President's Annual Report to the Association
September 2007
To the Board of Directors and Membership SCS Alumni Association

The second quarter is traditionally the most active period of the Association and this past quarter has been no exception. This is the period of time that the planning process for most of the Association's key activities is at its peak. This is period of time when our resources are stretched to the maximum with our volunteers engaged in several activities simultaneously. This was further compounded this year by the date for the Sports Hall of Fame Induction being moved forward, by the addition of a Homecoming event to the mix of our activities and the assumption of several major new initiatives which had approaching deadlines.

The prime efforts of the Association this past quarter were devoted to:

  1. The Publication of the May issue of Reflections
  2. Organizing Alumni Reunion Weekend 2007
  3. Completing "Wall of Fame" preparations
  4. Finalizing the Alumni Directory Project
  5. Creating a promotional campaign for raffling the Newport Beach Property
  6. Initiating plans for Homecoming Weekend and the "Sports Hall of Fame"

Tremendous progress was achieved in bringing all these activities to fruition. I will defer the specific details involved to the respective committee reports to be presented at this meeting. I will be commenting on the status of the Directory Project and the Raffle later in this report. It should not go unnoticed however that juggling all these responsibilities was a major task and I want to commend all the committee members and volunteers for their extraordinary efforts.

Directory Project:

Alumni Research delivered the proofs for the Info Section of the Directory for our review and editing. They did an excellent job and I am sure the Board will be pleased. They included photos from the yearbooks we provided covering the eras from the 1930's through the 2000's. There was also a pictorial from past Alumni Weekends. They captured the essence of the Association and our High School days in their pictorials. I was very impressed. I will be circulating a copy of the Directory cover and Table of Contents for your review. The directory was scheduled to go to the printers this past week and will meet the scheduled end of July release date and could possibly be available for Alumni Weekend.

This year completes our 7th year as a formal organization. The progress over the past seven years has been astounding. In reflection, there seems to be a common theme to the success and advancement of the Association. This common theme rooted in the development of the Association, is "true to purpose" Since its inauguration in 1998, the entire energies of the Association have been concentrated on the pursuit of the founding purposes of creating opportunities for alumni to maintain strong bonds and foster relationships with each other, promote activities and create a link between Alumni, School and Community. At each stage in the development, the Board of Directors set goals, and created initiatives which were directed solely at achieving these purposes. The biggest challenge each year for the Association in its endeavors is to be able to maintain the standard of excellence and to make sure all our activities and initiatives reflect our principals.

One of the earliest challenges to the Association was how to transform the conceptual principals and purposes into reality. It was determined that the best approach to meet this challenge was to establish a formal organization capable of harnessing the energies and enthusiasm of the Alumni and then to undertake various activities and initiatives consistent with these purposes.

The first few years of the Association were focused solely on building the platform from which to launch the Association through the establishment of a board of directors, drafting a charter and by-laws to serve as guide in pursuit of our goals, launching a publicity campaign to increase the awareness of the Association, and developing a data base so we would have the means to create a communication link with the greatest number of alumni.

The initial focus of the Association was in the areas of:

These goals were realized through the formation of the following Committees:

These additional Committees include:

Each of these committees plays a specific role in advancing the original purposes of the Association and sustaining the organizational structure, and they have now become standing committees. In addition, certain sub-committees were formed to address issues that captured the interest of the alumni community.

These committees have become the backbone of the Association, and this has been a very active year for all the committees of the Association. Each committee made significant contributions to the overall results of the organization during this past year. The best way to give you a sense what transpired over the last year is to present an overview.

Alumni Reunion Weekend 2005

Alumni Weekend has evolved into the major social event of the year for alumni and has become recognized as a major community event. This is exactly what the Association was trying to achieve when this event was originally conceived; to provide an opportunity for Alumni to come together while at the same time make a contribution to the vitality of the community. Alumni Weekend, 2005 continued this tradition and can claim the annual "bragging rights" as the "best ever" according to most who attended. What started out as a two day event in 1999 with 3 scheduled activities, has evolved into a 3 day celebration with over 15 scheduled activities. Alumni Weekend 2005 adopted a similar format and implmented most of the same activities as last year including the ever popular golf awards banquet for players and guests following the conclusion of the banquet. This year's festivities set record attendance at most of the venues including 122 golfers taking part in the tournament and classes spanning over 70 years participating in the activities. The weekend as a whole, but particulauly the golf toumament was again a financial success for the Association in support of the alumni scholarship fund. A major addition to the weekend this year was the Wall of Fame induction ceremony which was featured at the Alumni luncheon. This was one of the most inspiring and memorable occasions ever produced by the Association and will be further elaborated, on later in this report. As I mention every year but it is still worthy of repeating, Alumni Weekend does not just appear and would not happen without dedication, commitment and passion of a small group of individuals who volunteer their time and talents. My gratitude is extended to Marty Reed, General Chairman and his committee for a superb job.

Newsletter Committee

This is the Committee the produces Reflections. The newsletter is what has attracted many to the Association and remains as the "heart and soul" of the organization. It is the glue that holds the Association together. Reflections has continued to maintain its high standard of excellence and is considered in alumni circles as the best publication of its kind. It is the true voice of the Association. Again this year, two 20 page issues of Reflections were written, edited, published and mailed to over 4,000 Alumni. The amazing feat is that this is all accomplished by just a small group of dedicated volunteers who push themselves to the limits year after year. We have been able to keep a handle on the cost of the publication and at this report do have sufficient funds to cover the cost of the publication for another year or two. We will be applying for a non-profit organization postage rate shortly which should help considerably in this area. I congratulate Karen 'Cycon' Dermody '63, Editor, and her staff for the excellent job.

In my report last year, the issue was raised as to when Reflections should continue to be sent to the entire maim roster or only paid members of the Association. The issue were primarily raised because of the strain being placed on our human and financial resources. The fairness aspect was also a consideration. This had become a very sensitive issue because of the integral role Reflections has played in the progress of the Association and many fear that to change directions might have a negative impact. A survey was conduct among the alumni for their thoughts, ideas and opinions, in order to provide some guidance to the Board in their resolution of this issue. At the March, 2005 board meeting this issue was debated with full consideration given to both sides of the argument. After careful deliberations, the Board decided to continue to mail Reflections to the entire mailing roster but to give paid members the advantage of receiving their issues by first class mail. The board took the position that although the current arrangement is somewhat unfair to those who join the Association that it was premature to take this radical step. Reflections is the voice and the prime communication forum of spreading the Association's message, and to take such a radical step would somewhat defeat the goals of the Association. It was the Board's decision that we should first intensify and devise some new strategies in our membership efforts and use Reflections to spread the message with the hope the entire Alumni Community who recognize the value of Reflections will respond. This may be a temporary reprieve, but only time will tell.

Website Committee

The Alumni Website continues to grow in popularity as a major alumni communication link. Just look at the number of hits to date; over 25,000!! As the popularity grows among the alumni community, the website has been expanded in many ways to serve the needs and enjoyment of that population. If Reflections is the voice, then the website is the encyclopedia of the Association. Everything you want to know about the Association can be found on the website, including photos of all the past Association activities. The progress in the website development over the last several years and particularly this past year, has been phenomenal. One of the most popular features added has been the message board. The website is continually being reformatted to enhance the appearance and become more informative. We have received compliments from around the country on the professional quality of our website. What many of you probably do not realize is that the entire alumni website is operated and maintained by a single individual, our Webmaster, Ray Taylor '55. This just boggles my mind and I bet yours too.

Ray has become synonymous with the Alumni Website and that becomes clearly evident when Ray decides to take a vacation and the integrity. of the website sometimes becomes compromised. The website would cease to exist if we had to hire an outside vendor to perform the services that Ray performs.

Alumni Center/Historical Committee:

Alumni Center, located in Room 319 of the Sidney Civic Center, has become the nerve center of the Association. Last year I reported on the progress of transforming Alumni Center into a functional administrative headquarters information center, meeting room and historical center for the Association. Alumni Center has become fully operational and has compiled an impressive array of alumni memorabilia and photos. An open invitation has been extended by Bonnie Curtis '59, Director of Alumni Center to all those interested in visiting the center. Alumni Center has also become a prime resource for alumni research projects on Sidney school history. Alumni Center not only supports the business activities of the Association but, through the compilation of the archives, creates a link to our past.

Wall of Fame Committee

The accomplishments of the Wall of Fame Committee rank as the most extraordinary achievement of the year. The idea for the Wall of Fame has been on the "back burner" for several years but in a pledge to the alumni in his address presented at the 2004 Annual Luncheon, Doug Sheldon, Chairman of the committee, committed to inducting the first class to the Wall at a ceremony at the 2005 luncheon. Doug and his committee delivered on the promise and a new clapter for the Association was opened. The first class of inductees included a group of exceptional individuals who could measure up to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Myron Kipp 'O1, Fred Videtto '28, Tom O'Neil '33, James Axtell '59, Robert Rowlands. The Wall of Fame was designed and fashioned to honor those among our ranks who have had a positive impact on our lives, community and school, and to create a bond with our history and a link to our heritage. The Wall of Fame committee will be meeting in late September to initiate their plans for next year. Nominations are being accepted from the entire alumni community and can be submitted to Chairman Doug Sheldon '59. Information regarding the nominatin process can be found on the alumni website at Everyone is encouraged to nominate worthy candidates for induction.

School Relations Committee

Creating a strong bond with alumni and our alma mater is one of the integral components of our founding purposes of the Association. In what stands as one of the most significant accomplishments of the year, the Association, through the school relations committee, took a major step in solidifying this relationship with the creation of a permanent seat on the SCSAA Board of Directors for a representative of the Sidney Central School District Board of Education. The purpose was to create a more direct channel of communication with the school and provide a means for the school to take a more active role in the Association. Some of the areas to be explore with the school through this position are:

Some of the other major activities of the committee included:

Membership Committee:

Last year I reported the membership roles at 850 while the currently paid members at the time of this report stands at 640. Obviously the decline in membership is very disappointing and is a cause of concern. I cannot exactly pinpoint the cause of the decline but suspect part of the reason might be an inadvertent oversight on the part of the members to renew their membership. We have avoided sending reminders due to the postage costs and the limited human resources to prepare and administer a reminder program. The renewal date for each paid member is listed on the mailing label on each issue of Reflections. Regardless of the reasons, our goal for this year was to double the membership not suffer a decline in membership which has deepened my resolve to intensify our membership campaign.

As reported in last year's annual message a new membership campaign had been designed by Chairman, Gary Scavo which encompassed the following elements:

Most of these elements have been implemented to some degree but not soon enough to have an impact on this year's membership goal.

The Committee is also investigating ways to send electronic reminders to those members that have computer access; they hope to have this incorporated into the membership campaign in the near future.

Membership is critical for the future success of the organization. It is imperative that we have sufficient membership dues to fund the operation of the association and reduce our dependency on outside fund raising. I still can't understand after all these years that less than 20% of those receiving Reflections choose not to become a member.

Sports Hall of Fame Committee

Chairman, Greg Davie'76 and his committee through their tireless efforts created another memorable occasion with the induction of the second Class into the Alumni Sports Hall of Fame during a moving ceremony Thanksgiving Weekend 2004. This years Class included, in addition to those who qualified through their induction into the Section 4 Hall of Fame, an inductee, Hummy Hulbert `45, who was the first nomination from the field submitted by his classmates. Hummy immediately became the fan favorite for the evening's ceremony and stood out as the perfect candidate as we united in the shared experience of all Alumni, the tradition of excellence of Sidney Sports. Every Alumnus should take the opportunity to share in this experience. Tickets are now available for this year's festivities.

Publicity Committee:

The Association has capitalized on every opportunity to keep the organization in the forefront as part of the Alumni Association awareness campaign. Numerous articles were written for the Tri-Town News and a radio commercial was produced for Alumni Weekend. Some of the publicity was initiated by the local media on its own, in recognition of the prominent status the Association has achieved Community. Several pages of photos and articles about Alumni Weekend and the Wall of Fame ceremony appeared in the Tri-Town News following the weekend.

Financial Condition:

The Association remains financially sound. Our budget estimates were right on target again this year, and I want to compliment everyone involved in managing the budget process. The Association was able to conduct all its activities with funds generated by the operations without having to dip into the surplus. As a result, our fund balance increased 20% over the same period from last year. Again, a good portion of the increase can be attributed to independent fund raising activities conducted by the Association and not from membership dues. We are still too reliant on these fund raising activities which leaves our capacity for future growth vulnerable and this situation needs to be addressed and corrected. The current undedicated fund balance of the Association is $18,697.67 as compared to $15,885 for the same period last year. Copies of the Financial Statements will be distributed to the Board of Directors for review and posted on the website.

The biggest disappointment of the year for the Association was lack of substantial progress involving:

Volunteer Force: Our intentions were good and we even had formed a search committee to devise a continuity and perpetuation plan with the objective of locating new volunteers to whom some of the burden could be shifted in the key functional areas. While some progress was made the full plan was not implemented for lack of resources. That is the paradox I spoke about last year. "Our capacity to grow is diminished by our growth". However I make this pledge, as we move forward, to personally assume responsibility for this initiative and hope to able to report major progress next year at this time.

Pleasant Street School Project continues to be a major roller coaster ride. As we were making progress as reported by the Pleasant St. advisory committee in last year's report, ownership changed again. So now the process of developing a working relationship with the new owner starts all over. Our commitment to give the building one last chance remains positive, but the reality of the situation is not as positive.

Concerns for the Future

Last year I stated that the well being of the Association could be best measured and predicted by the strength of

Well, we did not witness any significant growth in any of these categories during the past so it could be concluded that the health of the Association is starting to fail. I do not think this is the case at this time. I believe, based on the fact that last year was one of our strongest years to date in terms of membership and financial condition, that it can be argued that the state of association is essentially sound, as I did in my opening remarks despite a decline in two of the three key predictors. I would really be troubled if we started to witness a decline in the core group of volunteers (but as stated above the passion remains strong with this) and then I would dramatically change my position.

However, this is still a cause of concern to me. It could be an early warning signal of problems ahead and must been taken seriously.

Final Comments

By now I think it should be apparent that the theme of this message is creating and expanding the bonds and links with Alumni, School and Community. It should be evident from the overview of the various Association activities and functions presented in this report that every undertaking is painstakingly designed to advance these goals.

I remain very optimistic about the future of the Association. The promise and potential is unlimited. My sense of optimism is attributed to the clear vision of the Association, a solid foundation and the unrelenting passion of the core group of volunteers. However, this is a very delicate balance and could change abruptly if we do not remain diligent. As mentioned above there are some signs in the key predictors that a slight shift is occurring.

There are many challenges ahead that need to be confronted as outlined in this report. The challenges facing the Association do not solely belong to the Board of Directors but to the entire Alumni community at large. We are stewards of the Association. We have a duty as stewards to preserve what has been created for future generations. Is everyone up to the task?

Respectfully submitted,
Terry Dermody `65