The English High School of Boston has always been devoted to its tradition of reproducing generations of men and women of honor and achievement. As America's first and oldest public school, the school's bicentennial birthday is going to take place virtually on October 2.

The hope is that any English High graduate, and anyone who may know one, can tell the former students about this notable celebration so that the school can locate about 9,000 missing alumni.

"It's a tall challenge, there's no doubt about it," said Michael Thomas, English High School Class of 1967, and President/CEO of the Alumni Association and Chair of the 200th anniversary. "We're trying, through the media, public relations and social media to reach out and spread the word to find the remaining 9,000 graduates. When we first started this a few years ago, we had 474 email addresses. Today we've amassed 4,000 email addresses, in a data base of 17,000 with 9,000 postal addresses, but we're short by another 9,000, and that's our assignment."

A long list of luminaries graduated from English: J.P. Morgan, Leonard Nimoy, Herb Chambers and Jordan Knight, to name a few.

"We're working with Leonard Nimoy's daughter, Julie and her husband, David Knight, after they were kind enough to approach us with an idea they had that's still in the works," Thomas said.

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In parallel with the task of trying to locate 9,000 alumni, the school has a goal of raising $1 million by the end of the year.

"We're amidst a huge push towards corporate and foundation sponsorship, like from auto magnate Herb Chambers and perhaps our most famous graduate of the class of 1854, J.P. Morgan," Thomas said. The response has been encouraging, "and the feedback we're getting is hopeful. The passion with which people express their sentiments about the school, the teachers, classes and sports teams they were on, is so uplifting. For instance, someone wrote, 'if it wasn't for Mr. Stewart's direction and extra help, I wouldn't be in my position today.' The generous check that was attached was heartening, too."

With a history like that, it's no wonder that the English-Latin football continuous rivalry is iconic.

"Before COVID hit, we had 133 consecutive Thanksgiving Day rivalry games," reminisced Thomas. "As a 14-year-old sophomore, there I was running into Harvard Stadium for the first time, listening to the roar of 30,000 fans."

Speaking of continuous, English High carries on with its devotion of producing new generations of people of honor and achievement. It's a devotion that has now lasted two centuries. So this truly is a moment to celebrate, to take stock of where we have come from, what we are for, and where we are going. Definitely, a great work in progress.

Anyone with English High alumni contact info is asked to visit englishhighalumni.org. To connect with Michael Thomas, email mthomas@englishhighalumni.org or call (781) 956-4774.

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