NC Class of 1970 Celebrates 50 Years by Giving Back

1970 AlumnS Raise $70,000 to support UPCOMING NCHS renovations

When the Class of 1970 reunion planning committee met to start organizing their 50th reunion, they knew they wanted to do something special. Members acknowledged their class had held many successful and fun reunions in the past, and this year should be no different, but given this event would mark a milestone for the class, they wanted to do more. Committee members wanted to give back to the high school that had given them so much. 

“We received so much from our teachers and the administration that we need to help NCHS perpetuate the high standards of excellence we experienced.” 

To get started, the reunion planning committee created a subcommittee that would be responsible for planning this gift. The class gift committee included David Morgan, Julie Steck, Anne Dunn Duncan, Paula VanNess, Joan Noonan Grinkmeyer, Susie Bohard Bremen, and Ted Austin.

These representatives met with the superintendent and district leaders of Washington Township Schools, the principal of North Central, and members of the Washington Township Schools Foundation (WTSF) to discuss options for giving. They shared that they wanted the gift to be tangible, enduring, and able to grow as their class’s participation grew. And most importantly, it needed to be timely in meeting the needs of North Central’s students, staff, and community. 

During their discussions, committee members learned that North Central was developing plans for the first major renovation in decades. Washington Township representatives asked if the Class of 1970 could help with these renovations by supporting upgrades to the North Central Student Center, specifically the addition of a “Student Center Café.” This café would be a community social hub managed and staffed by students, something many public schools in and around Indianapolis have successfully created.

A mockup of the new Student Center Café.

The group loved the idea of helping to build a space where students and staff could gather to communicate and collaborate. It provided the opportunity for them to leave a lasting impact on future Panthers by creating a place where the NCHS community could build friendships, foster ideas, and learn together. Additionally, it offered services that could be used to support after-school activities like plays and concerts.

The café would include:

  • A mobile coffee cart with an under-counter refrigeration unit, espresso machine, and airpots. 
  • A build-out of the storage room into a food prep area with food service equipment. 
  • Furniture for the alcove where the coffee cart is located.

With their gift identified, the planning committee went to work organizing their reunion and communicating their plans to the rest of their class. They began asking their classmates’ for help in supporting the new Student Center Café but soon faced an unexpected challenge–Covid. The pandemic would force the committee to postpone their reunion for two years and take a break from fundraising. But while Covid may have put a damper on things for a bit, it didn’t stop the Class of 1970.

“At times, it was somewhat challenging to help our classmates understand our goal and the rationale behind giving back, but in the end, we were able to convey our message adequately and even surpass our original goal.” 

In the end, the Class of 1970 exceeded their original goal of $19,700 (a play on their graduation year) and raised over $70,000 using the mantra “Class of ’70 at age 70!” They were then able to use some of those extra funds to give teachers and staff a treat, coupons for free coffee as a thank-you for all they do!

When asked what made this gift possible, committee members agreed that having the support of WTSF and MSDWT district leaders was a huge help and even helped make their reunion a success. 

“Emily Kaiser [from WTSF] gave a wonderful overview of the township and their future plans as well as how our gift would fit into the larger picture. But, the highlight was the presence and participation of several current students who led us in the NC Fight Song.”

Outside of providing a lasting impact on North Central, the Class of 1970 hopes that their giving sets an example for the classes that follow them to do the same and consider giving to support the future of North Central and Washington Township. When asked what advice they would give to any reunion committees looking to add giving into their event, members said “Start early and convey the vision often.”

Representatives from the Class of 1970 present their gift to
North Central Students.
Members of the Class of 1970 tour North Central.

A huge thank you to the Class of 1970 for their generosity and for paving the way forward for future reunion gifts.  

Looking for ways you can support North Central High School and Washington Township Schools? Donate today and help our foundation support programs to enhance the educational experience for our students and provide resources for MSDWT teachers and staff.