Bath High School Alumni Association will host its 126th alumni weekend June 9-11. Alumni from class years that end in 2s and 7s, 2017 Morse seniors, and other alumni are invited to celebrate the “glory of the Blue and White” in a run-up to graduation on Sunday at 2 p.m., at McMann Athletic Complex.

Downtown businesses are getting in on the party, too, by decorating their windows for reunion classes. Check out 1952 at Ornament; 1967, Pitter Patter; 1972, Now You’re Cooking; 1977 and 1982, House of Logan; 1992, City Drawers; 1997, J’adore Consignment; 2007, Mustard Seed Bookstore; and Bath High School Alumni Association at Bath Printers. More may be added in the coming days, as businesses have until June 7 to mount a display.

Alumni weekend events begin with the Blue and White Golf Classic, hosted by the 50-year reunion—1967— class, on June 9 at Bath Golf Club. Registration is at 7:15, and tee time is 8 a.m.: $75 or $375 for a five-person team. For more information, email Brian Hatch (‘68) at [email protected]

More fun is in store Friday night at the Alumni Social (usually referred to as the “Icebreaker Dance”) from 7 to 11 p.m., at Kennebec Tavern. DJ Cory Creamer (‘99) will play tunes from many eras for alumni and guests of any year. Donations help defray the cost of alumni banquet meals the association buys for the senior class, and other honorary guests.

On Saturday, the association will host the Shipbuilders’ Sprint at 9 a.m., starting at Morse. There will also be a kids’ one-mile Fun Run. Registration is $25, and more information can be found at shipbuilderssprint.com. An open house at Morse High School from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. will include tours of the school, alumni room, and sales of school memorabilia.

The big event — that is, besides graduation — is the annual alumni banquet at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, at Bath Middle School. Much more on that in my Q-and-A with current, future and past presidents of the Bath High School Alumni Association. An important note: If you don’t have your tickets already, it’s too late. Online ticket sales ended May 31.

Current president Brad Walfield (‘82), incoming president Ann London (‘80) and former presidents Holly Bisson Lowe (‘79) and Troy Cunningham (‘87) offered great insight into what makes this night so special.

Many answers reflect the association’s mission: “To encourage sociability among the graduates, to aid in promoting the welfare of Morse High School, and to plan and oversee the annual alumni weekend events and to promote and educate future MHS graduates on the history and tradition of the association.”

Q: Why Bath Alumni and not Morse?
Troy: “In 1891, a small group of Bath High School graduates met and formed the Bath High School Alumni Association.”
(Editor’s Note: To keep the distinction as the “oldest alumni association in the country,” the group cannot change its name. Morse did not become the name of the high school until 1904.)

Q: What makes this association unique?
Ann: “We believe we are the oldest, largest and most active high school alumni association in the U.S.”
Brad: “When I ask friends from other towns about their reunions, they say they may hear from their alma mater every five years, but they don’t have an annual event where alumni of all years are brought together to celebrate, that’s a very special thing.”

Q: How many students have graduated from Bath and Morse High Schools?
Troy: “Somewhere around 15,696!”

Q: How many students and alumni attend the banquet?
Ann: “On average, I would say 500.”
Troy: “From 1930 until 1964, the banquet was in the ‘Pit’ at Morse High School, a very crowded situation as numbers up to 600 attended. After 1964 with the middle school gym in use, the alumni were able to use that as it could hold numbers up to over 900. I think 1991 broke the record with 960 in attendance.”

Q: What occurs at the banquet?
Holly: “All reunion classes (five-year increments) are given space prior to the banquet to hold their class meeting, then are led into the gym. The association celebrates the seniors, 70-plus year graduates and invited guests with complimentary dinners. In 1996, we began the tradition of honoring an active alumna with a Morse chair.”
Troy: “The oldest graduate present at the banquet comes in to a thunderous ovation. The roll call … is taken where the reunion classes each have speakers who offer some words of advice to the graduates, normally announce who traveled the farthest from their class, which classmates may have family who have reunions, as well as current graduates, and to present class gifts which can total anywhere between $75,000 and $90,000 before the evening is over.”

Q: What’s your favorite thing about alumni weekend?
Ann: “The spirit and camaraderie, reminiscing, the stories from generations about what life was like in the halls of Morse High … Priceless. And when the 50 year class and seniors enter into the gym at the banquet to everyone standing, clapping and singing the ‘Blue and the White!’”
Brad: “It’s more than just Morse, it’s a community thing. From hosting and sponsoring events to decking the town out in blue and white, the school pride permeates the community.”

Q: What’s new this year?
Ann: “A change in officers, a new caterer, the Shipbuilders’ Sprint and a new class, 2017, being inducted into the alumni association.”

Q: What would you like to see in the association’s future?
Ann: “We need to look at how we can engage future generations to come back and be involved with the association in some way. They are key to keeping the traditions alive.”

Tamara Lilly (‘86) is, among many other notable things, a Morse High School graduate.