News Feature

Brooklin
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, May 30, 2019
Alumni celebrate the Brooklin High School
Association closes a chapter

Citizenship award

Sharron Ellis is the recipient of the Citizenship award, given out during the annual Brooklin High School alumni dinner on May 25.

Photo by Monique Labbe Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Monique Labbe

The Brooklin High School may have closed its doors 50 years ago, but alumni from graduating classes prior to that have not stopped getting together annually to celebrate their high school years and stay in touch.

On the 50th anniversary, the group tasked with organizing the annual gathering, as well as managing the funds that provide Brooklin students with scholarships for post-secondary education, have decided that 2019 is the last year. The dinner was held for the final time at The Brooklin School on May 25.

“We’re tired, and we’re old, and it just seems like the right time to do it,” said Lorna Grant, who, along with Wade Dow, has been in charge of the Brooklin High School Alumni Association for the last 20 years.

Over the last 15-plus years, Dow said that the group has given a $500 scholarship to at least one Brooklin high school student. Some years, he said, they have given money to as many as five students. That money came from funds that were accrued before the school closed totally about $25,000, as well as donations from alumni over the years.

“When [Grant] and I took over all those years ago, we set a goal to reach this night,” said Dow while addressing the almost 100 people in attendance before dinner. “This is a very heartwarming thing to see all these people here. It’s a mixed emotions type thing. We’re all happy to see each other, but this will probably be the last time all these people are in this school at once.”

Those at the dinner enjoyed a lobster feed with all the trimmings, complete with ribs and mashed potatoes and two different types of dessert. After the meal, a memorial was held for the alumni who died over the last year.

Also in attendance was special guest Carl Hill, who was the last principal to hold that position at Brooklin High School before it closed. Hill looked back on his time at the school during a short speech, and said that he was honored to have been the last high school principal in Brooklin, and thankful for the alumni to have him at their annual dinner.

The group also gave out a citizenship award, something that is done each year at the gathering. Sharron Ellis, who was in attendance with her granddaughter, was the recipient, and was in shock when her name was announced.

“I had no idea,” said Ellis when she received her award. “This is such a wonderful thing, and a great group, and we will miss these dinners. This is a community, truly.”

That sense of community is something Grant said has contributed to the push to keep the annual dinners despite many of the alumni being in their 70s and 80s.

“We know each other, and the families and the generations back,” she said. “I think that’s what has kept us going for so long.”

Also recognized during the event were the kitchen staff that has been helping out with the dinners each year.

“We couldn’t do it without them,” said Dow. “They’re the reason we all eat so well at this thing.”

Remember the younger years

Photos of Brooklin High School alumni throughout their school years are on display during a dinner on May 25.

Photo by Monique Labbe
Citizenship award

Sharron Ellis is the recipient of the Citizenship award, given out during the annual Brooklin High School alumni dinner on May 25.

Photo by Monique Labbe
Welcoming the alumni

Brooklin High School Alumni Association co-president Wade Dow welcomes the alumni to the annual dinner on May 25.

Photo by Monique Labbe
Remembering the dead

A memorial to honor the Brooklin High School alumni who have died over the year is held during a dinner on May 25.

Photo by Monique Labbe
The last principal

Carl Hill, the last principal to serve at Brooklin High School, speaks during an alumni dinner on May 25.

Photo by Monique Labbe
Dinner is served

Brooklin High School alumni enjoy a dinner of lobster, ribs and sides during a dinner on May 25.

Photo by Monique Labbe