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Kingston Alumni Association completes mission


KINGSTON — Annette Rowe, president of the Kingston School Alumni Association, made a historic report to the Jasper School District Board of Education at its regular meeting held Sept. 18, on the Kingston campus. She announced the association's mission to reproduce the graduating classes' sidewalk markers from the year 1929 to 1999 has come to a successful conclusion. She added that the alumni association will now be dissolved.
What began as an organization project 25 years ago had to hurdle funding difficulties, rising costs and membership attrition along the way. To Rowe and the few remaining alumni association members, it became a personal mission to see the project to completion. All of the granite markers bearing the names of each year's graduates are located within in a gravel display area running the length of the front of the cafetorium building.
Originally, Rowe said, it was brought to the alumni association's attention some of the original stone markers were beginning to deteriorate. It was decided to replace the stones up to 1999 because from that year forward each graduating class would become responsible for providing its own marker.
Most of the alumni association members were older at the time the project began and have passed. Some moved away and others gradually resigned for one reason or another. Rowe cited by name a few association members who kept notes and tracked down records of the graduates and the years they graduated. Some years there were just a few graduates. She noted one year, during World War II, there wasn't a graduating class. That being the case, some classes share a single marker.
Rowe noted many people who donated not only gave money to have their names inscribed on a stone, but they also sent extra money to include the name of a classmate they knew had passed away. "It was so cool to see how people wanted to help out."
Inflation worked against the group as they raised money. When the project began each marker cost about $350. At the end, the cost of a marker reached $1,000.
"I think all of my life, until this point, I have had some connection with this school. After this I don't have any," Rowe said. "This has been my project for the last 25 years, and we are finished. And we voted to dissolve the Kingston Alumni Association when the project was finished." She said the association originally had 75-80 members and it has dwindled down to about a half dozen at the last meeting.
She said it will be up to the school administration to have the markers arranged in a desired order.