By Emily Younker
The Joplin Schools Foundation today will announce the development of the Joplin Schools Alumni Association, which will accept the class of 2013 as its first official members.
The association will work to keep Joplin alumni informed and connected, promote school pride and provide opportunities for graduates in terms of career networking, said Kerry Sachetta, principal of the high school.
It will also be a platform in which alumni can be recognized for their post-high school accomplishments, stay up to date with district news and events and donate to their former schools, he said.
One group of alumni in particular will be tasked with creating a section of the new high school, scheduled to open in August 2014, that will honor the previous high school buildings of Joplin, Sachetta said.
“People want to come back and talk about how high school was, and they want to tell stories, which I thoroughly enjoy,” he said. “I think in the new high school, we want to have a small number of folks from each era have some input potentially in the different kinds of things we’re going to display in the school. When those reunion tours come back, we want them to feel like they remember high school, even though it’s a new building.”
Sachetta said the association also will offer benefits to soon-to-be alumni, more than 450 of whom will graduate from the high school on Sunday. In addition to providing possible networking and job opportunities, it will give future classes a way to stay in touch with each other, he said.
“They need to be able to stay connected to their friends, and we need to let them know as soon as they graduate we value them beyond Joplin High School,” he said. “We want them to continue to feel like their input is valued because they spent four years with us.”
The association got a boost in its creation from Joplin Expats, a non-profit organization that was formed after the 2011 tornado to unite former Joplin residents for the rebuilding and recovery of the city, as well as from alumni from Joplin, Parkwood, Memorial and Lincoln high schools.
The group is in its early stages of development. More information can be found on the Joplin School District’s website, joplinschools.org, or on the association’s Facebook page.
A press conference announcing the Joplin Schools Alumni Association is scheduled for 2 p.m. today at the 11-12 campus of Joplin High School at Northpark Mall. It will feature speakers from the district, its foundation, Joplin Expats and the alumni association board.
Graduation ceremonies for Joplin High School will begin at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center on the campus of Missouri Southern State University. Doors open at 1:30 p.m.; graduates must arrive by 2 p.m. Tickets are required for entry.