Vienna-Mathews Alumni Association

The Vienna High School Alumni Association was constituted of graduates of Vienna High School between 1917 and 1961. In 2012, the Association changed its name to the Vienna-Mathews Alumni Association to include graduates of Mathews High School.

The Association held an annual dinner in the Memorial Auditorium in Mathews High School through the year 2019.

The governing body of the organization included a President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, and five Board of Directors positions.

Association History

The first official record of minutes is dated May 11, 1929. The Association met in the high school's auditorium and elected officers for 1930: Margaret Beachler, President, and Harry Scott, Secretary-Treasurer. The Vienna Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) served supper for $1.00 per person.

In 1933 Donna Buckley Landis was elected president and Frances Hayes Waters secretary-treasurer for the next year. Respected teacher Ithel F. Mathews was elected an honorary member of the Association.

The office of vice president was added in 1934. John Pennell was elected president, Paul Shoff was elected vice president, and Louis Tidd Dray was elected secretary-treasurer. The meeting closed with the attendees singling old school songs.

The year 1935 marked another shift in the Association's governance. In addition to the election of Louis Taiclet as president, Harry Scott as vice president, and Margaret Beachler Mealy as secretary-treasurer, a five-member board of directors was also named: Aubrey Hayes, William Mealy, Lyle Hull, John Pennell, and Robert Knauff. On August 3, 1935, the Association sponsored a Homecoming Dance, netting a profit of $14.83. Mothers prepared the supper, served by the junior class members of 1938. The cost was 50 cents a plate.

The demands and sacrifices of World War II (1939-1945) were keenly felt in Vienna. The 1943 meeting was held as a covered dish dinner with 82 members and friends in attendance. The minutes note 66 alumni were then serving in the armed forces. Meetings in 1944 and in 1945 were suspended. Members in the service then numbered 113.

Annual meetings resumed at the War's end and a big celebration was held on Sunday, June 1, 1946. Welcoming the returning servicemen were 158 Association members and friends. A plaque commemorating Vienna High School alumni who had paid the supreme sacrifice during the War was presented to the school and accepted by Superintendent J. H. Wanamaker. The plaque displays the following names: Francis Hayes (Class of 1934), Ray Beachler (Class of 1940), John Terlecky (Class of 1941), Edwin Davis (Class of 1942), and Alwin Curry (Class of 1944).

Association governance changed after the War. In 1948 the Association voted to place automatically the outgoing president on the Board of Directors, thus providing continuity. The cost of the annual dinner rose from $1.00 in 1946 to $1.25 in 1948. Due to increased membership and thus heavier responsibilities, the office of secretary-treasurer was separated in 1950. The next year the Association voted that the secretary and the treasurer each would serve two-year terms. Beginning in 1952, the annual meeting was held in the new high school auditorium, but by 1956 the Vienna Music Boosters began serving the annual dinner and the banquet was moved from the auditorium to the cafeteria.

In 1954, the Association honored the Class of 1929, thus beginning a tradition of noting a class's 25th anniversary.

A June 25, 1959 article from the Suburban Reporter indicated that 115 alumni and friends attended the dinner that year.

The end of the Vienna Township Rural School District came in the fall of 1961, when the townships of Fowler and Vienna consolidated into the Fowler-Vienna School District. The Vienna High School building was renamed Mathews High School, in honor of Ithel F. Mathews.

The Alumni Association in 1965 decided to award an annual scholarship. In 1967 a $50 savings bond was presented to William Butler. The scholarship fund, however, did not grow as anticipated and was discontinued in 1968.

There was round and square dancing advertised on the flyer from 1964. The flyer from 1967 indicated a merit award, or scholarship.

The 50th anniversary of Vienna High School's first graduating class was observed in 1967. A permanent date for the annual meeting, the last Saturday in April, was set in 1968 and in 1969 the tradition of honoring classes commemorating their 50th-year anniversary commenced.

Dorothy Gibson served as Secretary for 29 years. Grace Waldorf McMullen, elected as Treasurer in 1966, was serving in this capacity in 1999.

In 2012 the organization name was changed from the Vienna Alumni Association to the Vienna-Mathews Alumni Association to include Mathews High School graduates.

Vienna-Mathews Alumni Banquet - April 25, 2015Image courtesy of Christine Novicky

In 2017 the Vienna-Mathews Alumni Association celebrated the 100th graduating class. The Association was able to present two $1,000 scholarships to deserving students. An excerpt from the minutes from the 2017 Vienna-Mathews Alumni Association Dinner:

Guests arrived for the Social Hour to find the gymnasium decorated to recognize celebration of the school building's 100th graduating class. Bright balloons and a huge cake with a picture of the school greeted all. President Mike Blake announced dinner promptly at 6:00 pm and welcomed all the guests, especially those attending members of our Honor Class of 1967. Christine Novicky gave the invocation and dinner was served. The delicious dinner was prepared and served by the Saratoga Restaurant. [1]

Vienna-Mathews Alumni Banquet - April 28, 2018Image courtesy of Christine Novicky

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the banquet was cancelled in 2020.

In 2021, after losing several board members and a general lack of interest from younger generations, the annual dinner was cancelled indefinitely and two final scholarships were awarded.

Over a period of ten years, 28 scholarships totaling $21,000 were awarded by the Association.

In May of 2021, Rena (French) Cesta and Christine Novicky created and distributed an annual newsletter via email, and on the Vienna-Mathews Alumni Association's Facebook page, to keep interested alumni informed of alumni-related events.

Vienna-Mathews Alumni Association Scholarship Winners

2012 - Joseph Seifert, Timothy Gealy

2013 - Augusta Fronzaglio, Halle Oatridge, Dayna Sherman

2014 - Kayla Chismark, Dayna Ellis, Joseph Miller

2015 - Tyler Crockett, Michael Kennedy

2016 - Jennifer L. Carlson, Monica M. Davis, Bryan C. Leipply, Bryan R. Oatridge, Sarah E. Thomas

2017 - Stacy L. Romine, Carly L. Sherman

2018 - Alyssa B. Henderson, Brendan P. McEvoy, Emily M. Stama

2019 - Luke S. Culp, Samantha R. Jones, John R. Smith

2020 - Seth R. Arkwright, Cale D. Grimes, James P. Koehler

2021 - Isabella S. Spano, Johnathan S. Carlson

Updated 7/06/2021
This entry is adapted from "Vienna High School Alumni Association," in Vienna, Ohio, "Where We Live and Let Live": Town 4, Range 2 of the Connecticut Western Reserve (Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 1999), pp. 209-210.
[1] Vienna-Mathews Alumni Association minutes, April 29, 2017.