East High Alumni Banquet

May 11, 2006


I warned the Board when I was member that you need to be careful giving the microphone to a lawyer, because we have a tendency not to give it back.  I have never known a lawyer who would miss an opportunity to speak, especially to such a great organization as the East High Alumni Association.  We have become the largest organized high school alumni association in the world because we all care about our high school and what it has meant in our lives, and we are willing to do something about it.  No other high school can say as much.  We now have over 15,000 card-carrying members. 


Having served as the President of the East High Alumni Association as well as our Foundation has given me opportunity to see how many people are truly dedicated to the success of our High School and its graduates.  You can imagine how many hours it took to select our scholarship recipients, let alone put on this banquet.  It is an honor to be among you. 


Our 1956 class history goes back over 50 years.  To those who are just graduating 50 years seems like forever.  It is almost 3 times the age of those who are in our current senior class. 


For those of us who have finally achieved the status of being able to sit on the gym floor for each alumni reunion, it seems like only yesterday when we attended gym class in this very room, soon after this addition was built.  We do not feel 50 years older. 


Upon graduation we each went our separate ways to the four corners of the earth.  Collectively we have accomplished many things.  In fact one of our alumni was even responsible for the path of those who made it to the moon, and what the Astronauts did after they got there.  We have literally reached for the stars.  *  (Harold Olsen—see below)


Many of us now reside outside of Iowa.  However, all of us as graduates are here tonight because East High has meant something to each of us for our entire lifetime.


Because we alumni have been so impressed with the “Spirit of East High” we have collectively created the Alumni Foundation that tonight has awarded 67 scholarships in an amount totaling $86,200 -- so that our newest members can attend college -- so that they can become our successors in industry and the professions upon whom we in my class will become more and more dependent as we retire.  It is very important to each of us that we all support our school; and that we help those who follow in our footsteps to succeed.




We have been able to achieve because East High is a great place for each of us to focus our lives toward the future.  Our class has accomplished many good things in life because we received from East High a good foundation upon which we built our lives.  


There is no greater thanks and appreciation for those who gave us the opportunity to succeed in life than to assure that we pass that opportunity on to those who follow us.


To our predecessors, we thank you for giving us the opportunity we have had.  For those that succeed us, we ask that you continue to make us proud of our Alma Mater.


I have been asked to announce that our class has donated money to East High to purchase Boys Basketball uniforms, purchase instruments for the Band, place an engraved stone in the Outdoor Classroom Memory Spiral Walk, and tonight we are presenting this check as a donation to the East High Foundation for the Scholarship Fund.     


Thank you for sharing this evening with the 50th year class of 1956. 


                                                                                    Lyle L. Simpson, ‘56



* Deleted because I did not have Harold’s permission to identify him.


I am not going to identify our class members individually, nor, in the interest of time the great accomplishments of our members, other than to point out that Harold Olsen is the only member of our class to serve as a teacher and counselor at East High School.  He was also responsible for supervising the applicants for East High Scholarships and managing the students for interviews and for our annual banquets for 21 years.