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 GarrettSchoolsAlumni@gmail.com.

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 GarrettSchoolsAlumni@gmail.com.

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.

Alumni Weekend 2020?

We’ve been looking forward to our 37th Annual Alumni Reunion, scheduled for July 17-19, 2020, just three months away! It’s the highlight of each year for us and, we hope, for all of you. However, we’re not in normal times.

The coronavirus pandemic has interrupted normal life. Everyone’s activities and behaviors have needed to change. Right now all is uncertain. Our usual planning for the reunion is not possible, and as a result, carrying out our July reunion weekend is uncertain, too.

As the next weeks and months go by, we’ll send an update when we have news to share. We will keep in touch with the businesses and organizations who play a role in every reunion weekend (the Country Club, the Legion, the Mayor’s Office, and others), and will let you know the plans from each group, as they become more certain.

Updates can be found on our blog (www.GarrettSchoolsAlumni.com), Facebook page (Garrett Schools Alumni), and check for our emails. We welcome your thoughts and ideas, too!

Registration for various events and membership has always been through our newsletter, ON TRACK.  The Spring edition is on hold for now.  Again, check social media for updates, and be safe!

With Undaunted Railroader Spirit,

Garrett Schools Alumni Association Executive Board

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

Alumni Celebration

Garrett Schools Alumni Association is ready for a FUN-FILLED WEEKEND!!!  Make sure your calendar is marked for the ALUMNI WEEKEND July 19-21.

Click here to see the entire newsletter with all the details of all the events going on around town! Reservations need to be in by July 1.  Don’t wait until the last minute, send it in today!!

Please post in the comments if your class is having a reunion anytime this summer.  We would also like to know if your class meets on a regular basis.


“On Track” Newsletter

We have mailed the first edition of the ON TRACK newsletter!

We will be posting the complete newsletter here next week, but we do want to take a minute to explain 3 forms you will find in the newsletter.  We also want to let you know if you don’t receive the newsletter in the mail, you can print off the forms here and send in your various registrations!  Forms are due by July 1st.


This form is for EVERYONE!  This is the form you will use to send in your annual membership dues.  Also, please consider making a donation to the Scholarship Fund!   This year’s membership dues are just $5 per person.  All graduates or those who have attended a Garrett School are eligible for membership.  Those that are spouses of alumni, teachers, or administrators, are eligible for Affiliate membership.  Just fill out this form with all the information, enclose your membership dues and scholarship donation, and drop it in the mail!


This form is for the CELEBRATION on Saturday at Garrett High School.  The Celebration includes a lunch.  Just fill out this form, choose your sandwich, and enclose the $12 reservation.  Drop it in the mail along with your membership form!  (one check for everything is fine.)


This form is for those wanting to take part in the golf outing on Friday morning.  The structure of the outing is the same. If you want to send in one form with everyone’s name, that is great. If you send in yours individually, that works too.  You will pay your golf registration and green fees on Friday morning at the outing.  The change we have made: membership will be separate.  You can send your membership form in with the golf registration.  As stated above, membership is just $5.  Your entire $10 golf fee goes entirely to the SCHOLARSHIP FUND!     This form can be sent in along with your membership form and dues and box lunch reservation.

I hope this will help everyone as you read through the 8 page newsletter.  Lots of information…..Lots of things going on….Lots of FUN!!  The entire newsletter will be posted here next week.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact any board member, or comment on this blog.  We will get back to you as quickly as possible.

MembershipRenewalApplication   LunchReservation   GolfOutingRegistrationForm

Sneak Peek…

How many of you are excited for the upcoming Alumni Weekend, July 19-21?  Who is planning to be in Garrett on that weekend?  We have a lot of activities planned for all 3 days!

The “On Track” newsletter will be going in the mail very soon!  It includes 3 forms:  membership form, golf registration, and lunch reservation.  Also a ton of information on all the activities going on.

Take a look at just the front page of “On Track”, you can see everything that is going on that weekend.  Watch your mail for the complete, 8-page newsletter for all the details.  We will also be posting the complete newsletter here on the blog next week.