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Spokane Website runs interference on new Placer High alumni group effort

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - Still in its infancy, an effort to establish a non-profit alumni association for graduates of Auburn’s Placer High School is finding some unsettling competition coming from Spokane, Wash.

The concept of a Placer High alumni association is a grassroots effort that two graduates – Bob Haydon, Class of ’61 and Dick Lawrence, Class of ’62 – are working on.

Haydon said that the school has the Hillmen Foundation for raising money to assist with school project funding.

“But the school doesn’t have an alumni association that would be purely social and work closely on reunions and other activities,” Haydon said.

Both Haydon and Lawrence started to envision bringing an association into being after working on their own grad class 50th anniversary reunions.

Haydon said he and Lawrence share concerns over an e-mail Lawrence received at his home in San Diego asking for $20 to pay for a “lifetime membership” with “Placer Alumni.”

“Many of our alumni missed our membership e-mails over the holidays,” the e-mail from the “Placer Alumni Site” states. “One Jan. 1, we changed to a $20 annual fee but we want to give you one last chance to receive lifetime membership for only $20.”

Haydon, CEO of Community 1st Bank in Auburn, said that he wouldn’t be surprised if some Placer High grads may be receiving the e-mail and wondering whether to submit a payment.

“The timing is interesting,” Haydon said.

But Haydon said the e-mail, which was traced by the Journal to AlumniClass.com based in Spokane, Wash., has no connection to the local alumni association effort.

While the AlumniClass.com site provides information for registered and paid users on high school graduation classes throughout the United States, Haydon said the Auburn-area effort he is part of is moving forward “out of the goodness of our hearts.”

The Journal placed several phone calls Thursday to the phone number listed on the AlumniClass.com Website but a recorded message said no one was available to take the call.  There were no instructions on leaving a message.  An e-mail query was also sent, with no response.

The Placer High School page links to the Auburn’s school’s Web pages for information on sport team schedules. There is also a newsletter page that has information that hasn’t been updated since 2009.

Haydon said that he thinks a Placer High alumni association would serve graduates well. There have already been discussions with the school on providing space in the Earl Crabbe Gym for grads to visit and learn about upcoming reunions and activities.

Lawrence and Haydon said they also envision gathering trophies from disparate areas in the school to be displayed there.

And the location wouldn’t just be for a grad who may live far away and wants to reconnect.

“I was surprised to learn that 40 percent of the Class of 1962 lives within 40 miles of Auburn,” Haydon said.