THE HISTORY OF THE MADISON ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
In 1995, Madison did not have a functioning Alumni Association. Graduates needed a source to obtain information about fellow alumni, keep in touch with activities taking place at Madison, and generate funds to help support various programs at the school. With the encouragement of faculty member Sonia Lerner, Thelma Kaplan Stevens '50 began the process of structuring an alumni organization and served as its founding president. By 2010, the Alumni Association had over 1,000 members!
Today, the Association runs several social and fundraising events, publishes a newsletter twice a year, honors remarkable graduates at a Wall of Distinction ceremony every two years, provides an alumni directory, assists classes preparing for reunions, and connects alumni via a new Web site.
We award scholarships to Madison students and fund various needs, including new computers, sports and band uniforms, musical instruments, a new electronic scoreboard, college visits, and we fill many needs. The Wall of Distinction board, which is prominently placed at the entrance to the auditorium, has been a source of pride for the school, its students and visitors.
A dedicated team of Madison alumni volunteered their time and skills toward building our Association. First, attorney Bob Sharon '53 incorporated the Madison Alumni Association under state and federal laws. In 1997, the Madison Alumni Association, Inc. became a State of New York not-for-profit (501c3) charity and also received tax-exempt status from the State of New York. The Association was then able to solicit tax-deductible gifts from alumni to be used for scholarships and projects that cannot be funded under the existing NYC school budget.
CPA Harold Wohl '53 took on the management of accounting responsibilities for the Association, preparing annual statements required for the US Internal Revenue Service until his retirement. CPA Bob Konigsberg '57 replaced Hal in 2008.
In June 1996, Bernice Rotter Schmid '50 and Thelma Kaplan Stevens '50 created and published the first issue of the Madison Alumni Newsletter. They continued as Editors until Sandra Goldberg Roche '50 and Dick Kossoff '53 took over. Frieda Gottfried Weitz '54 and Judith Naomi Ophir Fish '64 became the editors in 2009.
Stanley Kaplan '35 generously financed many of the Association needs, and as First Vice-President was completely involved in all alumni activities.
In 2001, Dick Kossoff '53 initiated the "Wall of Distinction" honoring Madisonians who have made extraordinary contributions to our society. By 2018, seventy-five outstanding alumni had been honored at these well attended ceremonies.
Other Accomplishments of the JMHS Alumni Association:
2001 - $10,000 was provided by the Association for an electronic outdoor scoreboard. The new Sports Complex was named in honor of alumnus Marty Glickman, one of Madison's greatest athletes.
2002 - $500 was given to the Music Department for the purchase of much needed replacement uniforms for the Madison Marching Band.
2003 - Madison student records on documents dating back to 1927 were rapidly deteriorating in a basement storeroom. In order to save these irreplaceable records, the Alumni Association contributed $10,000 so that all records could be transferred to microfilm and an alumni directory published.
2004 - An Alumni Association scholarship of $1,000 was established as an annual award to a JMHS student for academic achievement and for service to Madison and the surrounding community. Later, three more $500 scholarships were added. These are in honor of past presidents.
2005 - Principal Joseph Gogliormella recognized the Alumni Association for its ongoing contributions to the entire sports program. The school dedicated its newly refurbished athletic field as the James Madison High School Alumni Association Field.
2006-2010 - Funds were provided for computers, band uniforms, upgrading the Honor Boards, and renting buses to take students to prospective colleges. A new Alumni Web site was developed.
2011- 2013 - We were proud to fund the school newspaper, The Madison Moment. We assisted needy students after Hurricane Sandy, added more scholarships to be given to deserving graduates; we provided technology and replaced the old blackboards.
2014- 2018 - We celebrated Madison’s 90th birthday, supported and attended Homecoming, bought a podium and enhanced the sound system in the auditorium, built special classrooms for challenged students. We underwrite the landscaping at the front of the school, developed a new updated web site, purchased a hanging sculpture for the lobby and added a second Wall of Distinction. A third Wall will be hung in the next year or two as the second Wall is almost complete.
We continue to give back to the school and the students.
Past Presidents of the Association include: Thelma Kaplan Stevens '50, Jane Castorina Gordon '56 , Sandra Goldberg Roche '50, Dick Kossoff '53.
The current president is Martha Weinstein Alpert ’57.