significant increase in our cash balance as compared to the same period last year. While an exact comparison is difficult to construct, our cash position last year at this time was approximately $1,500, compared to $5,500 for the same period this year. This growth in the finances allowed the Association to undertake some important projects such as Incorporation, increasing the scholarship fund , purchasing insurance, joining the Chamber of Commerce, producing a promotional commercial, the return mailing project and continuing to distribute "Reflections to the entire mailing roster. However the majority of this financial growth was attributed to additional fund raising activities as described above and not from membership dues. It should be noted that the funds derived from membership dues in 2001-02 would not have been sufficient to support the cost of publishing the two issues of the newsletter and mailing it to the entire roster. Relying too heavily on fund raising activities presents a danger to the long term financial health of the organization. It is critical that the basic operations of the Association are supported by funds derived from membership dues in order to continue to provide for the primary functions of the Association. The Association, by raising the dues to $10 commencing in 2002-03, took a very important step towards this goal. From a budget standpoint, the association, stayed within plan for the 2001-02 fiscal year.

  • Membership: Paid membership in the Association realized minimal growth in 2001-02 based on our best estimates. While the exact total is difficult to calculate due to the fact that we extended the term of membership beyond the normal term to July 2002 for those who had paid their dues after January 1, 2001. We currently have approximately 400 paid members in the Association which represents only about 10% of the alumni listed on our mailing roster. I am disappointed by this situation and I am committed to the goal of at least doubling the paid members in 2002-03. This would be consistent with our objective to become less reliant on funds derived from our fund raising activities.

Overall, I am very proud and gratified by our accomplishments and 2001-02 was a year that the Association "Came of Age". I am especially proud of those who have served on the Board and all the Committee volunteers who have exhibited the passion, dedication and commitment to the purposes of Association. You have my admiration and respect.

The next question facing the Association is where do we go from here? As I have stated numerous times before, the vision for the future is bright and potentially unlimited . The only limitation is our ambition and creativity. My vision for the future of the Association absolutely includes our major focus to be on the core activities of the Association by expanding and improving these activities and maintaining the standards of excellence we have achieved. Beyond that I see the Association becoming more deeply involved with the Community and Community organizations; undertaking joint initiatives for the benefit and improvement of the Community such as Vision 21, the Chamber of Commerce, the Historical Association, Senior Organizations and the Village itself. One project I would love to see the Association become involved with is helping to save the Pleasant Street School. I see the Association expanding its involvement with the School. I envision an alumni Day at the School to create a link between the Alumni and Students. I see an Alumni Career Day, an Alumni job bank for alumni and graduating students.

From the alumni side, I see the organization creating new ideas to expand the membership and services to benefit the Alumni Community. I see additional social events and the creation of regional chapters of the Association. I see a permanent location for the association to conduct business and serve as an alumni museum and information center.

As we move forward and formulate the vision for the future of the Association, it is my fervent hope that we never deviate from the founding purposes as stated in our bylaws and thereby become an organization that we would not recognize and never intended to be. It is important to remember who and what we are as an Association. It is absolutely imperative in my mind that every activity and involvement of the Association is consistent with the purposes of Alumni, School and Community. Further it is my hope that those who direct the Association into the future embrace the purposes and share the same vision and passion for the Association. The vision of the Association that I embrace and passionately endorse can best summed up by paraphrasing the words of Board Member Doug Sheldon from his candidates profile "the Association activities are enabling SCS alumni to recapture signal friendships and memories and events in our lives in a meaningful way and that it is enabling the community of Sidney to assume a different dimension in its identity by merging lives and activities of the past, recent and future generations." The alumni weekend as it now exists is socially, emotionally and a way spiritually regenerating us in the rediscovery of our roots. If, then the Association's outreach adds greater benefit to our "home town" in the matter of expanded business in the community, expanded pride in the community and expanded support of the school system we are then involved in a truly, exciting rewarding and worthwhile contribution to the lives of others,  giving back to the Community that made our lives possible.

These words reflect the very essence of the Association; Alumni, School & Community and should always resonate deep in our hearts.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry Dermody '65