By TONIA HILL
Hyde Park area high school alums will display school pride at their class picnics that will both be held this weekend.
Hyde Park Academy High School, 6220 S. Stony Island Ave., will be hosting its fourth annual all class picnic on Saturday, Aug. 12 and Kenwood Academy High School, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., will be hosting its seventh annual all class picnic on Sunday, Aug. 13.
Hyde Park Academy High School
This is the first year that Hyde Park’s Alumni Association will host the event.
For the last three years, an alumna from the class of 1986 had taken up the task.
Each year since the inception of the picnic the turnout has grown, said Janet Edwards, a member of the alumni association and co-chair of the picnic committee.
Edwards stated that they expect 1,000 people to attend the event on Saturday.
“We have 23 classes that have reserved space,” Edwards said.
She said that they would also commemorate what the school refers to as “VIPs” who might be “celebrating their milestone class anniversaries.”
A goal of the Hyde Park alumni association has been to connect with classes that have not yet participated in the all class picnic. The association is also moving toward restructuring its board.
Edwards said they are working to get more participation from classes that graduated in the 2000s and beyond.
“We’re trying to come up with concepts or ways of reaching them so that we can have more participation,” Edwards said.
The all class picnic is also an opportunity for alums to pledge funds for the school’s scholarship fund. A percentage of the admittance fee for each class goes toward the scholarship fund.
The goal for the upcoming year is $10,000.
“Every year our goal is to provide at least a minimum of three students with an award,” said Leroy Berry, president of Hyde Park Alumni Association Inc.
In years past, Berry said that they were able to raise over $10,000 as the school celebrated its 150th anniversary. Funds that year were provided to five students.
“This year because our donation contributions were so low, the class of 1981 stepped up and gave $1,500,” Berry said.
Three students this year were given $500.
Hyde Park’s all class picnic will held at Midway Plaisance, 1130 Midway Plaisance, at Groves D and E from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Saturday.
Kenwood Academy High School
Kenwood’s annual all class picnic will be held at its track and football field on the school’s campus from noon until 7 p.m. on Sunday.
Kenwood’s annual picnic is essentially a large fundraiser, said Timothy Miller, president of the Kenwood Alumni Network (KAN), but it also provides alums old and new plus current students with the opportunity to connect with one another.
The picnic will feature food and retail vendors that are also alums, and the school will be open for tours as well.
There will also be games and activities for children.
Typically, the turnout for the picnic is 2,000.
The most popular of the classes that attend are from the ‘70s and ‘80s. These classes are also the two biggest contributors for the school’s scholarship fund as well as to meet other school related needs, according to Miller.
“It allows us to contribute to areas where shortfalls may happen with the budget crisis, and the money is donated to different departments who may need things over the course of the school year,” Miller said. “These are things that they [the school] doesn’t have to worry about budgeting for so that teachers don’t have to go and pull from their pockets. It gives us the ability to cover those little gaps that people don’t think about.”
Members of Friends of Kenwood will also be seeking contribution from alums for their summer donation drive.
Fritz Kaegi, a Kenwood alum, has pledged to match funds raised by Friends of Kenwood. Kaegi has promised to match donations up to a total of $10,000 a year, for the next three years.
“The $10,000 matching grant is [Kaegi’s] way and effort to give back the community and the school that has given so much to him,” said Melba Favors Allen, a Friends of Kenwood board member.
Favors Allen said they are looking to reach the $10, 000 goal by the time school starts this fall.
The money would be directed to Friends of Kenwood, which is a non-profit that raises funds to help bridge the gap of the school’s budget, as well as implement and update technology, programs and after-school activities.