Golden Bear anniversary lured East grads 'home' today
“Once a Golden Bear, always a Golden Bear” was the mantra heard repeated over-and-over at Saturday’s East High School alumni reunion on the school grounds.
The event was as much a homecoming as a reunion as people wearing their gold and blue East High School shirts from several eras hugged and shook hands with people they may see every Sunday in church or in the neighborhood, or with high school friends they hadn’t seen in years.
The event, organized by the Youngstown East Alumni Association, was also a celebration of the one-year anniversary of the return of the school’s Golden Bear mascot.
When the city schools merged, it caused a disconnect between the school and community, said John Jemison, president of the Alumni Association. One contributor to that separation was the school’s changing the long-standing Golden Bear mascot in the early 2000s to a Panther.
When Youngstown schools CEO Krish Mohip decided in August 2017 to bring the Golden Bear mascot back, it reinvigorated the East High Alumni Association and community support for the school, said Jemison, a 1967 graduate.
“A beacon of hope has been elevated in the school and community. Our efforts are to draw the community together to support our children. We must always put our children first,” Jemison said.
The event, open to the community, included music, food, kids’ activities, a demonstration by the East High cheerleaders, and a program honoring student accomplishments and commemorating the anniversary.
Read more about the event in Sunday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.