The public is invited to attend the A.J. Kent High School Alumni and Friends reunion on June 10.
A.J. Kent High School opened in 1925 and was named after Kentland founder Alexander J. Kent. The school closed its doors in 1966 and the building now serves as the R. Steven Ryan Community Center.
One of the spearheaders of the annual event, Lana (Logan) Harper, said she remembers the first reunion back in 1982 very well.
“It used to be that individual classes would have their own reunions,” said Harper. “But, in 1982 they decided to have it every year because they were having too much trouble keeping track of everybody. Marlene Sondegrath, Dave Miller and I’m sure there were other people involved as well, put together this enormous reunion which was awesome. There must have been about 1000 people there.”
Because the first reunion was so well attended, it was decided that the event would return on an annual basis. This coming reunion will mark the 41 year of the event, with the exception of one missed year in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Harper is part of the Kentland High School Alumni Committee along with active members Dave Miller, Rich Miller, Marlene Sondegerath, John Cassidy, Pam Pitchford, Greg Logan, Cam Molter, and Jill Jabay.
In the past, the reunions have been geared more toward Kentalnd High School attendees and graduates, but Harper said their new focus is creating a more community-minded event and hopes to see plenty of members of the community in attendance.
“We’ve tried in the last two years to encourage the community itself to come, not just the Kentland alums,” she said. “There are so many new people in Kentland and a lot of new activities going on, so we thought this would be an opportunity for people to get to know each other.”
The event has seen positive numbers in the last two years alone, averaging around 90 people.
Harper, who has been gone from the area for nearly 50 years, said she has always had an affinity for the town of Kentland and looks forward to the reunion each and every year.
“People always ask me why I’m so tied to my hometown,” she said. “There’s just something about growing up in a small town where everybody cares about everybody and everyone helps each other out. There was just a lot going on. We were very proud of our school and our sports and our music. That kind of thing is bonding when you’re young.”
Community members looking to book a table for a night of friendship, music, and food may do so by contacting Harper at 765-464-9701 or Pam Pitchford at 317-432-5921.