Palmetto High School grads creating alumni association

By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld….

Pictured (l-r): Karen Procter, Kay Sims-Wilson, Chris Ball, Carol Tragash and Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner meet to create an alumni association and plan the Class of 1971 reunion.

Palmetto Senior High graduates are getting together to create an alumni association and spearheading the effort is Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner (Class of 1970).

“We’re taking the reunion with Class of ‘70 and transitioning it into an alumni association for Palmetto,” Lerner said. “Hopefully the alumni association to be will help the Class of ’71.”

Currently, a steering committee is meeting regularly to plan the Class of ’71’s 40th reunion, scheduled for June 10 and 11.

That reunion will begin with an event at Mike Arnspiger’s art gallery, Artspace MAGQ, 8747 SW 134 St. in the Falls area. Then Saturday, June 11, the reunion moves to the Dadeland Marriott. The Marriott will be the headquarters hotel for out-of-town guests. The reunion is targeting graduates from 1968 to 1972.

The alumni association is being created to help the school and to provide a database of graduates. The hope is by keeping the graduates involved with the school, that when needed, Palmetto officials can have a resource to tap.

The concept came to Lerner when she saw all the things Gulliver graduates do for the school through that school’s alumni association. While Lerner’s two older daughters attended Palmetto like their mom, her youngest went to Gulliver.

The idea of an alumni association is not new. It was tried a decade ago but Lerner is bringing it back. Other public high schools such as Miami Beach and Miami Southwest have strong alumni associations.

“Palmetto has some pretty significant alumni,” she said. “With all the things I’m doing with the schools, it seemed like a no brainer that I revive that effort.”

Palmetto’s principal, Howard Weiner, is in favor of the idea.

“The essence of Miami Palmetto Senior High School is the success story of our alumni,” he said.

Lerner is tag teaming with the upcoming reunion in hopes of building momentum for the alumni association.

One of the difficulties in creating an alumni association is putting together a good alumni database. Although the school recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, and 760 alumni became members of the event’s Facebook page, there are many more alumni whose information needs to be added.

The Class of ’71 hired a reunion company, First Class Reunions, to help with the event, but found the data base for Palmetto to be incomplete, said Carol Tragash (Class of ’71).

“We’re working hard to reach everyone but our data base is ancient,” she said. “Even those who are not planning to attend, if they could go and update their information it will help for future events.”

Tragash attended the Class of ’70’s reunion, the first time she’s been back since her 10th reunion.

“It was just so much fun to share the evening with people either we knew, or experienced the same time of life,” she said.

Palmetto groups are opening their reunions to grads from a range of years. For example, the Class of ’70 welcomed grads from ’68 to ’72.

“Anyone is welcome,” Tragash said. “Someone wrote on our Facebook page, ‘but I graduated in 74.’ I really want to encourage everyone to come.”

The cost of attending the Class of ’71 reunion is $145.

Those interested in attending the reunion or updating their information can go to the Palmetto Reunion Facebook page or visit online at <>.

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