Media Archive

BHS Alumni make final donation

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 164, No. 43, October 24, 2001

By Sarah MacIlroy
Staff Writer

BROWNVILLE Although it has been quite a while since there was a high school in Brownville, there are a certain group of people who haven't forgotten the memories and friends they made there.

Now, 15 years after they reorganized, the Brownville Alumnit Association has decided to dissolve "because illnesses and death have diminished the original numbers of the original reunion committee" who organize the reunions each year, said a report from the BHS Alumni last summer.

But the alumni are not just about social gatherings, they have a long track record of giving back to their community in many forms.

The recipient of the majority of their donations has been the Brownville Elementary School. Through gifts from the group's Memorial Fund, the school has received an outdoor concrete picnic table, a digital camera, a lobby showcase, and a microphone system, among other things.

"We sort of see the elementary school as our alma mater," explained Rueben Lancaster, president of the Brownville Alumni Association. Over the years, alumni members have donated thousands of dollars to give the Brownville Elementary children what they can use.

"We feel very fortunate that we were able to do that," said Lancaster.

When the organization met at their final reunion in August, classmates decided to use their remaining funds to make two more donations - to the elementary school and the Brownville Historical Society. Each organization received in excess of $2,000 from the alumni when the checks were presented last week.

Neither the Historical Society nor the elementary school had specific plans now for what they wanted to do with their gift.

"Everyone has their own ideas of what they want to do with the money," joked Pat Bradbury, principal at Brownville Elementary School. With the previous alumni gift, the school will be installing an Omni microphone that will hang from the ceiling and pick up the voices of the children as they perform in plays.

There has been an alumni association at the school for many years, but when the school burned in 1932, many records were lost and as a result the association did not formally meet for quite a while. They reorganized in 1987, and had 160 members at their first meeting.

"We're all getting older now," said Lancaster. "It just isn't possible for us all to get together."

Formal meetings will not be held any more, but the group could still meet informally at Brownville's Old Home Weekends in August. Their records are now available at the historical museum, and although the group may not formally exist any more, the impression and contributions they have made to their communities could last for many years to come.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.