President's Annual Report to the Association
September 2004
To the Board of Directors and Membership SCS Alumni Association

I am proud to report that the State of the Association remains strong and dedicated to the realization of our commitments, aspirations and established purposes of Alumni, School and Community.

Over the last year, the Association has gained in stature and reputation through its activities and accomplishments. Several of the accomplishments were dramatic and historic in nature and others were more subtle but none the less important. This was a year that produced tangible results. This was a year of remarkable progress in moving forward our agenda. This was a year where several major initiatives reached their culmination.

Some of highlights and notable accomplishments of the year included:

Each of these accomplishments was significant to the Association's goals and purposes and will receive further elaboration later in this report.

Core Activities

Each year I discuss in this report the status of what we identify as the Core Activities of the Association. These are the activities that were created at the initial stages of the Association that we recognized as essential to support and advance the fundamental purposes of the Association which are creating communication link among the Alumni Community and create opportunities for Alumni to get together. These are the activities that have the strongest commitment of the Association and the devotion of the greatest share of our time and resources. These are the activities that we consider prime to the being of the Association and will not be sacrificed for any other cause of the Association. These are the activities that represent the heart and soul of the Association.

The activities that are considered Core Activities are:

It is quite possible as the " Sports Hall of Fame " and "Alumni Wall of Fame evolve and flourish they could ultimately achieve the status as a Core Activity.


"Reflections" enjoyed another successful year. Two issues, a fall 2003 and a spring 2004, were published and mailed to over 4,000 Alumni listed on the mailing roster. "Reflections continued to grow in popularity and as a result each issue was expanded to 20 pages. Due to available finances the Board approved to continue to sending "Reflections" to the entire mailing roster but giving preference to paid members by sending it to them by first class mail. It is not certain how long this arrangement will continue. Because of the considerable strain being placed on our time and resources as a result of an escalation in the publication and mailing cost and the time and effort involved in producing each issue, the debate among the Board to distribute "Reflections" to paid members only has resurrected. As I had stated in the past, I think this would be unfortunate and somewhat defeat the goal of the organization; to serve as a voice and forum for the entire Alumni Community. However the toll that it is taking on our financial and human resources must be considered. The same group of individuals continue to carry the entire burden and this been a cause of serious concern to me and should be to the entire Association. We need numerous talented volunteers to accept the challenge and step forward and get involved so they could be primed to ultimately assume the responsibilities of reporter, editoi and publisher. It is critical to devise a continuity plan during this next year to prepare for the contingency when this current group become unable to continue or else we could find ourselves facing silent presses.

As respect the financial considerations that need to be addressed, a proposal will be made to the Board at the September 11th meeting, to conduct a referendum of the membership and opinion survey of the readership in general to gauge their positions on who should be receiving "Reflections" so that the Board can engage in serious debate.

'Alumni Reunion Weekend'

This was another banner year for Alumni Weekend and another financial success. As has been the case over the last 5 years, this years Alumni Weekend built on the successes of the past years and become the most successful ever. Record attendance punctuated the Weekend events with representatives from the Class of 1928 - 2004 participating. The ever popular Alumni golf tournament was one of the most successful events of the Weekend and warrants special recognition in this report because of a change incorporated into the format that amplified the stated purpose of Alumni Weekend; to create a bond among alumni from all generations. This year's tournament altered its format with an Awards Banquet for all the participants and guests at the conclusion of the Tournament. This change in format was designed so the entire group could share the spirit of the occasion and capture the spirit of Alumni Weekend as a group.. The change most definitely achieved its purpose with a record 112 golfers participating in tournament and 130 golfers and guests attending the Awards Banquet. The golf tournament is our prime source of funds for our Scholarship Fund and the success of this year's event will enhance our ability to expand our scholarship program. As I look back over the last 6 years, the growth and magnitude of Alumni Weekend is nothing short of remarkable. What started out as a two activity event now encompasses over fifteen, each meticulously created by the planers to advance the purposes of the organization. Be sure to check out the fall issue of "Reflections and the website for all the Highlights of the Weekend.

One last matter that deserves comment regarding Alumni Weekend pertains to the change in venue for the Sunday All Class Luncheon. This year the Luncheon returned back to the Fire Department Training Center and Garage due to some unresolved labor issues that rendered the use of the High School Transportation Center cost prohibitive. Although I strongly believe that the appropriate place to hold this event is in School Facility so as to maintain a connection between Alumni and School and further contend that the Transportation Center has been an excellent venue for the Luncheon, I applaud the Fire Department for rising to the occasion in devising a plan to accommodate our needs on such short notice. They did an excellent job and deserve our thanks. Alumni Weekend has become one of the largest and most anticipated Community events of the year as evident by the numerous articles and editorials that appeared in the local media. This status is gratifying to the Association because it serves as a testimony that the founding purpose of making a contribution to the vitality of the Community is being realized. Again I can't emphasize enough that Alumni Weekend would not have happened without the dedication and passion and extraordinary efforts of a small group of volunteers who worked tirelessly to create this event. A group of volunteers that I might add have been stretched to their limits. The comments about creating continuity plan for "Reflections holds equally true for Alumni Weekend. Just imagine the third weekend of July with out Alumni Weekend. Everyone will loose.

'Alumni Website ( )'

The fact that the website has had almost 20,000 visitors since its inception is a testament to its popularity and value as an effective resource. I consider our website the best of its kind in the country. This is not only my opinion but the opinion of many unrelated to the Association who have had the opportunity to visit it. Tremendous efforts have been taking to continually improve the site and to respond to the suggestions and ideas of the users. Last year I mentioned in my annual report that because of the number of inquires for information that I suspected that many of the users were not aware of all the features of the site. To correct this situation the site was reformatted during the last year to facilitate navigation and make it easier to locate the information desired. It was also discovered that many who encountered problems in locating information on the website were actually on the WRONG website. They had mistakenly ended up on the Sidney School District's site. To avoid this confusion in the future we are working with the School District to create a prominent link to our site. Also to improve usage, an extensive promotional effort was undertaken. I have taken every available opportunity I get to focus the attention of the Alumni Community to the wealth of the information available on the website. So I again I take this opportunity of the annual report to remind the membership that this website is more than just a message board or a listing of Alumni events which it is, but there is much , much more. The highlights both written and photographic of every Alumni event, complete Class Directories and the official documents of the Association can be found on the website. So take the opportunity to check it's been posted there too. Members are being asked to let us know if they are unable to find desired information. We are prepared based on the response to correct the situation if at all possible. It is not my normal style to single out any one individual but without the talents and commitment of Ray Taylor '55 the website would not continue to exist. The Association would not have the funds to hire a consultant to perform the services that Ray performs on a volunteer basis. Just like the circumstances with "Reflections" and Alumni Weekend it is a situation where we have no person in line to take over the role of Webmaster. This is a dangerous situation and steps must be initiated to correct it.

The current and future well being of the Association can be best measured and predicated by

I have addressed my comments below to these matters to give you a sense of where the Association stands now and our ability to position our self for the future.


Last year at the time of the annual report our paid membership was at 679, a respectable 75% increase from the 400 paid members from the prior year but still considerably short of our goal of 800. This past year we re committed to the goal to double paid membership and issued an appeal to the Alumni Community through numerous articles and broadcasts to respond to this challenge. This year the current paid membership at the time of this report is 850. While it represents a 25% increase, it is still way short of our goal and 50% below last years growth. I think the increase in membership this year is directly attributed to our success in reminding paid members to renew their membership. The number of new members is below our expectations and is a continued disappointment to me. Again, I state my total lack of understanding for this complacency. It is hard for me to imagine that the Association only appeals to 20% of the Alumni eligible for membership. Either we are naive or our efforts have been misdirected. However on a positive note progress was made. This is the second straight year that Association dues were able to fund our core activities thereby reducing our dependency on outside fund raising. The results from this year have only intensified my resolve to find a solution to this dilemma. The membership committee has already risen to the challenge and has designed a new membership campaign to be unveiled at the Board of Directors meeting on September 11th. This campaign will represent a more explicit and direct approach in requesting the Alumni to join this worthy organization. I hope that the membership report to be more positive and upbeat this time next year. It is our sincere to commitment to prevail. The future of the organization depends on it.

'Financial Condition'

As of this report the financial condition of the Association is strong and growing. Our budget estimates were more than right on target. The budget submitted for last year estimated receipts at $30,450 and corresponding expenses at $28,214.54. The actual results for the year generated receipts of $30,475.60 and expenses of $25,382.52.. This represented a 135% increase in net earnings over projections. I think the Association did an excellent job in managing the budget and want too compliment everyone involved. As a result our fund balance has increased 43% from the same term last year. We currently have a fund balance of $15,885 compared to $11,040.19 for the same period in 2003. What this means is the Association was able to conduct all the activities with funds generated from operations without having to reach into our surplus. This surplus could not have been achieved without the additional fund raising efforts. Therefore our ability to create a surplus is still too dependent on additional fund raising activities independent of our dues, such as the special auction, place mat sales, 50/50 raffles & golf sponsors. This makes it more imperative for the Association to be able to fund the core activities through membership dues. Because if it ever becomes necessary to cover this cost through surplus the other activities that rely on the secondary fund raising such as the Scholarship funds or donations to the School will suffer. Bottom line; the Association conducted the operations of the Association this year within budget but there is no guaranteed how long this be sustained. Copies of the Financial Statement is being distributed to the Board and will be posted on the Website.

Volunteer Force

At present, I cam proudly say that the Association has the most dedicated, committed, creative and hard working group of volunteers that an organization could ever expect The volunteer force currently consists of about 25-30 alumni and many of these volunteers have been with the Association from inception. This group has been totally responsible for the creation, planning, organizing and implementing all the activities and events of the Association. It is primarily this same group who are responsible for all the accomplishments and milestones of the organization achieved to date as enumerated in this and prior annual reports. They are a strong and passionate group but after 5 years are becoming stretched to their limits which is a major concern to me and for the continued success of the Association. Just imagine, that without this group of individuals there would be no Alumni Weekend, no "Reflections", no website, no Sports Hall of Fame , no scholarships, NO Association. While there have been a few who have embraced the vision and worthiness of Association and answered the call to volunteer, we have fell short of the mark in this regard. Two such individuals, joined the organization on the Board of Directors this past year; Dr Jon DeTemple '61 current President of Teikyo Post college and Gary Scavo, former Sidney Principle. We are gratified to have such talented individuals join the group but this is not good enough. We need to improve our efforts in this area. This will be an area of major concentration for the Board over the next year. But to all the membership; do not wait to be called, I encourage you to step forward now and answer the call for help.

As mentioned in the introduction of this report, this was a year of progress and tangible results. Further elaborations of the accomplishments are presented below:

"Alumni Sports Hall of Fame"

In last years annual message I reported that preparations were underway to stage the first annual " Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. This past Thanksgiving Weekend the vision for the "Hall of Fame became a reality. This represented the tangible results of the vision of the Board of Director and the extraordinary efforts of the "Hall of Fame " Committee to produce one of the most moving and memorable events ever produced by this Association. The purpose of this event was to recognize the tradition of sports excellence at Sidney Schools and honor those students and coaches who made a significant contribution to this tradition. This was a momentous occasion and a major milestone of the Association. This event not only served to honor the inductees but $2,000 was raised from the proceeds to benefit the Sidney High School Athletic Department. The funds from this donation were dedicated to the purchase of electronic chalking equipment for the Athletic Fields. This year's inductees have already been selected and will be hinored at a ceremony on Friday November 26th but beginning in 2005 the Committee will be accepting nominations from the membership.

"Alumni Field"

A letter from the Presdent was sent to the Sidney Board of Education on behalf of the Association proposing that the New Athletic field be named "Alumni Field" It was the position of the Association that this would be a fitting tribute to all the former classes of the Sidney Schools who were instrumental in creating a tradition of Athletic excellence and accomplishments. The exciting news is that our proposal was approved by the Board of Education. A sign reflecting the new name will have to be purchased and has been suggested that the proceeds from this years Sports Hall of Fame be designated for this purpose. A formal recommendation by the "Hall of Fame" Committee will be presented to the Board at the September 11th meeting. This is another major milestone for the Association and reflects our gain in stature as an organization.

"Wall of Fame of Distinguished Alumni and Educators"

The Wall of Fame was originally conceived to recognize Alumni and Faculty who have distinguished in many fields of endeavor. Last year I reported that the Board made a decision to separate the Wall into two divisions; a "Sports Hall of Fame" and a Wall for Distinguished Alumni and Educators. As the "Sports Hall of Fame" moved ahead the "Wall of Fame" lingered behind. With the target date of the 2005 Annual Luncheon for the unveiling fast approaching with no substantial progress being made, it appeared that "Wall of Fame "announcement would have to delayed for another year. However in one last disparate effort the challenge was made at the March Board meeting to move this project forward. Doug Sheldon"59 accepted the challenge and in one of the most amazing displays of focus and tenacity, Doug and his committee not only moved the process forward but brought it to culmination. In less than three short months the nomination criteria was established, the nominating petition created and a promotional article prepared and published in the spring issue of "Reflections. The "Wall of Fame" was formally adopted by the Board at the June 2004 Directors Meeting. This is a prime example of the passion and dedication of the core group of volunteers described above. The official "Wall of Fame" unveiling was made during an address to the membership presented by Doug at the July Alumni Luncheon and the application and criteria have been posted on the Website. The "Wall of Fame" committee will be accepting applications through January 2005 and the first "Wall of Fame' Class will be inducted in a ceremony at the 2005 Annual Luncheon. Again, I am reluctant to single any one person out but this became one of the most extraordinary achievements of the year. An extensive publicly campaign is being planned to create a broad awareness of the "Wall of Fame" among the Alumni Community which will be presented at the September 11th Board Meeting.

501 (c) (3) Status

This past year the Association received notice from the IRS approving our 501( c) (3) tax exempt status. A copy of the designation and tax exempt ID # can be found on the Alumni Website. This is one of the subtle accomplishments that I mentioned above but none the less important. This is the culmination of almost two years of hard work on the part of the Finance Committee. Now that contributions to the Association are tax deductible, we are in a better position to attract donations for our larger projects such as the Pleasant Street School.

Other Committee Activities

Since most of the projects and initiatives of the Association are organized through the various Committees , this section of the report is presented to summarize the activities and accomplishments of the committees that were not highlighted above:

Pleasant Street School Advisory Committee

The efforts of this committee can be best described as persistent and frustrating and a constant roller coaster ride. Last year a new sense of optimism was instilled when contact was made with the new owner of the Pleasant Street School Property after our negotiations with the prior owner were brought to an abrupt halt when he placed it for sale on e-bay. Since that time, the Committee met several times with the new owner and achieved an understanding with him for the Alumni Association to be involved with the project, once it became apparent to the him that the project was far beyond his financial means. We agreed in principal to accept the transfer of the property to the Association subject to an investigative survey as to the condition of the building, an environmental study and cost estimates for the preservation - of the building. We engaged an attorney to draft an agreement and met with the owner to review the terms. After several attempts to come to an agreement the owner withdrew from the negotiations because he objected to the time involved to complete this process and the fact that we would not give him any guarantees to accept the property if the study was unfavorable. He was convinced in his mind that he could find a buyer who would purchase it "as is" without going through the investigation step. Well after several months of apparently no offers the owner has expressed an interest to meet with us to give us approval for at least the first stage of the investigative process. In anticipation of a change of heart by the owner, the Association had already launched a fund raising campaign to cover the costs of the due diligence process and has received pledges for almost $5,000 to date including a $1,000 check from a BG graduate who has a sentimental attachment to the building. We are more optimistic than we were several months ago and hope to report favorable progress in the fall issue of "Reflections" Any Alumni who is interested in making a donation but did not receive a letter is asked to contact myself or Ron Wischhussn. This campaign has targeted those Alumni who are in a position to make a target $1,000 donation and/or who are able to benefit from the tax deduction. However smaller donations would be accepted and will be appreciated. We remain committed to our vision of giving this building "ONE LAST CHANCE".

Alumni Center

Last year, I announced that the Association had located a permanent facility in room 319 at the Sidney Civic Center (Old High School) to serve as the alumni meeting room, information center, office and to house the achieves and records of the Association. This is now known as Alumni Center. During the last year significant progress was made to transform this into the facility we envisioned. Tom O'Neil who retired from his law practice made a generous donation of a conference table and chairs. Alumni Center has become the administrative hub of the Association. To support our efforts we had budgeted for a new computer system and cable Internet access which was purchased and installed during the last year. Tremendous progress was made in the archiving process and we have compiled an impressive collection of Alumni memorabilia and photos. A debt of gratitude belongs to Bonnie Curtis and her committee for all the hard work.

Alumni Store Sub-Committee:

One of the unresolved issues submitted in our strategic plan from last year was how to approach the vendor issue. Because of the complications in appointing vendors we had suspended the sale of Alumni Products. Therefore it was decided to adopt the option for the Association to sell products on a direct limited basis. Towards that end I directed the establishment of a special "Alumni Store" sub-committee. The purpose of the Committee is to:

In the initial stage, products will only be purchased for special events until the Association is able to afford an inventory. Once an inventory is created we will then be able to reinstitute the Alumni Store on-line. Karen 'Cycon' Dermody has volunteered to serve as Chairperson of this committee and will be appointed at the Board meeting.

School Relations Committee:

The purpose of this committee is to concentrate developing and maintaining the Association's relationship with the School which is one of the major components in our vision of the Association and symbolized by our logo.

The principal activities and initiatives of this committee during the last year were:

There are still several initiatives that remain in the planning stage and we need volunteers to champion their cause. These are:

Community Relations Committee

We have continued membership in the Sidney Chamber of Commerce and attend the meetings as regular as possible. One of the goals in the future is to expand our involvement in the Chamber and to create initiatives that strengthen our relationship with the Community. We did work closely with the business community and members of the Chamber in the promotion of Alumni Weekend and we hope to expand this relationship. One goal as we look ahead is to take a more active position with Visions 21 to give us a voice in the future of the area.

Final Comments

Looking back over the past 5 years, it is astounding how far the Association has progressed as an organization. It amazes me just how much has been achieved in such a short period of time by so few with so little. In referring back to previous annual message I can proudly report that we have fulfilled all our commitments made to the Association, executed the strategic plan and never deviated from the principals of the organization. The Association is living up to its founding purposes and has become a source of pride for Alumni, School and Community and this is the way it must remain.

In prior annual messages we committed to:

The list of accomplishments go on.
There is still much to do and some initiatives that still remained unclaimed:

  • Creating local chapters
  • Participating at Graduation
  • Initiating joint initiatives with Vision 21, Chamber of Commerce and other community organizations
  • Creating an Alumni job exchange and Alumni Career Day
The Future

I think it should be apparent by now the demands and attention to detail required in directing the functions of the Association. I think it should have become apparent that the theme of this message was our limited human and financial resources. The Association is faced with a paradox. Our capacity to grow is diminished by our growth. This the major challenge to the Association. We must find ways to expand our membership and find capable volunteers among our members who share the passion and commitment. We have arrived at a crossroads. We no longer have the financial and human resources to sustain the growth and achieve what has been achieved to date. If we fail everything that has been accomplished it will dissolve and everything we hope to accomplish will never have a chance.

The Board of Directors and Officers are prepared to do their part. The top priority at the Board of Directors meeting in September will be to develop a continuity and perpetuation plan for the recruitment of new members and volunteers. A search committee will be formed and new membership campaign will be unveiled to support this very important goal.

So to the membership: What are your plans to meet this challenge? The future of the Association is depending on you. We MUST and WILL prevail.

Respectfully submitted,
Terry Dermody `65