For the last 12 years, 66-year-old Annie Carpenter coached bowling at Puyallup High School.
She watched her students learn and grow and eventually move on in their academic careers.
But one day a year, some of those students return to the annual Puyallup High School Alumni Association Scholarship Fundraiser event.
And there, Carpenter gets to reconnect with them.
“It’s fun to see some of my kids I’ve worked with,” Carpenter said. “I like to stay connected and ... it just makes you feel good that they remember you.”
It’s fun to see some of my kids I’ve worked with. I like to stay connected and...it just makes you feel good that they remember you.
Annie Carpenter, PHS graduate of 1969
The fundraiser has raised thousands of dollars for scholarships to support PHS students by bringing together alumni of all ages.
Carpenter attends the event every year and is a PHS graduate herself. She graduated in 1969, and became deeply involved with the association years later.
“It’s just kind of fun to see people you haven’t seen in awhile,” Carpenter said. “You get to see classmates anywhere from the 50s to the 90s.”
Carpenter’s Puyallup roots run deep. She moved to downtown Puyallup at 2 years old and has lived there ever since. She met her husband her senior year of high school, who also graduated from PHS. They’ve been married for 48 years.
In 1980, she started working for the Puyallup School District as a paraeducator and stayed there for 20 years. She coached bowling and just gave that up this year, but still works with students to put together the school’s Special Olympics bowling tournament.
Even her two children went through the Puyallup School District. Some of her grandchildren are enrolled now. One of her granddaughters received a scholarship funded by the event, and some other students she knows benefited, too.
“It just makes my heart so proud of them because they’ve worked really hard,” Carpenter said about the recipients.
This year’s event marks the 24th annual fundraiser. The PHS Alumni Association briefly disbanded several years ago, but was kept aloft by some dedicated alumni members, including current association president Chris Kucklick, former association president Jerry Ledbetter and treasurer Patti Jorgensen.
“(The group) went downhill for a period of time and it looks like it’s going uphill again, and it’s good because it’s about the kids,” Carpenter said.
Kucklick said it’s worth carrying on the tradition because PHS is worth it.
“It’s something I personally felt was worth carrying on. I felt that I needed to keep it going,” Kucklick said, thanking his fellow members as well. “It’s fun and an honor to do it.”
It’s something I personally felt was worth carrying on. I felt that I needed to keep it going. It’s fun and an honor to do it.
Chris Kucklick, president of PHS Alumni Association
Carpenter said that one of her favorite parts about living in Puyallup is the sense of community, and she sees that at the fundraiser.
“It’s fun to get everyone together — and not just with your own class,” Carpenter said.
The 24th annual PHS Alumni Association Scholarship Fundraiser is scheduled for Nov. 3 at Station House 726, 427 N. Meridian. A social starts at 5 p.m., with dinner to follow at 6:30 p.m. and live music at 8 p.m. Soulstice, a band based out of Seattle, will perform. The event is also catered by a Puyallup catering company, The Savory and Sweet Cafe and Bakery. Items will be auctioned off and raffled.
Tickets are available at the door and online at 2017phsalumnifundraiser.eventbrite.com. All proceeds support PHS scholarships for graduating seniors.