The intent to form the Chariton High School Alumni Association (CHSSA) was announced at the Homecoming Assembly in October 2005. Earlier that summer, alumni organized a tribute to vocal music teacher Michael D. Deatz in honor of his 25 years of directing musicals for the school. Fifty alumni from 12 states returned to perform songs from all of Deatz’s shows from the past 25 years. Over $25,000 also was raised by the event and was used to update the sound and lighting systems at Johnson Auditorium. The tribute was a strong reminder of the pride that alumni still had for their alma mater and consequently inspired the creation of the CHSSA.
People who saw the Alumni Association announcement in the Chariton Newspapers, joined the CHSSA (membership fees were $10 per person) and marked that they were interested in more information about serving on the Board of Directors were invited to be the initial Board. Those who accepted were: Linda Bell Baynes ’68, Janiene Carson Sotter ’81, Kris Milledge Johnston ’79, Shannon Morton Allwood ’90, Tom Shannon ’64, Cynthia Show Chance ’58 and Judy Sipes Besco ’61 all of Chariton; also Kevin Graves ’89 (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Victoria Kent Boyd ’69 (Plymouth, Minn.). The first meeting was held on August 17, 2006 at the Hy-Vee Community Center Meeting Rooms.
The first officers were approved at a meeting on December 2, 2006: Linda Bell Baynes ’68 (President), Victoria Kent Boyd ’69 (Vice-President), Shannon Morton Allwood ’90 (Treasurer) and Kevin Graves ’89 (Secretary). At the same meeting, entries for the CHSSA logo contest were reviewed and the one submitted by Susan Baer (High School Art Teacher) was chosen as the winner. It also was determined that “Alumni Red” would be a darker color of red than “Charger Red” to signify the alumni status.
With the assistance of attorney Ray Meyer ’76, the organization was incorporated on November 29, 2006. Tax exemption status has been requested and is pending. The Alumni Association is not part of Chariton High School, but the two organizations do work together cooperatively.
It is interesting to note that Melody Wilson ’75 (Chariton) found the article below from the Chariton Democrat newspaper. It was from March 3, 1904 and announced a special meeting of the Alumni Association; Alma Clay, Secretary.
See the 1904 Article
Prior to the formation of the new CHSSA, the most significant means of keeping alumni connected in recent years was a website created by Kyle Stierwalt ’78 (Tallahassee, Fla). An alum from each graduating class submitted names from his/her senior yearbook. The website allowed alumni to share their e-mail addresses and included a section to post reunion announcements. In October 2006, Kyle joined forces with the CHSSA sharing both the domain name he created (www.charitonalumni.org) and all the data that had been compiled. The current CHSSA website is maintained by Jeff Banks ’89 (Trophy Club, Texas) and Kevin Graves ’89 (Colorado Springs, Colo.).
Other items of note:
- May 2007: first scholarship presented to a graduating Senior
- May 2007: start annual presentation of Alumni Pin and free one-year membership to Seniors at Graduation
- Sept. 2007: first “Chili and Cinnamon Roll Lunch” held
- Dec. 2007: cutoff for Charter Memberships
- Dec. 2007: “Class Lists” added to the Alumni Association website (most new data entry completed by Maggie Jones ’05)
- July 2008: Advisory Board created (Marcia Masters Fenton ’68 and Heather Johnson Smith ’83 join)
- July 2008: first Strategic Plan facilitated by Victoria Kent Boyd ’69 adopted
- Sept. 2008: Floriculture class in cooperation with FFA and FFA Alumni bring back Homecoming mums
- Sept. 2008: first “Community Pep Rally” and the return of Powderpuff Football, Matress Races and the Bonfire
- Sept. 2008: Lifetime Membership option created
- Sept. 2008: Class of 1953 first to donate a significant gift back to CHS through the Alumni Association; over $2500 raised for additional Senior scholarships
- Sept. 2008: first Alumni scholarship presented
- Dec. 2008: “Chariton High School Alumni Association” Facebook group created
- Feb. 2009: “Chariton-High Alumni-Association” Facebook profile created
- Oct. 2009: first “Alumni Reception” held between the Parade and Football Game
- Oct. 2010: Thelma Saxton from Carpenter’s Hall/Cater 2U turns the “Alumni Reception” into the “Charger Tailgate Party”
- Aug. 2011: 5th Anniversary!
- Sept. 2011: first alum (Frank Mitchell ’51) inducted into Hall of Pride
- Oct. 2014: all Class Lists back to first graduating class of 1878 added to website
- July 2015: CHSAA Endowment Fund established with South Central Iowa Community Foundation
- Aug. 2016: 10th Anniversary!
- May 2017: Awarded over $10,000 in scholarships since the Alumni Association was formed
- May 2019: redesigned website