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October 4, 2012

A big weekend for Oneonta High, grads

Staff Report
The Daily Star

---- — It’s Alumni Weekend at Oneonta High School, and returning grads have a three-day schedule of events from which to choose.

The weekend will get rolling at 8 p.m. Friday, with the Alumni Golf Tournament at Oneonta Country Club.

The cost is $75 per player, which includes a continental breakfast, a full round on the links, a golf cart and an awards luncheon. The association raises funds by charging sponsors $100 a hole to post signs along the course, Alumni Association President Carla Palmer Balnis said.

That will be followed by a 6 p.m. alumni gathering at the Oneonta Armory.

Balnis, from the class of 1982, said that’s the association’s biggest event of the weekend, with 500 to 550 alums attending. Admission is $10, and food and beverages will be available. At least one alumna from the class of 1937 is likely to attend, she said.

The Alumni Association is something of a family tradition for Balnis.

“I was vice president for the past two years under Mike Maben,” she said. “And I have been a member since it was established. My mother, Madeline Palmer, was one of five co-founders.”

“I watched her and four others start this up over a couple of cups of coffee and talk about what they could do,” she added. “And then, all of a sudden, we’re looking back and thinking, ‘Wow, we’re giving out thousands of dollars of scholarships every year.’”

The association distributes $5,000 to $7,000 in scholarship money each year, Balnis said. Some of that money comes from the association’s coffers, and some of it comes from scholarship funds it administers.

The big day for the high school and its grads will be Saturday, with an alumni awards ceremony scheduled for noon at the high school, preceded at 11:30 a.m. by a private gathering of the honorees.

Mark Simonson, class of 1976, has been named alumnus of the year, and new members of the school’s Wall of Distinction and Athletic Hall of Fame also will be feted.

Then it will be off to the football field, where a tailgate party, sponsored by the school’s Booster Club, will start at 1:30 p.m., followed by Oneonta High’s homecoming game against Owego High School.

The weekend’s festivities will end Sunday, with a farewell breakfast at 8 a.m. in the Oneonta Elks Club lodge sponsored by the Lady Elks.

At 10:45 a.m., the 19th annual Pit Run will get started at Main and River streets. The run honors the memory of Ricky J. “Pit” Parisian, a state police investigator who was shot dead in 1994 as he tried to stop an armed supermarket robbery while off duty. Parisian was an Oneonta High graduate.

The run features 10- and 5-kilometer races, along with a 2-mile stroll and events for children.

The History Center at 183 Main St. will be open throughout the weekend, with a player-piano marathon from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday.