More than a year and two months.
That’s how long the Sunny Hills Class of 1968 spent fundraising and initiating campus improvements for its alma mater.
Raising over $9,500 in eight months, the 12-member reunion committee dedicated all proceedings toward the addition of six benches in front of the Lyceum and three tables near the 30s, 50s and 70s wings — all of which have been installed and ready for student use since early February.
Upon learning of the completion of this venture, committee members arranged with principal Craig Weinreich to take a look at the outdoor furniture on Thursday, March 9, during Period 4.
At the informal gathering, the committee members met Weinreich in Room 4, who then toured the graduates to each new seating area.
“Giving back is always good,” said Brad Rawlins, one of the 10 to visit the campus. “We will forever be grateful for the administration of both the past and current for steering us through life the way they did.”
Inspirational messages on the 6-inch-by-4-inch “plaques” were unveiled Thursday for the alumni to hand glue each one to the center area of the furniture. The cost to produce them was also funded by the ‘68 class donation.
“We worked at this project really diligently so we knew it would be successful,” said Pat Simonian, a co-chairwoman of the reunion committee with Rawlins. “We didn’t think it would take so long for it to come to a culmination, but I think all of our efforts were well worth it.”
We worked at this project really diligently so we knew it would be successful. We didn’t think it would take so long for it to come to a culmination, but I think all of our efforts were well worth it.
— co-chairwoman of the reunion committee Pat Simonian
Simonian said she hoped to provide a gift more meaningful than just outdoor seating areas through the addition of education-related quotes from significant figures such as Dr. Seuss, Abraham Lincoln and John Dewey.
“I just felt that we needed something more than the bench to give students some food for thought,” she said. “So I suggested this idea to Brad, and we narrowed it down to the nine we used.”
After integrating each message sign onto the seats and tables, Rawlins spoke on behalf of the remaining ‘68 classmates and reflected on the memories shared at Sunny Hills.
Weinreich, who attended the alumni’s reunion event on Saturday, July 9, 2022, kept in contact with the reunion committee and former principal Allen Whitten as they planned for the fundraiser.
“I think their intentions on trying to inspire students because they had a great experience here is great,” Weinreich said. “The longer you get away, the more you can kind of think back to these experiences and see a different perspective.”
At the moment, Rawlins and Simonian have not planned a future long-term project for the school but look forward to keeping the opportunity open.
“My understanding is that this kind of effort in fundraising doesn’t take place very often,” Rawlins said. “In fact, we may be the only class that’s done anything like this, and it’s pretty special so we might do it again.”