Those who graduated from good old Camden High School, or attended it, have always been welcomed to the CHS Alumni Banquet. In recent years it has been held the second Friday evening in August. This year, it was August 10.
The CHS Alumni Committee works all year with meetings to plan the event, and as the place and dinner is so great in this location (67 Atlantic Highway in Northport). There is usually a crowd of 250 alumni and their spouses.
To afford to rent the place, they have a silent auction and alumni bid on items given by them, or by the local businesses, making enough money to pay the expense. Now that we are all getting older, the event begins at 4 p.m., and a wonderful dinner is served at 6 p.m. We are on our way home before dark in the early evening.
Time was when it began a little later, they hired a band and it was usually the classes from the 1940s that loved to dance and stayed until the band was worn out. Probably because when the 1940 classes were in high school, one of the teachers, Milford Payson, hired a dance teacher, Doris Rolerson, and the Opera House every Saturday night. She taught us all how to waltz, foxtrot and whatever the latest dance craze was, for that first hour and then we danced all evening. Those certainly were the “good old days.” Admission for those nights was 25 cents!
The tickets for the attendance to the Annual Banquet and meal is $30. It really is so well worth it. They read the list of all alumni who died since the last banquet, and the list gets longer as we are growing older. The past presidents in attendance are recognized by standing. Money for scholarships is given to several in the present graduating class and students send their applications to be reviewed by about three from the Alumni Committee. Three of the previous year recipients are invited to the Banquet to speak about their time at college.
Usually three awards are presented to members of the Alumni, “in recognition for the many years of support and contribution to the Town of Camden and Surrounding Communities. They are nominated by members of the Alumni and are very surprised and pleased to be a recipient of this prestigious award.
For $5, one can purchase a Hawaiian lei and play the game of “heads and tails,” perhaps winning a case of wine. Happiness come from playing the game and also taking home the prize.
A roll call of each class is called by members standing, and reunion classes are always there. At my 75th reunion there were only three of us left, but we did attend.
There are always some members in their nineties and even 100 years of age. The Alumni Committee and officers are also recognized for a year planned that we may all enjoy the event.
It really is a joyous time to greet friends that you spent so much time with in school, and haven't seen some of them since the last reunion or even longer. Of course none of our teachers are left, but we shall never forget them and it was by their dedication that we learned.
This was the 113th year of the Alumni Banquet, and when it began there were 51 charter members.
The program ends with the singing of the school song:
”We are out today for old Camden High, let us boost her with a will. Let the echoes ring as our song we sing, from the mountains to the hills. We are justly proud of old Camden High, in the good old State of Maine and we shall sing as we go and our slogan, as you know, we're for Camden in sunshine or rain....,” with everyone remembering the ending of “Rah! Rah! Rah!”
Barbara F. Dyer has lived in Camden all of her life, so far.
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