Monday, June 5, 2023

Exeter and Exeter-Milligan Alumni Banquet Celebrated

Exeter and Exeter-Milligan alumni had a jam packed weekend to celebrate their high school years with classmates, spouses and friends.

Many of the classes held parties throughout the weekend gathering in homes, sheds and meeting places in Exeter and surrounding areas.


Friday night, Twisted Wrench, hosted an outdoor concert in perfect early summer weather that featured Casey Chestnutt, the husband of Claire “Mounce” Chestnutt, Exeter-Milligan class of 2018.  The country western singer is a rising star and also the son of country western icon Mark Chestnutt.

Attendees were encouraged to dress in their favorite Eagle or Timberwolf throwback outfits for the evening concert.

On Saturday morning, there were tours of the Exeter-Milligan school with Kolaches and conversations with retired teachers and administrators of both the Exeter and Exeter-Milligan school district.  Also at the school alumna Allison “Michl” Bitz (2001) was selling and signing copies of her recently published debut novel, “The Unstoppable Bridget Bloom.”

A scavenger hunt designed to highlight fun spots in Exeter took place and the winning team was comprised of the Ekeler siblings (the children of Willy and Ruth Ekeler).

The evening included the alumni banquet held in the Exeter gym.  The evening was hosted by the 10 year class with Taylor Erdkamp who presided over the business meeting to start the evening.  Also during the meeting Alan Songster gave an update on the Exeter-Milligan School Foundation.

After an invocation by Megan Waldron the buffet was opened and class pictures were taken.  The keynote speech was given by Allyson Horne (1993) after everyone had been served.

Horne, who works as the Director of Engagement for the Teammates mentoring program couched her address in terms of  “A Letter to My Younger Self.” She spoke about the challenge of not being athletic to live up to her last name but in identifying her own talents with the help of several of her teachers.

“And it is within the walls of this school that I first learned how to aim that talent.  Through the impact of many encouraging humans – particularly the teachers and staff – I have made a life out of  those gifts and now encourage others to do the same,” explained Horne.

She recalled several of her teachers and mentors at Exeter High school who were her “strength spotters. It is a gift when you see and name the light in another.  It is a gift when someone see and names the light in you.”

Horne related this to her current position with the Teammates mentoring program and how essential mentors are to students today, “when you simply look for what is right about someone, when you name it and help them aim it, you increase their sense of hope.  You help them be more successful. You improve their quality of life.”

After thanking Horne, Erdkamp invited the classes to share stories and introduce their members present.  At the conclusion of the banquet attendees were invited to move to the Legion for dessert and dancing along with a silent auction.

On Sunday, an alumni Road Rally was held with Wade Sluka winning the top prize. In the afternoon a Fat Penny tournament was held in Milligan



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