The first assembly of Bonham High School Almuni began with an idea brought forth at the 25-year reunion of the class of 1913, which was held in March 1938. During this gathering, a decision was made to organize an all-school reunion on a regular basis. Following this decision, plans were made to meet in 1940.
The Bonhi Ex-Students Association’s first meeting was held on March 20, 1940 at the high school on Main Street, where the library served as the banquet hall. Sam Meade presided over the meeting as President. One of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of former superintendents.
World War II caused the original reunion schedule to be interrupted until the year 1947. This reunion banquet was held at the Jones Field Mess Hall, where President John Bacon Saunders welcomed 600 almuni. Special tributes were paid to retired former teachers and board members. Every Bonhi graduating class, with one exception, from 1894 to 1946 was represented. Although the next all-school reunion was scheduled to be held in 1952, the decision was made to change the reunion schedule to years ending in -5 or -0.
In the planning stages for the 1955 reunion, the steering committee discovered that over 3,000 students had graduated Bonham High School since the first commencement in 1894. The committee resolved to launch a campaign to get as many updated addresses of these graduates as possible, thus the beginning of “class reps”. 63 local residents were selected to be class reps for their individual classes. The events featured a Saturday morning registration, followed by an afternoon tea, and ending with a buffet supper held at the football stadium and a dance hosted in the gymnasium. The highlight of the 1955 reunion was the naming and dedication of the first football field as the B.P. Weaks Memorial Stadium. Weaks was a longtime teacher at BHS and instrumental in the success of the previous reunions. The football field named after Weaks is still in use today. As the years passed, the reunion attendance increased. In 1965 over 1,000 registered for the occasion and in 1975, there were 1,114 alumni that registered. For many this was the first time they had learned of the October 19, 1973 fire which had destroyed “their high school”.
June has become the long-standing month for the 5-year reunions to be held since the 60’s. These reunions are scheduled over a weekend and follow the initial format established: registration, class meetings during the day on Saturday, followed by a banquet, program, and entertainment/dance that evening. The evening’s activities have been held at numerous locations through the years, based on attendance and the availability of new venues. Locations have included the Bonham Golf and Country Club, the Bonham Civic Center (Armory), the VFW Hall, and the Dr. Eldon Harrison Building at the Fannin County Multi-Purpose Complex. The Bonham High School Ex-Students Association filed Articles of Incorporation with the State of Texas on December 4, 1985, establishing it as a non-profit organization. The initial Board of Directors were Taylor Ray Williams, Bryan Peeler, Susan Baccus, Mike Whisenhunt, Mike Bethel, Cindy Baker, and Stacy Snead. The Board of Directors changes with each 5-year reunion.
The 2020 Reunion is scheduled for the weekend of June 5th-6th, 2020. It is estimated that there are in excess of 8,000 living Bonham High School Alumni. We are using many sources including, but not limited to, the US Postal Service, e-mail, Facebook, news media, texting and our website to ensure every alumni has access to information about the 2020 Bonham High School All-School Reunion. Without the dedication and passion of every board member and class rep through the years, these events would not be a success. To you we say thank you and see you soon!
*Sources: Excerpts from Tom Scott’s article published in a Special Reunion Edition of “The Bonham Daily Favorite” on June 22, 1995 and the 2015 Bonham High School All-School Reunion website.