CHESTER, Vt. – Alumni of Chester High School and Green Mountain Union High School and their families came from all over the U.S. to join over 200 local members of the community as they gathered by Lisai’s Market in the heart of Chester last Saturday, June 9, for their annual alumni parade. Since 1899, graduates of CHS/GMUHS have gathered to celebrate each other, catch up with old friends, and support members of the graduating class. The weekend is filled with festivities, with a dance held at the Chester Legion, American Legion Post 67, Friday night, the parade Saturday morning, and an outdoor banquet for an opportunity to enjoy a cookout and to visit with alumni from years dating back to 1944. The Class of 1978 celebrated their 40th reunion, and had the largest attendance this year.
The Chester, Londonderry, Proctorsville, and Weston fire departments brought fire trucks, and the oldest fire truck in town, from 1931, was up and running. Within the theme of “Landmarks” for the best of the year, competition was steep. For attention to detail, class participation, and a bonus for moving parts, first place was awarded to the Class of 1983, second to the Class of 1968, and third to the Class of 2018, this year’s graduating class. Next year, the parade will be on the second Saturday of June and will have an open theme to encourage the participation of a wider variety of floats.
The Chester Green Mountain Alumni Association organizes this event every year, and for over 100 years they have held the tradition of a parade and given scholarships to graduating seniors pursuing higher education. These students display academic achievement, service and involvement in the community, a strong work ethic, and the perseverance to go the extra mile. The Alumni Association is pleased to award two $1,000 scholarships this year to Eliza Rounds and to Skylar Dailey, both of whom are graduating in the top 10 of their class.
The Chester Green Mountain Alumni Association would like to recognize one of their famous graduates of the Class of 1915, the U.S. Marine Corps Major General Merritt Edson, for his frontline heroic leadership in Pacific island-hopping in World War II, but also for his role in the establishment of the Vermont State Police. “Red Mike” Edson was awarded the Medal of Honor for his combat on the ridge above Guadalcanal Airfield.
Jon Clark, the director of the Chester Green Mountain Alumni Association, would like to recognize and thank the members of the association, President Chris Walker, Vice President Heather Keith, Secretary Ginny Blanchard – who is the oldest alum of Chester High School, having graduated with the Class of 1944, and member Venissa White, who worked with Clark to organize the parade. The former treasurer, Sarah Ellison, stepped down from her role this year after many years of involvement. Clark would like to extend his emphatic appreciation to her on behalf of the Alumni Association and the community.
Clark would also like to recognize the Chester Legion, without which this wouldn’t have been possible, and several local businesses for their support: Lisai’s Market, M&M Excavating, Salon 2000, Benny’s, and the Chester Hardware Store.