GREENVILLE — For 123 years, the Greenville Alumni Association has gathered together in June to celebrate those who have attended school in this community.
For most it is a chance to reconnect with old classmates, have some dinner and just enjoy the fact they grew up in this town.
When Virginia Wood graduated from Greenville in 1937, the average cost for a gallon of gas was 10 cents, J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” was published and Franklin D. Roosevelt began his second term as president.
“I am here celebrating 75 years,” Wood said. “I think I am the only one left.”
She was born in Greenville and lived here her whole life. She joked about her age and shared that she is not the only one from her family to get a diploma from Greenville High School.
“I have had five generations of my family that have graduated from Greenville High School,” Wood said.
Wood’s story represents many alumni that have attended school here and the association offers an entertainment program along with a speaker. This year the speaker was 1975 graduate Dr. Rob Steele.
“I always thought I was going to go into family practice,” Steele said. “Doc Stevens and Bob Rice were always my heroes.”
Even though his career wasn’t delivering babies, Steele became founding shareholder of Michigan PC and is currently running for the University of Michigan Board of Regents.
Steele joked about his childhood in Greenville and how people cared about the children.
“Greenville is an amazing city,” Steele said. “Everybody was looking out for everybody and making sure that you learned what it took to be responsible and successful.”
This was the first time Steele attended the alumni banquet and it was bigger than he thought it would be. He didn’t know what to expect but after attending Steele said he would be back.
“I am impressed and plan on attending in the future,” he said. “They did a great job and obviously the 50-year people had a great turnout.”
Steele’s positive words about how caring the citizens of Greenville are toward those attending school here carried through as the Education Foundation of Greenville presented its Outstanding Alumnus Award. The award was established in 1993 and it honors a graduate of Greenville Public Schools that has been out of high school for 10 years and has enhanced the development of youth and used their talents for the improvement of the quality of life for their community.
This year’s recipient was Tim O’Brien. He has been teaching for 25 years at Greenville and coaches track and field. His wife, Amy, commented on her husband’s dedication to his job and the students he encounters each day during the school year.
“It is very well deserved,” she said. “Tim works very hard and is caring for each of the kids.”
Receiving the award had O’Brien remembering his career at Greenville so far.
“This is great,” he said. “Tonight brought back so many memories from when I started teaching until now.”