January 22 01:54 AM

Wall of Honor part of All-Class celebration

Imlay City alumni invited to special event at high school on June 16 during new Busker Fest weekend

June 06, 2018
IMLAY CITY — Calling all Spartan alumni! All former Imlay City students and graduates are invited to reunite this June during the Michigan Busker Fest. The Alumni Association will host their biennial All-Class Reunion on Saturday, June 16 at Imlay City High School. Doors open at noon and the luncheon begins at 12:30 p.m. followed by a program at 1 p.m.

Any alumni who plan to attend are asked to send in their reservations by June 8 to Alumni Secretary Marilyn Swihart at 174 Melanie Blvd., Imlay City, MI 48444. Cost is $12 per person for lunch.

Organizers are making plans for a special program. In addition to the usual honors, like bestowing golden diplomas to the Class of 1968 and presenting Half Century membership cards to the classes of 1967 and 1968, an unveiling of the renovated Military Wall of Honor is planned.

Created by Imlay City grad Mitchell Jones as part of his Eagle Scout project in 2015, the Wall of Honor features panels that list Imlay City alumni who served in the armed forces. Those panels were hung in a hallway outside of the high school's gymnasium.

"Over the course of the following few years, more and more individuals saw the Wall and began to reach out to the school and to the Alumni Association to provide additional names of relatives and friends who qualified for recognition. A number of individuals were able to provide information to assist the schools in making the Wall more accurate, and suggestions came from alumni and community members to consider adding other elements to the Wall, including special designations for Gold Star veterans," said Imlay City Schools Supt. Dr. Stu Cameron.

The original nature of the Wall made it challenging to add or amend names on the wall so the Alumni Association and school district began exploring options to have it regenerated. John Gonzales, a 1967 graduate and U.S. Army veteran, donated funds for the project. The association—namely their secretary Marilyn Swihart-and school officials teamed up to create a comprehensive list of veterans before turning to a local business, The Print Shop, to create new panels.

Imlay City alumni Mitchell Jones created the original Wall of Honor back in 2015. Thanks to a donor, the display has been updated and will be unveiled at the All-Class Alumni Reunion on June 16.

"Rob Webb who works at The Print Shop contacted the schools about the project. As a veteran, he was very excited about it, and even volunteered his own time to work with the district on designs for the Wall and hand-cut all of the vinyl lettering for the names. Rob met with school officials to discuss their vision for the new Wall, and then went to the design board to generate images for the Wall panels. He came back to the schools with some incredible designs, incorporating insignia of the branches of the military, and tasteful, and very visually appealing background imagery," Cameron noted.

The new panels feature hand-cut vinyl letters that are replaceable in case a correction is needed. Cameron said as more names are submitted for inclusion, the district will collect them and add them to the wall the week of Veteran's Day each year.

"This truly was a team effort between a (former) student, the school district, the Alumni Association, and a local business. It's a great example of how one student's idea can blossom into something that is truly a source of school and community pride," Cameron said.

The reunion also features a popular quilt raffle. Two quilts, featuring Imlay City Schools themed t-shirts, will be up for grabs. Swihart said this is the second year Alumni Association members created the custom quilts. Proceeds from the raffle benefit the association's scholarship fund.

"Last time the bidding was quite intense," Swihart said.

Later that day, the Class of 1968 will get another chance in the spotlight when they take part in the Busker Fest parade which starts at 5 p.m.

"As is tradition, the Alumni Association will escort that float through the streets," Swihart said.

Maria Brown joined the Tri-City Times staff in 2003, the same year she earned a bachelor's degree in English from Calvin College. Born and raised in Imlay City, she and her family reside in the Capac area where she enjoys gardening and reading.
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