Green Forest alumni banquet canceled
Blame it on COVID-19.
For the second consecutive year, the Green Forest High School Alumni Association will not hold its annual banquet.
“We let it slip up on us,” said board member Ramona Wilson. “It’s always the Saturday before Easter and we had other things on our minds and didn’t think about it.”
Wilson said she’d fielded several phone calls regarding the banquet in recent days, with most expressing concerns that the 67-year-old tradition would be ending permanently. That’s not the case, she said.
“They were concerned that because we missed it last year on account of COVID — and I guess we can kind of lay it on COVID again this year, maybe — they don’t want it to die,” Wilson said of the annual event first held in 1954. “We’ve not missed a year in all that time.
“We want to reassure them that, no, it isn’t dying, it’s not dead. We certainly plan to pick it up again next year.”
In an official statement released Monday, board president Ross Darby said the pandemic played a significant role in the decision to cancel this year’s event.
“We have weighed the prospects of what we know has happened during the past year with the COVD-19 virus and the unknown of what may come in the next few months,” the release states.
Darby said the banquet, which serves as an all-inclusive class reunion for all Green Forest Schools alumni, is important for the community and that the board is focused on making sure its held next year.
“It’s been done for so long that you hate to see it go away,” Darby said. “We’re going to have to do a little bit of extra work to keep it going.”
In addition to providing a chance for alumni to reconnect and celebrate, the banquet also serves as a fundraiser for the association, which uses the yearly dues typically gathered during the event to fund the association’s scholarship program.
“Our main thing is to raise money for scholarships,” Darby said. “Whatever money we get, we turn back into scholarships based on the amount of kids that apply. We don’t ever keep any money.”
Darby said that, despite not having the banquet this year, the alumni association still hopes to be able to help some Green Forest High School graduates through the scholarship program.
“It may make the difference between a Green Forest High School graduate going on to further their education, or not making the move to new academic and career opportunities, and the future those endeavors could bring,” Darby wrote in the release.
Darby asked that alumni association members who would like to pay their $10 dues or anyone who’d like to donate to the scholarship send a check to the Green Forest Alumni Association, P.O. Box 1950, Green Forest, AR 72638.
“We cannot wait to host the banquet again,” Darby said. “We hope to see you all next year.”