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A mighty gathering in Sibley

SIBLEY, Iowa -- With summer now in full swing, school reunions are bound to be scheduled during many town celebrations.

For one community of past graduates, though, it's a special time to celebrate the history of the school and the life of every high school graduate at Sibley-Ocheyedan High School from the 1930s up through the current decade.

Alumni of Sibley and Sibley-Ocheyedan High School are gearing up for a trip down memory lane this Fourth of July weekend as they celebrate the third all-school reunion on Friday and Saturday at Sibley-Ocheyedan High School.

Cindy Kemp, co-director of the all-school reunion, explained that many of the reunion events are in conjunction with the events of Sibley's annual Good Ole Summertime festival.

"This is a real exciting time for all the past graduates of Sibley and Sibley-Ocheyedan," Kemp said. "We have over 750 graduates registered from the 1930s all the way up to the present who are planning to attend."

With this being only the third all-school reunion in Sibley, there are a number of events new to the weekend's festivities.

One of the newest features is a two-hour DVD presentation, which every individual will receive upon registration for the weekend's activities.

"The DVD was put together by Dr. Scott Helmers and myself," Kemp explained. "He did the research and wrote up the history, while I helped with music and photos."

The DVD will contain historic facts, photos and music relating to the school's history. Kemp also explained that a yearbook photo will be included in the video of every graduate from Sibley and Sibley-Ocheyedan High School starting from the Class of 1930.

"Every senior will be in this video," Kemp said. "It also has photos of the town and the school from the past, which are really interesting to see. It's a really neat idea to create a DVD like this."

The formations of an all-school alumni band and alumni choir are also two new aspects of the reunion. The band will perform at the reunion program, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday in the high school gymnasium. As part of the performance, the band will feature the school song -- after it has received its new title -- and the "Star Spangled Banner."

"The school song has never had an official title, so we decided to have a contest and vote on a name for the title," Kemp explained. "Anyone can vote all weekend long, and the winning name will be announced at the program."

Kemp is excited for the school song contest, stating this should be one of the activities everyone can enjoy because they all have a connection to the school song.

Also, speakers from each decade will be featured at Saturday night's program. Each speaker will be a past graduate and will focus on the aspects of life during their individual decade.

"We'll have speakers from the '30s and each decade on up through the present decade," Kemp said. "It's should be real entertaining to hear their stories on what it was like for them to be in high school."

Kemp highlighted a few of the topics each speaker will focus on during their individual presentation: the war period, the school's consolidation with Ocheyedan, the introduction of computers to the classroom and the introduction of a new principal.

With a huge all-school reunion, the planning process started more than a year ago, Kemp explained. She believes more than 5,000 graduates have been contacted and are invited to attend the festivities planned for the weekend.

"This should really be a big weekend for Sibley," Kemp said. "It's going to bring a ton of people to town with everything going on -- possibly over 1,000 people who'd come back for the reunion."

All are welcome to join the graduates as they partake in this weekend's Good Ole Summertime and all-school reunion celebration.

"It should be a great time," Kemp said. "There's a lot of catching up to do, and this is a perfect time for old classmates from different age groups to do so."