When the cheering begins on Friday night, some of the loudest voices will be from graduates attending the Burbank-Burroughs Homecoming Game.
A section in the stands will be saved for almost 75 members of the Burbank-Burroughs Alumni Association. A pre-party kicks off the night at 5 p.m. in the parking lot of the Burbank Unified School District office.
The idea to start the association came out of reunion committee discussions that occurred during the planning of the Burbank High School 40th-year reunion for the Class of 1972, said Roberta Grande Reynolds, a graduate of that class who today serves as president of the Burbank School Board.
“I noted a continuing theme of a desire to ‘give back’ to our schools in an ongoing, community wide way,” she said. “As we developed this conversation, two members of the class of 1972, Randy Arrington, Burbank High Class of ’72, and Joanne Lento Miller, John Burroughs Class of ’72, stepped forward with the energy to make this happen. We began working with Emilio Urioste, the director of secondary education at that time, and the association was born.”
Miller thought that forming the joint alumni association was a perfect opportunity to become involved in her alma mater again.
“When we meet up with fellow graduates, it’s almost like we saw them yesterday in class,” she said. “There’s a special bond we share with former classmates.”
The focus of the preliminary discussions was always on giving back to the schools through
mentoring opportunities, apprenticeships, fundraising opportunities and volunteering at the schools, said Urioste, now director of adult education with the school district and liaison between the district and the association.
“They wanted to pattern [the association] after organizations that exist at university levels such as very active alumni associations like the one at USC,” Urioste said.
In addition to providing a chance for graduates from both schools to meet or re-connect, Reynolds sees it as a way for graduates to support the schools and promote interaction with today’s students.
“As board president, I believe that a community wide joint alumni association could be very important in providing for broad-based community support for all of our schools through the engagement of alumni, family and friends,” she said.
As the organization grows, members will also raise funds for scholarships for graduating high school seniors. And, of course, there will be lots of socializing events like the Homecoming Game.
The pre-party begins at 5 p.m. in the parking lot across from the district office at Olive Avenue and Parish Place. As the 7 p.m. kick-off time approaches, graduates will walk over to Memorial Field and have the option of sitting in a block of seats saved for the group.
The $20 per person ticket covers the cost of a taco plate, beverage (soda/water) and game admission. No alcohol is permitted since it’s a school function. Graduates can pre-pay by sending a check to: Alumni Association, 2527 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, 91505 (cash can also be dropped off at that location) or pay at the door.
“We need something that is festive but that is also exciting and brings people together, to be an outreach and recruiting mechanism and I can’t think of a better activity than something that brings out the entire community from both high schools than the Homecoming Game,” Urioste said.
The association is a perfect fit for the community, he added, because graduates still have a tremendous connection to their high schools and classmates.