Bertha Marr Martin attends 85th year reunion
By Marie Lasater
Adhering to a now century old tradition, the Licking High School Alumni Dinner was held May 7th, at its traditional time, the Saturday before Mother’s Day. Beginning in the early 1970’s the venue has been the Intercounty auditorium.
Since first being held in the year 1916, the Alumni Dinner has been a huge success. Unlike the typical high school reunion, it encompasses all years of graduating alumni, giving old and young a chance to mingle. Attendance ranges annually from 250 to as many as 500 present and former graduates. This year there were 261 attendees.
The importance of the Alumni dinner cannot be underestimated. While many former graduates remain in the area, an equal number plan their vacation to coincide with a trip to Licking. This year’s attendees included folks from Louisiana, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida.
In 1996, the Alumni Dinner almost didn’t happen due to lack of organizers. Sharon Stephens’ son Jimmie was graduating that year, and Linda Friend’s husband Brian was also looking forward to the annual affair, as it was his 20-year reunion. The two women got together and determined the show must go on, and have been coordinating the Alumni Dinner for the past 21 years. This year the planning committee also included Sheila Sturgeon, and Brian Friend served once again as Master of Ceremonies.
Classes are seated by year, giving old friends a perfect opportunity to socialize. Tickets are generally purchased in advance for the event, but attendance is free to graduating high school seniors.
A very special attendee at the 100th Annual Licking Alumni dinner was Bertha Marr Martin who graduated in 1931, making her the person representing the earliest graduating class at the banquet. At the young age of 101, Mrs. Marr entered the auditorium with a beaming smile, and was seated at the front table with her daughter Berna Dean Schultz and son-in-law Elroy Shultz. After leaving high school, Bertha worked at the Courthouse in the Recorder’s office for over 30 years.
Local photographer Janell Duncan was on hand to take group photographs of each graduating class represented at the dinner and also winners of the 2016 Mr. and Miss Senior contest, Robbie Moncrief and Kaileigh Ford, who were announced at the Banquet.
The scrumptious meal was catered by Two Good Cooks Catering, LLC and included roasted pork with barbecue sauce, cheesy potatoes au gratin, seasoned green beans, Ramen noodle slaw, and yeast rolls with butter. Dessert included chocolate fudge cake and strawberry Jell-O cake.