OAKLAND — The Oakland Alumni Association annual banquet is planned for Saturday, Aug. 10. The association has had a long history, starting back in 1920. It holds an annual banquet each year and last year more than 175 classmates from the 1930’s to 2006 attended, representing the Oakland High School, Williams High School and Messalonskee High School.

In early days the banquet featured dinner and a dance at the Messalonskee Hall, which was at the head of the lake and housed the cars for the trolley line which provided transportation up the now Kennedy Memorial Drive to Waterville, according to a news release. In the 1960s, banquets were held at the Williams High School gymnasium and included a chicken barbecue. President Cecile Buzzell Paradis, Master of Ceremonies Mossey Coughlin and then Superintendent John MacLeod were regular attendees.

The 1970’s saw the banquet move to the newly built Messalonskee High School and was held in the cafeteria. A catered dinner was provided by Lynn Pressey for a mere $2.50. President Dana Wrigley was joined by Master of Ceremonies Keith Southard to see that all in attendance had lots of laughter and fellowship remembering the old school days. The banquets underwent a short hiatus from 1978 until 1986. Most recently, the annual event was moved to the Waterville Elks Lodge to accommodate classmates.

In 1975, the association purchased the Oakland High School Bell, which was installed in the schools bell tower in 1901. Then Superintendent Ralph Atwood accepted the bell on behalf of the district. The tradition of ringing the bell on school victories was soon born. Many classmates remember that honor of running to ring the bell and what school pride meant. Sadly, over the years the bell laid dormant and neglected. In recent years, the bell was relocated into a new building after many hours of work by alumni and community members. A new generation of students was reintroduced to the tradition of ringing the bell on game days and school pride rang out again. During the summer months, the bell is moved to the Oakland’s Museum, at the corner of Main and Oak streets.

This year, President Kelly Graham Roderick will present the association’s first Educational Award to a graduating senior who is the child of an alumnus. Association members make annual donations to the fund along with proceeds from 50/50 raffles at sporting events. A $500 award is presented to the student who demonstrated academic achievement and community involvement.

Alumni Association Officers Kelly Graham Roderick, president, Julie Fabian Benecke, vice president, Alan Charles, secretary, and Irene Roderick Belanger, treasurer, and Banquet Committee members extend an invitation to past alumni, and hope to see more classmates from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s.

Invitations will be sent in June. For more information, contact an officer or call Kelly Graham Roderick at 465-2849.

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