I have been the editor of this newsletter since its inception. It is my job primarily to help the people who lead, communicate with our members. I remain in the background. We now think that I may bring some clarity to issues & challenges we face. So I am creating the Editor’s Corner to discuss pertinent issues in some editions. 

Unsurprisingly, the current issue is money, yes $$$$$$$!  Regardless of the underlining issue, or what the short and long term objectives are, money is required to make them a reality. Before 2003, I ignored the Reunion with a passion.  I cared about the people who I went to school and grew up with, but I viewed the reunion as an elitist group instead of being inclusive of everyone. When I reluctantly showed up, Jerry and Larry Castleberry and others showed me the changes. Despite the fact that we had not been particularly close friends in school, they both made me feel so welcome, at home. We became the best of friends immediately and forever.

It seems so senseless to me to hear people say their feelings had been hurt in school and refuse to come to reunions because of it. . We all were kids who had no clue about real life and real relationships. “When I was child I spoke like a child.…… When I became a man I put away …….  Creating a venue and forum for these friendships is part of our mission and ALL are welcome and encouraged to participate. 

We have also expanded the scope of the organization’s mission. Previously, the board consisted of a group of people that worked hard to put on a great reunion biennially. We now work hard to accomplish this and so very much more. We want to Protect and promote the history and legacy of the African American Community of Gainesville/Hall County, while we prepare for our future. This is so much more than a good party (but makes the party better). 

When we have a cookout, the board members buy the required food with our personal money to increase the profit. Not only do the members of the board pay to attend the reunion, like all do, but we also pay our money over a year in advance so we have seed money to work with. 

Please do not misunderstand me. No one forces the board members to serve or to act in this manner. We have volunteered because we all love the legacy of our community and the future of our youth. Many of you also love what we stand for and know that it requires funding. So we propose that you participate in a proactive and different manner: 

1. If you are willing to pay your Reunion fees now, it will give us money with a net present value equal to more than receiving it by August .  Besides helping your organization, you will benefit by paying 2013 level fees avoiding the increase for 2015. This will be explained in more detail in our next newsletter.

The savings is probably not enough to incent early payment. The love of our mutual causes and a willingness to help accomplish our mission should. 

2. We created a higher level of membership (Tiger Level VIP) offering special recognition at the Reunion for these special members. Again the recognition may not be enough incentive for you to pay $20, but, we hope your love for what we are doing will be.

3. We may not have enough cash to pay for two scholarships this year because the profit from the Golf Tournament was insufficient to do so, for the first time. Only the classes of 1960, 1965, 1967 and 1969 met their commitments and only a few of us sought Corporate Sponsorships.  Class & Corporate Sponsorships are critical to success.  Your class coordinators will be contacting you to contribute to closing this gap. I hope you will respond generously. 

Thank you for listening in earnest. I know you probably cannot contribute to all 3. Chose now what you can do with a little sacrifice. A small sacrifice by each reduces the burden on all.

Please click on my name to email me with comments, ideas, commitments or complaints.



 John W. Harris 

Director of Membership & Communications