Many of the guests spent time looking through old yearbooks on display, thumbing through the pages and taking a walk back down memory lane. The classes of 1942 and 1957 were the honor classes at this year’s dinner - marking their 65th year and 80th year since graduation. They were also the graduation years of the two alumni receiving the Distinguished Alumni awards. Conrad Beeler was honored from the Class of 1942 and Robert “Bob” Williams received the honor representing the class of 1957.
Randy Eggers, President of the TK Alumni Association said he was very happy the dinner was able to take place again this year after taking a two-year hiatus due to COVID. “I’m so glad we’re able to be back together,” said Eggers.
He gave a brief history of how TK Schools came to be after rural schools were incorporated in 1931 to become the Thornapple Kellogg W.K. Kellogg Rural Agricultural School.
“We are all unique in the fact we are one of 11,223 graduates of Thornapple Kellogg,” said Eggers. “A lot of things have changed over the years and will continue to change. But one thing will never change - we will all be TK Alumni!”
The TK Alumni Association started in 2016. One of their first missions was to provide scholarships to graduating seniors. The first one was awarded in 2018 and in 2022, two $750 scholarships will be presented.
Eggers said the accomplishments of so many TK alumni is outstanding. “We grew up in this little farming community and now look at the impact our alumni have gone on to make in the world. It's amazing,” said Eggers. “We have a published author, a luthier, a judge, many lawyers, doctors, nurses and teachers - all graduates of TK. We have graduates who are truck drivers, farmers, fire and EMS, factory workers and housewives and house husbands. We have a video producer who works in Dubai creating videos for the Discovery Channel and National Geographic. We have a University of Michigan professor. It’s great seeing where our graduates are going now and what they are doing in the world.”
The Alumni Association encourages alumni to send a photo of themselves wearing an alumni t-shirt as they travel the world and have put together a collection that spans the globe. Eggers said he hopes all alumni will remember their years at TK with pride - whether they attended TK for their entire school career or just a short time.
As the school fight song began to play, everyone rose to clap along and sing out the words. “Fight right through to victory, Let our motto guide us, We're’ the team of mighty men, we'll take it to the very end, And never falter, never fail, our school will never die. Fight! Fight! Come on team Fight! Victory for TK High.”
“Cheerleaders never forget the words,” said Karen Page-Kennedy, Class of 1976, after she sang out the words proudly.
Besides scholarship and fellowship, the Alumni Association also works to honor distinguished alumni. So far, 12 have received the honor which are presented at homecoming and at the alumni banquet. Beeler and Williams now join the prestigious group.
Upcoming events for the Alumni Association include awarding this year’s Alumni Scholarships to two members of the Class of 2022. Their spring golf outing takes place June 4. They will participate in the Middleville Heritage Days events Aug 20, and will be part of the homecoming 2022 festivities on Oct. 7.
To stay up-to-date with all Alumni events, visit their Facebook page at Thornapple Kellogg Alumni Association, and their page on the TK Website at tkschools.org. Contact the association at [email protected] and find alumni t-shirts and stickers at Thornapple Floral, 8540 Crane Road.
Current TK Alumni Association officers are Randy Eggers, president; Jody (Helrigel) Pratt, vice president; Howie Gragg, secretary; Wanita (Craven) Huizenga, treasurer; and Cindy (Riva) Middlebush, historian. Trustees, representing class years from 1957 through 2007, are Don Williamson, Jaent (Solomon) Geukes, Kim (Anders) Bender, Branda (Kimmey) Seifert, Karen (Page) Kennedy, Barbara (Johnson) Smith, Merry Biggs, Jeana VanderMeulen, Becki (Bass) Hula, Brenda (Swanson) Hess, Amy (Pelli) Porter, and Ahsley Moore.