More than 10,000 Vintage High graduates bleed burgundy and gold, but until now these alumni have never had an organization that captured their shared spirit.
Filling the void is the new Vintage High School Alumni Association, a fledgling group that has big plans to support the school that launched them into adulthood.
“The organization can be anything and everything,” said Heather Fuller Teague, Class of ‘87, who helped form the alumni group. It could be “as small as scholarships and a section at football games and a website to post pictures.” Or as big as … who knows?
Vintage graduated its first class in 1973, but until now never had an organized way for alums to reconnect except through individual class reunions, Teague said. Such reunions are fine, she said, but they don’t bring together graduates from classes before and after your own.
The VHSAA launched this spring, bestowing $250 scholarships on four Class of 2015 graduates as its first accomplishment. Joining Teague in getting the association off the ground were Denise Dowling Cooper, Class of ‘81; Kelli Watkins, Class of 2000; and Kelly Cliff, former president of the school’s Faculty Community Club.
The alumni group intends to tap the reservoir of spirit that connects all Vintage graduates, said Cooper, who cites examples from her everyday Napa life.
There is a special bond when she visits her chiropractor or bank and realizes that the person she is dealing with is also a Crusher, Cooper said. “We went to the same school. You feel comfortable reaching out,” she said.
Vintage High’s principal, Mike Pearson, applauds the new group, saying, “It’s time for the alumni to make their presence known.”
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An active alumni group could make financial contributions, support athletics, make on-campus presentations and offer internships, he said.
Vintage alumni are fortunate to have attended a school with a nickname, Crushers, that is “one of the more unique and prestigious names out there,” and can serve as a rallying point, said Pearson, VHS Class of ‘82.
Napa High School, founded in 1897, has long had an alumni organization to support students and teachers and bring graduates together, said Marilyn Reid, president of the Napa High Alumni Association.
Last school year the association, which has 636 members, awarded four $1,200 scholarships, and made over $3,500 in mini-grants to teachers, Reid said.
The Napa High group holds raffles and sells Napa High license plate frames to fund its giving, she said.
Two of Vintage High’s alumni organizers had very different campus experiences during their high school years. Teague said she played varsity tennis, participated in Model United Nations and “loved going to the football games” where she wore her burgundy and gold.
In contrast, Cooper described herself as “introverted and shy,” and said she confined herself to journalism, choir and yearbook.
“I had a lot of pride in the school … tucked deep inside, waiting to explode 35 years later,” she said.