Several graduates from past Vandalia and Van-Far High School classes enjoyed the Van-Far Alumni All-School Reunion held this past Saturday night, September 27.
Attendees purchasing $20 or $25 tickets enjoyed their reunion time with the proceeds going towards the Van-Far Alumni & Friends Scholarship Fund.
Notable classes at the event included the classes of 1944, 1949, 1954, 1959, 1964, 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004, and 2009.
Renowned public motivational speaker, the Rev. Charlene Wheeler-Williams, D.D. (Class of 1984), was thankful for the opportunity to return to her hometown for the event.
“It’s just a blessing to be back home,” she said. “I was just so overwhelmed and honored for the opportunity to come back home, to see the foundation for what I stand for…I can’t say no to Vandalia.”
In her many travels, Wheeler-Williams said she’s told many about the great, small town city she comes from.
Wheeler-Williams recognized some past teachers and her husband during her speech.
She challenged those in attendance to benefit one another through their friendships and misunderstandings.
She noted the “Fruits of the Spirit” from the Bible.
“Let us allow the torch to keep burning as a people and never let your lights blow out,” she said. “…Let your lights so shine so others can see your glory.”
She said everyone needs to “keep on progressing.”
Wheeler-Williams also expressed the hope that in every area of a person’s life that they get their strength from a “supernatural peace.”
Wheeler-Williams was introduced by retired teacher Natalie Gibson.
She also provided some entertainment by singing “That’s What Friends Are For” and “I Need Thee Every Hour.”
Van-Far Alumni President Muriel Beshears (Class of 1961) gave the welcome and was followed by Charles Forgy (Class of 1943) leading the Pledge of Allegiance.
Van-Far students Emily Laskowski performed the National Anthem.
Spencer Creek Baptist Church Pastor Bob Hoehn gave the invocation.
After Beshears introduced special guests, Jim Deppe (Class of 1977) introduced scholarship winners.
The 2014 scholarship winners include:
• $500 – Spencer Trower (Class of 2011), Tabetha Hopke (Class of 2011), Sarah Sutton (Class of 2013), Brian Kurz (Class of 2013), and Class of 2014’s Ciara Craven, Payton Willis, Kenedy Hays, Dylan Mouser, Dakota Buie as well as Brooke Johnson
•$5,000 Renewable Scholarship – Samantha Davis (Class of 2014)
• $1,000 Renewal Scholarships – Ashley Rentfro, year two (Class of 2013), and Kasey Gatson, year three (Class of 2012)
Beshears also gave the Alumni and Friends address and the closing.
In the program, it was noted that memorial gifts were given this past year in memory of Willa Senger, Roy Moore, Patty George Zimmerschied, Connie Wesier Sutton, Fred Kohl, Duane Gibson, Bradley Cole Martin, Bob Deppe, Dorothy Dudley, Susan Fischer (Class of 1989), Shirley Forgy, and Dennis Gibson.
Other gifts noted were those from Gene Selley, Ann Kohl, Lee Gore, and LaFemme Arts Club.