Parade Time! This Is Going To Be Big!
It's alumni weekend in Claremont, and if you graduated from Stevens High, you know what that means.
"It's my favorite weekend of the year," says Elyse Crossman, Class of '06. "Quite honestly, it tops the holidays for me."
Take that, Santa!
The highlight of the event is the alumni parade Saturday morning, starting at 10:30. The latest class -- they graduated Thursday night, congrats! -- will style a float reflecting this year's Broadway theme. So will every fifth-year reunion class since 1953.
Fun fact: The Stevens Alumni Association, which throws this party, is the oldest active alumni association in the country -- 147 years! This year the parade itself turns 70.
The weather is going to be great -- because, Crossman says, it only rains during her reunion years. She expects to see a thousand people line the parade route, maybe more. "I'm probably being conservative."
Crossman last marched in 2016, her tenth reunion year. The theme was a book published in your graduation year; the Class of '06 rolled with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Their float featured the Great Hall, complete with floating candles. As many as 50 of her 130 or so classmates participated.
Crossman's 10th year reunion coincided with her father Raymond Gagnon's 50th. He's an alum of St. Mary's High School, whose graduates are welcomed in the parade, too.
Father and daughter on parade day, 2016. He's a state rep and former mayor. She's director of the Chamber of Commerce. Guess which one has more friends on Facebook.
After the parade wraps up, the party keeps going. There's an alumni luncheon and a Saturday evening banquet, when the alumni association will present 69 scholarships totaling more than $100,000 in value. Later, individual class reunions begin at spots like the Common Man and Arrowhead Recreation Area. Restaurants will be packed.
It's a good time -- and an important one, too.
"It is a really prideful weekend here," Crossman says, "not just for the school but in the community."