The Powell High School Alumni Association has existed for 107 years. Even more impressively, the association has held an all-class reunion every year for 107 years. Several years ago, it occurred to …
The Powell High School Alumni Association has existed for 107 years. Even more impressively, the association has held an all-class reunion every year for 107 years. Several years ago, it occurred to association board member Gerry Wilkins that this may be a Guinness World Record.
Wilkins began digging and gathered newspaper articles and other items from reunions as far back as 1915.
When he contacted Guinness World Records, he was pointed to the record set by Columbus, Kansas by the class of 1929, which met for 77 years. The class’ final meeting occurred in 2006 at the town’s masonic hall, according to Jean Pritchett at Columbus’s Genealogy Library. Columbus, a rural community with an active high school athletics program and a habit of producing high achievers, is not too different from Powell.
Wilkins has tried to inform Guinness that he’s not talking about the successive reunion of one single class; he is talking about about the longest running all-class reunion. He’s even submitted a record application several times. But despite his efforts, he is always informed of the Columbus record.
In his research, Wilkins did reveal that Powell is not the longest running alumni association; that honor goes to Miamisburg, Ohio.
Miamisburg’s Alumni Association has operated since 1888 and met yearly for 130 years. It was unclear if an all-class reunion was held every year.
Former Miamisburg Mayor Dick Church said most individual classes meet frequently. Church, who is a member, said the alumni association puts on a dinner dance to honor the 25-year and 50-year reunion that has hosted “thousands over the years.”
“We’re proud that we’re the oldest — or probably the oldest. We kinda put that title on ourselves,” Church said.
Wilkins, who recognizes Church’s lead, is still proud of the Powell Alumni Association’s streak and hopes to stay ahead of others who are close behind.
“Well, you know they’ve got 130 [years] and we’ve only got 107 [years]. I’m finding very few have 100-year-old reunions like we do, but once they do, to keep them going is kind of a pride thing,” he said.
According to Wilkins, a school in Seattle is only two years behind Powell, so the Panthers have to be diligent at keeping the streak alive.
“We don’t want to lose out to those behind us,” he said.
Wilkins is interested in a record for longest running all-class reunion because he feels like it would be a legacy worth handing to future generations.
“It’s all about Panther pride,” he said.