The Central Alumni Association was incorporated on February 27, 1995. Current Board of Directors Scholarships have been our main focus, but we also have many other accomplishments.
- Creation of the Hall of Excellence Planning of the CHS Celebration on April, 2007.
- East Entrance Improvement Plan: this project is still active, you can still buy a brick!
- Published a student directory (Vol 3 is now available from Harris Publications)
- Red Raider Reunion, Summer Rally for all classes and friends of Central
- Coordinating the Walter Babe Weigent statue project, chaired by Carl Miller
EARLY HISTORY OF THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
In late 1992 and early 1993, a number of La Crosse Central High School graduates were asked to attend a meeting to discuss the possibility of forming the Alumni Association. Mr. Barth and a number of the Red Raider Booster Club members spearheaded this idea. The purpose was to formulate an association that would have as its major goal the benefit of Central High School.
We started by setting up a Board of Directors, electing officers, writing by laws, and also worked toward setting up a non-profit organization. This all proved to be a very long and drawn-out process, particularly the non-profit status.
We also needed to develop a system to communicate with our 15,000 plus graduates. When we started this task it seemed overwhelming, both in the cost and the printing. Fortunately for us we had a couple graduates who contributed financially to this endeavor. An anonymous donor gave us $3,000 for the initial mailing and Curtis Printing supplied the materials and printing time to allow us to send out our first mailing.
In early 1995 we obtained our Bulk Mail privileges and the final hurdle had been crossed. Shortly after our first mailing, then President of the association, Len Vingers, received a note from a 1944 graduate by the name of Jim Lewis who wanted to know more about the association and said that he could probably contribute some money to a scholarship. Len called Mr. Lewis and explained what we were trying to do, and much to Len’s surprise, Jim Lewis contributed $10,000.00 to a scholarship in memory of his brother, Roy Milton Lewis. In addition, the reason he wanted to do this was because of the fine teachers he had at Central who contributed to his career as a long time journalist. Jim is now retired and lives in Texas.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
We need to constantly strive to market our alumni association. There are so many opportunities for our association to help build Central High School. We can give moral support, scholarships, sponsor basketball tournaments and, yes, perhaps even someday build a swimming pool. We need to keep the proud tradition of Central High School at a very high level. All of us here in this room, and thousands of graduates, have benefited from Centrals great Tradition of Excellence. This tradition has been of academic achievements, athletic achievements, and the school spirit, which has lead to long-term friendships and associations with our classmates and teachers.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO SUPPORT CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL?
We need to grow in numbers so that we can achieve some of the financial accomplishments that were mentioned earlier. We need to grow so that we can communicate with each other as an association. We need to grow so that we can be recognized as a strong supporting arm of La Crosse Central High School. We need your help and the help of all past graduating classes to achieve this goal.
WHAT CAN THE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION DO FOR YOU?
Hopefully we can provide an updated list of all your classmates. However, we need your help in keeping these lists up-to-date. This past April the association contracted with Harris Publishing Company to complete a directory of all Central High School graduates from 1900 to the present – 2012! There will be at least four sections in this publication. The 1st Section will include the Alumni Association’s Mission Statement and a letter from the Principal, it will also include the history of the school and pictures of our choosing, the 2nd section will be the Biographical Section with names, addresses, phone nos. and e-mail addresses. This section will also include a cross reference by maiden names. The 3rd Section will be a class year section, and the 4th Section will be geographical. The cover will be in our school colors and will have Central’s mascot on the cover. One very important aspect is that this directory will be updated every 4 to 5 years. Incidentally, upon completion, this directory will be available for purchase from the Harris Publishing Company. The completed directory will be available as hard copy / book or electronic /CD.
WHERE HAVE WE GONE AND WHAT HAVE WE ACCOMPLISHED SINCE OUR INCEPTION?
We have grown from ONE scholarship to over FORTY scholarships. Some of these scholarships even have multiple winners! Currently we have over 20,000 names in our Alumni database. Keeping up-to-date on addresses alone is almost an insurmountable feat. In 1999 Central High School faculty in conjunction with the Central Alumni Association established the HALL OF EXCELLENCE to recognize outstanding achievements and service of Central Alumni, Faculty, and/or Community Members. Nomination Forms are available if you have someone who you would like to nominate. Hopefully we can continue to grow so that we can give back to the school that has given us so much. Please remember – The Harris Publishing Company and the book that they are preparing for us. Provide them with the information they request — this should turn out to be a document that will help ALL graduates of La Crosse Central High School.