From Your Garrett Schools Alumni Association: WE’RE STILL HERE!

March 2021

            We missed many of you last summer! While we weren’t able to gather for our full annual July alumni reunion in July 2020 because of the pandemic, we did have a successful Aaron “Sneezy” Smith Annual Alumni Golf Outing.

WE’RE STILL HERE! Are you still here? We have started planning activities for this year’s annual Alumni Weekend.

2021 is a year of promise; and we began this year with a new goal:

Fewer alumni executive board meetings but more activities.

We hope it works!

            First, some history: The Alumni Association has participated in several activities every year (some of these annual activities for our lifespan of 37 years). Examples include celebrating graduating seniors and awarding scholarships in the Spring, Homecoming in the Fall, and the Annual Alumni Reunion in the Summer. More recently they also include two newsletters a year and annual elections of officers.

            Secondly, we reflected on these traditional activities and annual duties this past fall when we asked ourselves: how should we plan for the year ahead? How can we be accountable for their effectiveness and success? We decided to form what we call Project Groups, groups that take on and manage our activities and events.

            Each group is managed by a member of the board to get started. We ask you to become involved, too. What are your areas of interest? Take a look at our Project Groups below…we’d love to hear from you. Which ones interest you?

            Third, Project Groups are meant to make sure activities and events are fulfilling our commitment to Garrett alumni: “Staying on track, together, through the decades!” while contributing to our beloved GKB schools and beloved hometown in beneficial ways. Meanwhile – we’ll limit executive board meetings to four a year (rather than the usual eleven).  

            Finally, our four Standing Committees fulfill other purposes and round out the work of the Alumni Association. All of these are intended to be purposeful, focused, and working groups.

            We’d love your feedback; we’d love to learn about your interests, too. If you’d like to get involved, let us know that, too! Any and all groups are open for your ideas and your involvement!

Project Groups

Graduating GHS Seniors Recognition: Linda Anderson

My plan is to keep on “TRACK” with Garrett High school as to what we as the alumni association can do for our new and upcoming alumni as far as honoring them and congratulating them at graduation time.

Governance: Bob Johoski

· Stay current with the management and control documents of Tax-Free Organizations.

· Update and submit for approval recommended changes to the control and governing documents of the Alumni Association and the Alumni Trust Association, keeping them in line with current practices.

· Coordinate with the Nominating Committee and manage the process of the annual election of officers of the Alumni Association and the Alumni Trust Association

Newsletter: Jenny Teders

The goal of our group is to keep all Garrett Schools Alumni informed on news and activities of the Association. We also work to grow our membership by publishing our newsletter on our blog.

GKB Schools Service: Jacob Barnhart

The GKB Service Group works to assist the school and other community organizations in continuing and creating resources that help meet the needs of the school and its students. With the goal of bettering the education and lives for our future alum.

Membership: Chris Smith

Our focus is how to increase our membership by identifying avenues to find class contacts and obtain emails for mailings. We need to make our graduating seniors aware of the association by obtaining their email address for the future. (A Reminder: Membership dues are only $10 per year, covering July to July. Find the membership form on our blog at Please send it in!)

GKB Schools Events: Beth Novy

This group focuses on events linked to the schools: Homecoming, the Hall of Fame, and the Wall of Honor celebrations, as well as other school events.

Alumni Apparel: Carley McBride-Lowe

When someone purchases a Garrett Schools Alumni t-shirt or sweatshirt from MJS Apparel, part of the proceeds go to the scholarship fund to benefit selected GHS graduating seniors. This group manages the venues for sales and other plans for our apparel.

Standing Committees (required by our Bylaws)

Publicity Committee: Jesse Pepple, Chair

“The Publicity Committee must promote the activities of the Association via any and all of the media available to them throughout the year.” (Bylaws, 03.11.19)

Nominating Committee: Judy Snider, Chair

“The Nominating Committee must be appointed as provided in Section 3 of Article V of these Bylaws.” (Article VIII, Bylaws, 03.11.19)

Reunion Committee: Carolyn Ridenour, Chair

“The Reunion Committee must plan, staff and manage all of the activities occurring during Alumni Weekend each year. Any required sub-committees required can be appointed by the committee.” (Article VIII, Bylaws, 03.11.19)

Historian Committee: (currently vacant)

“The Historian Committee must maintain and expand the recorded history of the Alumni Association as required.”) (Article VIII, Bylaws, 03.11.19)

If you want to be involved in any of the above groups or committees, please let us know. If not, just let us know what you think. We welcome all replies!

Check back to this site periodically to see updated Garrett Schools Alumni Association news!

Carolyn Ridenour, President

Garrett Schools Alumni Association

Contact us at:

Find us on Facebook GarrettSchoolsAlumni

Garrett Schools Alumni Association Annual Reunion Weekend – July 16-18, 2021

MARK YOUR CALENDAR for the Annual Garrett Schools Alumni Reunion July 16-18, 2021. Every year GHS and St. Joseph’s Catholic School Alumni look forward to this annual gathering however, St. Joseph’s Catholic School Alumni Reunion will not be holding their event.   Because of COVID-19, in 2020 our reunion was limited to the Aaron “Sneezy” Smith Annual Alumni Golf Outing. We don’t yet know what the 2021 reunion will entail. The Executive Board is looking at possible ways to carry out our yearly celebration that is safe and compliant with CDC Guidelines.  

WATCH THIS SPACE for updates regarding the Alumni reunion!

Contact us at

Fall 2020 Newsletter

Our Fall Newsletter comes in a year with many cancellations, including most of our activities for the Alumni Reunion Weekend. We were able to have our Annual Golf Outing.
We have continued our 20 by 20 campaign to raise $20,000 in 2020 for our scholarship fund. Please consider giving to this fund which gives college scholarships to GHS seniors.
We also have our membership drive going on. If you have not paid your 2020 membership, please send it in this year. There is a membership form below. You can print it off, or just include the needed information with your membership payment.
We hope to see everyone in 2021 for the Alumni Reunion Weekend. Mark your calendar now!

Thank you to KPC News for providing us with these additional pictures from the golf outing:

Dawn DePew Comment (1976), Juiie DePew (1987), Mary Kay Yoder Weeks (1970) and Gretchen Duch participated in the annual Garrett Alumni Golf Outing on July 17 at Garrett Country Club.
The Kleeman Team, featuring, from left, Tom Kleeman (1974), Mike Kleeman (1976), Herb Kleeman (1942), and Pat Kleeman (1977), participated in this year’s alumni golf outing, carding a 61 to finish in sixth place.
Members of the Class of 1966, including Randy Rupp, Bill Yoder, Steve Mansfield and Denny Worden, scored a 64 to finish in 11th place at the Garrett Alumni golf outing.
Joe Mansfield (1973), Paul Beber (1977), Ed Beber (2002) and Matthew Kurtz (2010) participated in this year’s Garrett Alumni Golf Outing on July 19, scoring a 76.
This team comprised of Matt Crabill (1999), Justin Crabill (2005), Mitchell Getts (2007) and Bruce Getts (1978) participated in this year’s Garrett Alumni Golf Outing on July 19. They scored a 68 in the contest.
Teammates Jed Feagler (1979), Greg Heal (1982), Mark Feagler (1976) and Mike Esselburn (1974) were among 80 golfers in the Garrett Alumni golf outing. They finished in 8th place with a 62.
The team of Paul Surfus (1974), Paul Saylor (2002), Mark Steigmeyer (1983) and Kyle Branscum (2004) finished in third place with a 60 in the Garrett Alumni golf outing.
Teammates Kip Maggert (1986), Tim Vogel (1986), Chris Vogel (1999) and Steve Bowman (1985) scored a 65 in this year’s outing.
Members of the Class of 1988, including Bryan Vogel, Todd Sattison, Dan Weimer and Clay Beber, finished with a score of 62 in the Garrett Alumni Golf Outing
Alan Zeigler (1988), Jason Hopkins (1999), Troy Hopkins Jr. (1995) and Eric McCartney (2006) joined up for this year’s Garrett Alumni Golf Outing event. They finished in fifth place at 67.

Support our Hometown!!

The Garrett Schools Alumni Association will be making a contribution to support the Garrett Mural Fest.

We are asking you, as a Garrett Schools Alumni, to join us in supporting the City of Garrett.

If you haven’t been following along with this amazing project, these are just a few pictures of the breathtaking mural on the side of Garrett City Hall.

Following is a letter from the mayor of Garrett. You find a link in his letter to make a donation. The Garrett Alumni Association thanks you for your consideration.

To All Railroaders and Garrett Supporters

We have been humbled and inspired by the process of getting out first mural on the side of Garrett City Hall for the Northeast Indiana Partnership and NEI Mural Fest! We have seen in such a short time how much positivity and pride this has poured into our community.

Let’s do this again!!  Phase II will help us raise funds for another mural to possibly go on the side of Shorty’s Steakhouse or continue on with the one on City Hall.  Patronicity is a statewide matching grant fund program, so if we raise $10,000.00, the state (Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority) will match it and Garrett will have a total of $20,000.00.  Our goal is to raise $10,000.00!

Whether you can give $2, $10 or $200 we will be forever grateful in the artist growth and community pride you have helped support!   The deadline for donations will be October 30, 2020. [update: the deadline has been extended to November 15, 2020.]

Please visit the following site for additional information or to make and online donation.!/

You may also contact us with any questions.

Thank you very much!

Mayor Todd Fiandt

Rick Reeves, GHS Class of 1961

Paying Greatness Forward

            “A good coach improves your game. A great coach improves your life.” These words are those of the famous John Wooden, one of the winningest college coaches in US history. Rick Reeves, GHS Class of 1961, knew just such great coaches in Garrett. His basketball coach in junior high school was Robert Harman; and as a freshman, it was Dick Capin. He looks back now and says, “It was a fun and learning experience all three of those years (grades 7-8-9).”  He goes on to recall that Ward Smith was the coach for varsity and JV for grades 10-11-12. Of Coach Smith, Reeves remembers, “He was very fair and you always knew who was in charge.”

            Life shifts powerfully during summer 1961. Reeves’s life was changed dramatically in his senior year with first-year teacher/assistant basketball coach, Bill Schafer. He coached the freshman basketball team and assisted Coach Ward Smith for the Varsity and JV teams. Reeves immediately said “yes” when Schafer asked Reeves to help him coach the “newly formed summer Colt League Baseball Team.” During that 1961 summer, according to Reeves, Schafer “kept asking me what my plans were for the next year.” Aware that he truly had no plans and no goals, Reeves recalls, “Finally I told him I would probably join the Army.” Coach Schafer replied, “No, you are going to college.”

            Surprised, Reeves learned that Schafer had already talked with his parents.  He’d argued to them that Rick was academically prepared for college classes and that the finances could be managed. Reeves recalls, “He then drove me down to Ball State Teachers College, took me over to meet Coach Jim Hinga (head basketball coach at BSTC) who said I should enroll and try out for the freshman team.”

            Reeves says that Coach Schafer “took me over to the Dean of Admissions’s office to get properly enrolled.  No problem as I was a resident of Indiana and had graduated from an approved high school. However, since it was late in the summer, I still needed to take some entrance tests and secure approved housing.”

            But, all housing assignments had been made. No rooms remained. Undaunted, Coach Schafer told the Dean of Admissions that the BSTC coach wanted Reeves on the freshman team. According to Reeves, “The Dean said ‘OK’, and then pulled out another listing of campus housing with a note explaining my situation.” Coach Schafer immediately drove Reeves to the first address on the list and Reeves signed a contract for housing. He brings the story to a close, “I took the document back to the Dean of Admissions office and ‘Bing-Bang!’ I was officially a student at Ball State Teachers College!”

            Fast forward to 2020. Reeves and Coach Bill Schafer are still friends in 2020. Reeves says, “He is now retired and lives in Georgia. We remain in close contact. I owe him Big Time.”  

            A loyal alumni association member, Reeves has missed only three of the 35 alumni weekends, two due to serious illness. He’s never missed a 1961 class reunion, having chaired or co-chaired the planning of several.

            Reeves could be the archivist for the Alumni Association, a role he’s played for the nearly six decades since graduating. Lots of GHS’s athletic teams are in his computer files. For some graduating classes his databases include a record of each student’s year by year enrollment in Garrett schools. He maintains a spreadsheet on members of his 1961 graduating class, regularly entering data that monitor class reunions and changes in his classmates’ lives.

            Reeves says that his drive to maintain historical data files might have begun early in life. Robert Harman, his 7th grade history teacher, was central to his growing love of history and recording data. Mr. Harman led students through the history of Indiana. Reeves said he loved “memorizing the ninety-two Indiana counties and their respective county seats.” He adds that Robert Harman was also the junior high coach “of everything – both football and basketball; I’m not sure about track.”

            Back to that “Bing-Bang!”day in summer 1961. That day led to academic success at BSTC and over forty years of teaching history and physical education and coaching. Most impressively, Reeves has deliberately carried on Schafer’s legacy. He says, “I have tried to help my players and students with their post high school plans all of my teaching and coaching years in four different schools in two states, Michigan and Indiana.”

            “A good coach improves your game. A great coach improves your life.”  Like Schafer, Reeves has lived that same quality of Wooden’s “greatness.” Truly a transformational educator, he’s improved the lives and futures of many of his own students and players over four decades. And is still at it.

Carolyn S. Ridenour, 03.29.20

Alumni Officers announced

The Executive Board of the Garrett Schools Alumni Association is pleased to announce the officers for the upcoming year 2020-2021:

  • President Carolyn Ridenour (GHS 1960)
  • 1st Vice President Jenny Teders (GHS 1979)
  • 2nd Vice President Bob Johoski (GHS 1960)
  • 3rd Vice President Linda Anderson (GHS 1967)
  • Recording Secretary Beth Novy (GHS 1973)
  • Corresponding Secretary Chris Smith (GHS 1969)
  • Treasurer Jacob Barnhart (GHS 2010)
  • Assistant Treasurer Carley McBride-Lowe (GHS 2010)

Each year four of the eight officers are elected for a two-year term. The annual meeting of the alumni association (regularly held in July each year) was cancelled due to the coronavirus, preventing our traditional site of elections. Instead, a slate of officers was submitted for approval to members by email and mail in late July. In addition to the elected officers, Judy Snider (GHS 1960) continues to serve this year as Chair of the Nominating Committee and Jesse Pepple (GHS 1995) was appointed to serve as Chair of the Publicity Committee.

20 BY 20 compaign continues

The alumni association is in the final months of its “20 BY 20” fund-raising campaign for the Alumni Trust Fund – the fund providing selected GHS graduates scholarships each spring. The campaign is over half-way to our goal of $20,000 by the end of the year. The association aims to use the money to help put the alumni trust fund on firm footing for the future as well as potentially increasing the monetary amount awarded each student. The association is grateful to all those donors who’ve contributed so far.

We eagerly welcome others who want to join this effort. Please mail donations (checks made out to the Garrett Schools Alumni Trust) to the Garrett Schools Alumni Trust Association, PO Box 55, Garrett.

The alumni association invites all alumni as well as community members to follow our activities on Facebook at GarrettSchoolsAlumni.  Our email address is

2020 Membership Drive

Support the Garrett Schools Alumni Association


Even though we are not able to have our annual Alumni Weekend Celebration lunch at Garrett High School, we still hope you will continue to support the Alumni Association by joining or renewing your membership.

Without our members, we could not provide the support to our schools with the Alumni Scholarships each year. Your membership allows us to operate. We would greatly appreciate a donation to the Scholarship Fund also. This year we awarded four $1500.00 scholarships to GHS seniors. Our goal in 2020 is to raise $20,000. We are well on our way, but need your help. More information will be coming about our “20 by 20 Campaign.”

Click on the link below to print and send in with your membership dues and donations. If you are renewing, please complete the form so we can make sure our records are always up to date.

Membership Form

If you are wanting to sign up for the golf outing along with your membership you can also print out that form:

Golf Registration


Scholarship Golf Outing is July 17th

We are excited to report that we will be holding the Aaron “Sneezy” Smith Annual Alumni Scholarship Golf Outing on Friday, July 17th.

Due to the pandemic, we have had to take the wait and see approach. Thank you for your patience.  After much discussion with Dave Demske at the Garrett Country  Club, he feels very comfortable offering outings and tournaments.  He is following all guidelines to make it as safe as possible for everyone.  Of course, if you do not feel comfortable playing this year, we understand.  Prior to the pandemic, we had been in the process of restructuring the outing.  You will notice a few changes this year.

Everyone will need to register as a team and pay by July 1. The cost is $50 per golfer.  We are doing an all inclusive price to help alleviate the morning check in lines you have encountered in the past. This will also help with social distancing, as you will not need to go into the clubhouse to get registered.

We are also including prizes in two flights and a skins game as part of your fee. Country Club members will also receive a $10 credit towards their next year’s golf membership.   All the details can be found on this form. Be sure to get your team registered asap because only the first 30 teams paid in full will be playing. No registrations the day of the event.  You can mail in your registration and team payment, or drop it off at the Garrett Country Club.

Click here for Registration Form

All proceeds from this event benefit the Alumni Scholarship Fund.  This year we were able to give $1500 to four Garrett High School graduates!  Our goal is to be able to increase this amount or number of recipients for next year.  We hope you are able to get your team together again this year, or bring in some new friends, family or classmates. Everyone is welcome!

If you have any questions, comment here or email us at

Alumni Weekend 2020

Warm greetings to Garrett Schools Alumni,

For the past months your executive board has seriously deliberated about the annual reunion weekend this year. We’ve decided to significantly limit the reunion due to the health risks of coronavirus pandemic. We have decided to cancel the Saturday lunch and other activities that normally take place on Saturday.  The only alumni association affiliated event this year will be the annual alumni golf outing planned for Friday, July 17, 2020. The event will be managed by the Garrett Country Club personnel following all official state and local guidelines for safe operation. Dave Demske, Garrett Country Club owner, indicates that final registration information will be available around June 1. We will work with him to distribute that information to you. This year we welcome and thank Bob Novy, the new golf director for the alumni association.

Many alumni have enjoyed the Friday night Open House at the American Legion during past annual alumni weekends. This is the legion’s event; and questions about legion’s 2020 plans should be directed to them.

To bring some sunlight into these uncertain days, the alumni association gave Garrett Alumni T-shirts to each of the more than 160 Garrett graduates. In the name of all alums, we are welcoming them into the alumni association.

We’ll keep you updated as the next weeks and months unfold. More information about the golf outing, membership renewal, voting for officers, and plans for our next newsletter will be forthcoming – please watch for it.

Thank you and be safe!

Carolyn Ridenour, President, with
Jenny Teders, Bob Johoski, Linda Anderson, Chris Smith, Ginger Simon, Jacob Barnhart, Carley McBride Lowe

We remember Cleo Talley



Cleo Talley, GHS Class of 1941

Cleo Tally was one of the strongest and most ardent members of the Garrett Schools Alumni Association. With her husband, George, she was one of the founding mothers and fathers of the association in the early 1980s. She was instrumental in planning events throughout the ensuing more than 35 years.

For the very first annual alumni reunion, July 28, 1984, Cleo was on the board of directors, She represented the decade of the 1940s that year and every year following. From that beginning, she was a constant active presence in planning meetings throughout the year; and was inevitably sitting and welcoming alums the day of each alumni reunion gathering. Her energy, her smile, her brisk conversation came from her unique spirit that inspired so many. Everyone could always count on Cleo to get the work done – to keep the alumni association alive. In addition to the day to day, month to month work of the organization, she served as its president for three years. Her advocacy of Garrett Alumni was linked to her stalwart service to the Garrett Historical Society as well.

Always an outstanding champion for the maroon and blue and for the heritage of the City of Garrett, we remember and will miss Cleo Talley, a stalwart alumna to whom we owe so much. Her spirit will always be with Garrett Alums – that is her legacy.