When it comes to throwing high school reunions, Pamela Garrabrant sees no reason to discriminate.
The member of Schalmont High School’s class of 1980 invites all alumni from the district back for an annual party during the first week of June each year. The laid-back event is aimed at getting a wide breadth of Schalmont graduates back together for an evening of fun.
“We’re trying to bring back the class reunion,” she said. “It’s nice to know what happened to the people you grow up with.”
Garrabrant organized the nonprofit Schalmont Alumni Association three years ago in an effort to raise money for a graduating senior each year. The modest ticket price for the reunion parties generates money for a scholarship fund, which has already distributed $6,000 to graduates.
“Education is paramount, and we want help students with their college goals,” she said.
Garrabrant’s organization also relies heavily on local businesses, including a number that are operated by Schalmont alumni — graduates like the Rozell brothers, who own Upstate Sounds and will be providing music for the event, and Dan Crowley, the owner of Printz & Patternz, who will be selling alumni merchandise.
“We try to keep the focus on local business,” she said.
This year’s event will also feature a book signing by Rick Pepe, a popular retired Schalmont English teacher and coach-turned-author. Pepe, who worked 37 years at the district without ever calling in sick, wrote “Thank You For My Children,” a memoir about his love for teaching that was published last year.
Above all, though, the reunion offers a place for Schalmont grads to reconnect —whether from the district’s first class in 1956 or the one five decades later. The casual party typically draws more than 600 people each year, including many who now live out of state.
This year’s reunion is slated for 4 p.m. Saturday at the Orchard Creek Golf Club in Guilderland, rain or shine. Tickets for the event are $10 in advance and can be purchased at several area businesses or at the event for $20.
“You can help support education and have fun doing it,” Garrabrant said.