WHSAA History

Last Updated: 10/3/2021 6:59 PM

Compiled by Caesar A. Carrino ‘48

Interested in a the history of our city schools? Click here for the full skinny.

Click here for a history of the WHS Sports Hall of Fame and list of honorees.

The Wadsworth High School Alumni Association started in September 5, 1996, when Alan Easterday ’56 convened a group of students from the class of 1956 to plan a multi-class reunion in 1997, the first ever for the school’s alumni.

The committee consisted of the following:

1950 – Ken Koppes and Donna Freidt Maxon

1951 – Bonnie Lecky Crumley and Janice Beck Clifford

1952 – Jean Alcon Geitgey, Barb Friedt Koppes, Persis Nagel Currens

1953 – Kathryn Connell Leatherman, Eileen Hosfeld Ely

1954 – Betty Coppage Beitzel, Ramona Edis Wonov

1955 – Gloria Kramer Sheller, Marilyn Miller Gordon

1956 – Alan Easterday, Jim Moutes

1957 — Shirley Elliot Gorman, Judy Serfass

1958 – Carol Motzko Birkbeck, NoraBelle Weltzein Hontert

1959 – Marilyn Curtis Oplinger, John Bebout

1960 – Jill Marks, Julie Motzko Ruckman

After several months of planning, 350 Wadsworth Alumni met for dinner at Anthe’s on the Lake in Akron. A severe storm knocked down trees and caused extensive damage that night, but the warm feelings felt by the long-lost high school friends overpowered the gale winds outside.

Chairman, Alan Easterday, suggested there be a Wadsworth Alumni Association formed from this gathering. The idea was met with enthusiastic approval. As a result, on September 23, 1997, the alumni association was formed. Members who paid their $20 membership dues for 1998 were considered charter members. Among this group was 100-year-old Marian Stonier ’16, owner of Stonier’s Jewelry on College Street.

The first $500 scholarship was awarded in 1998.

On August 4-6, 2000, the Association held another multi-class reunion. Festivities were spread over several days, with tours of school buildings, a banquet, a picnic and several informal gatherings, with about 200 attending.

Superintendent Dale Fortner was the guest speaker and Caesar Carrino ’48, welcomed the group as Mayor of Wadsworth. He did not stay for the dinner since his class was having a reunion in another part of the Galaxy Restaurant.

Alumni came from California, Idaho, Texas and Florida, as well as from far-away cities in Ohio.

Some were moved to donate large sums of money to the Association. As a result, the Association was $10,000 richer with their donations, giving rise to awarding $1000 scholarships instead of $500.

In 2002, there was much controversy regarding a school bond issue. Alumni were on both sides, and, as a result, there was a schism of sorts in the Alumni Association as it was formed. Although the Association was not officially involved with the controversy, members were. It was the wisdom of the group to start the Wadsworth Schools Alumni Association [as different from the Wadsworth Alumni Association] as a way of separating the Association from the controversy.

In 2004, Dr. Joseph Arpad ’55, returned to Wadsworth after having retired as a professor in California, and became involved with the Association. He was elected Chair in 2006. Under his leadership, the Association gained 501 [c] [3] status as a tax-exempt non-profit corporation.

At that time, the officers were:

Chair: Dr. Joseph Arpad

Vice-Chair: NoraBelle Weltzein Hontert

Treasurer: Ramona Edis Wonov

Co-Secretaries: Marilyn Miller Gordon and Dona Freidt Maxon

Member-at-large: Bonnie Lechy Crumley

Other milestones that occurred during Joe Arpad’s administration included partnering with the Lion’s Club for a tail-gate party at one of the football games; participating in downtown events; selling hot dogs at Buehler’s; developing a directory of alumni; increasing participation in selecting WHS Alumni Meritorious Hall of Fame candidates; organizing a homecoming reunion for all classes every other year; adhering to a business-like method of record keeping; and developing a data base of over 3000 alumni to facilitate instant and inexpensive communication.

As is the case with many organizations that depend on volunteers for success, the Alumni Association began to lose momentum in the period starting with 2010. People moving out of town, illnesses, deaths and other unavoidable events added to the loss of momentum.

With great enthusiasm, Wadsworth began planning for its Bi-Centennial celebration in about 2011 for an astounding blast-off in March, 2014. Several people in the City thought the alumni should be part of the festivities, and, as a result there were word-of-mouth meetings that began to assemble, mostly because the three chairs of the Bi-Centennial Committee – Mayor Robin Lesser Laubaugh’79, Jack Ollom ’69 and Roger Havens ’74 encouraged it.

The first officers were Lori Hanna McIlvaine ’04, Chair, and Jennifer Gill Frisby ’85, Vice-Chair.

The original website was designed/created/maintained by Scott Wolf (WHS Class of 1965) in 2008. The next iteration was created by Kyle Fuson, Jaret Martin, and Nick Ludowese, all members of the WHS class of 2016. The version of the site after that was created by Alex Coiner and Carson Sherrill, both members of the WHS class of 2018.