Until 2006, there was no written history for the Wheelersburg Alumni Association or its Annual Alumni Reunion. What follows is based primarily on documentation resulting from research done by members of the Class of 1956. This research was based on verbal information obtained from alumni and their families. If you have any additions or corrections to the information that follows, please contact the class committee hosting the next Alumni Association reunion.
The first known multi-class reunion was held in 1975 and organized by the class of 1925. We believe that Arthur Preston and Loyezelle Haffner planned the event. Both Ms. Haffner and Mr. Preston were members of the 1925 class and long-time employees of the Wheelersburg School District. Ms. Haffner taught elementary school in the system for 42 years. Mr. Preston served as high school principal and district superintendent between 1956 and 1968 and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2004. The event was held at St. Peter’s parish hall. The reunion was held again in 1976; however, there is no definitive information on the event from 1977 through 1981.
We know that the reunion was again held in 1982. There were several individuals who were instrumental in reestablishing the event and ensuring that it continued on an annual basis. These individuals were Avanelle Staker Jenkins, another long-time Wheelersburg teacher; Helen Lang and Esta Haffner Regner, all from the class of 1932; Marcella Long Orthmeyer, class of 1929; Majorie Staker Braden, class of 1930; Elizabeth Feist, class of 1934; and Jean Thornton, class of 1941. The event was held at St. Peter’s and continued at this location for several following years.
When more space was needed, the reunion was moved to the Friends of the Community Center in Portsmouth. The event remained there until 2009 when it was moved to the cafetorium of the new Wheelersburg school.
Since 2001, the reunion program has included the induction of elected alumni into the Hall of Fame.
We believe the organization sponsoring the reunion adopted the name Wheelersburg Alumni Association in the early 1980’s. Currently, the Alumni Association functions as an unincorporated organization. Its primary objective is to foster relationships among Wheelersburg alumni, as well as, between the school district and its alumni. Since 1993, the Association has had a secondary goal of giving back to the school district and its current students. The classes of 1943 through 1946 donated proceeds from the reunion to building of the Elementary School playground. The class of 1956 began a tradition of donating reunion proceeds to the Wheelersburg Excellence Scholarship Fund, which provides college assistance to new graduates.