Jefferson High School Alumni Association is planning a huge tailgating party for the Oct. 3 Homecoming Game against Roosevelt. The cars will begin lining up on the west side of the football field for the school's 100th birthday festivities.
Alumni are encouraged to bring as many of their fellow classmates, friends, and family as they can. Organizers are also trying to find people with old cars that represent the 10 decades the school has seen.
Following the game, which starts at 7 p.m., there will be alumni dances in the cafeteria and the community room. This year, to create some friendly competition, the class that has the most "spirit" will receive the coveted Spirit Stick.
Maggie Mashia, of the Alumni Association, is encouraging people to help raise money for the association and the school and to help volunteer for the homecoming game. She said they have raised nearly half the money needed for a full-sized reader board for the school and are focused on building up the funds for small scholarships, school improvements and association costs.
This year, the Jefferson Alumni Association has nearly 7,000 active alumni on their mailing lists and have been working to improve Jefferson from the inside out. Members have been actively keeping up the grounds around the school, a project that Mashia says didn't come from the district.
"Something has to change if you want it to be a healthy school," she said.
This year's homecoming coincides with the school's 100th anniversary. Mashia and other volunteers are hoping the special occasion will encourage even more Jefferson alumni to come and support their old school.
"We're trying to build a family around Jefferson," Mashia said. "We feel Jeff has been ostracized … that alumni don't want to come back to the school."
Part of that feeling comes from the perception the school gets in the media – which isn't good. Even a simple Google search for "Jefferson Homecoming Portland" hits on criminal events that took place near Portland's oldest high school before information about the homecoming is revealed.
But with community support, Mashia and others are hoping to change all that. A volunteer program, lead by alumnus Daniel Capuia, is entering its second year and has brought professionals and tutors into the school to help students with homework and become their mentors.
In May of 2009, the school will celebrate its centennial with a number of events, including a banquet, a golf tournament, performances and a special concert by the Kingsmen of "Louie, Louie" fame.
As a special bonus for Jefferson Alumni, a discount is being offered on the Broadway musical "The Color Purple." The award-winning Broadway musical is touring the country and will be performing in Portland from Dec. 30 to Jan. 4. Alumni, friends and family can receive discounts on Dec. 30, 31 and Jan. 1, 4. Prices start at $26 and $10 of every ticket sale will go to the Centennial Celebration and the Alumni Association. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.broadwayacrossamerica.com/groupsales. Use the password "jeff100" to obtain the discount.
For more information about the Alumni Association and the Centennial Celebration, visit www.jeffalum.com and www.jeffersoncentennial.com. To volunteer for upcoming events, contact Maggie Mashia at Maggie@bristerandassociates.com.