Mishawaka Alumni Club

The following articles are from the South Bend Tribune.

Wednesday, March 8, 2000

Their kind of town:
Alumni seize chance to gather
and applaud ties to Mishawaka

Tribune Staff Writer

Four hundred twenty-five fans of Mishawaka met for lunch last week in the city.

At the same time, another 270 or so were meeting in Lakeland, Fla., and 51 were meeting in Port Isabel, Texas.

All but one of them enjoyed the food.

"I'm too nervous to eat," John Moore said. "You always worry about whether people will come, whether the entertainment will get here."

You'd think Moore would be used to it by now.

He's one of the founders and the major organizer of one of the area's most successful clubs.

His group, the Mishawaka Alumni Club, has grown in four years from a table full of old pals at Squad's 2nd Precinct [restaurant] to a banquet hall of 425 at the Fraternal Order of Police lodge at 12th Street and Commonwealth Drive.

The club's only purpose is, each month, to bring people back together who have lived in and loved Mishawaka.

Over the years, Moore has compiled a roster of 1,550 members.

[And] when Mishawaka alumni can't get back here, the club often goes to them.

Jim Haughee was the organizer for the Lakeland event. He lost count of the people attending, somewhere past 265, and said every available chair was filled.

Over in Texas, Jay "Pete" Stebbins said the 51 people attending included one gate crasher from Washington High School.

The entertainment included eight clog dancers who brought the crowd to its feet by clogging to the Mishawaka fight song.

"People at the recreation center here stopped over to watch," Stebbins said. "They can't believe you can get people together like this for a school 1,600 miles away."

The club started in December 1995 when an old friend came back to town for a funeral, Moore said. They decided to get some old teammates together at Squad's.

The stories told that day by 13 old friends were so great, Moore said, that they decided to get together again and more often, and to invite more people.

They soon were filling all the 110 chairs at Squad's, so the group moved to the Knights of Columbus Hall. It wasn't long before the 300 or so chairs there were filled, as well.

The FOP lodge gives the club more room to grow. Moore wouldn't be surprised if that building fills, too.

"We put out a three-page newsletter every month, and we try to make sure there's a good program," he said. "We keep people informed."

Another attraction of the group is that it recognizes the fact that school friendships aren't confined to the classroom.

"You might have a reunion for the Class of 1950, but most of the people there had a lot of friends from '48 and '52," he said.

Yet another factor, Moore said, is that Mishawaka is a very special place. "It's a city of one (public) high school, so we all know each other," he said. "And, for the most part, people from Mishawaka are proud of Mishawaka and loyal to Mishawaka."

You don't have to be a Mishawaka High School alumnus to belong, although Moore said 99 percent of the members are. Others might include spouses, former teachers or administrators, or close friends of alumni.

For information, call Moore at 219-259-1640.

Monday, September 28, 1998

Thunder and showers unable to dampen spirits

What was planned to be a summer picnic at Rose Park for the second annual Mishawaka Alumni group ended up moving inside to the Mishawaka Knights of Columbus Hall due to the inclement weather.

Three hundred forty alumni and guests gathered for an afternoon of fun and a replay of old times. Unlike specific class reunions, this Mishawaka High School Alumni group is composed of all classes who attended the school.

The group meets the first Wednesday of each month. A monthly newsletter is mailed to more than 400 alumni in 21 states, keeping people informed of what's new with their old classmates.

There is no membership or dues, and it is open to anyone interested in keeping up with the "good old times."

Recognized for being the oldest alumni in attendance was the Honorable Mayor Margaret Prickett who graduated in 1926 and also was Mishawaka's first female cheerleader.

Mayor Robert Beutter, class of '53, welcomed all the alumni gathered, thanked them for their support and contributions to the city over the past years, maintaining Mishawaka as a "great" place to live, and expressed much hope for the future with continuing growth.


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