Homecoming for the holidays

MARQUETTE – On Dec. 26, many folks are looking for something to do with the hustle and bustle of Christmas complete.

For the second-straight year, the Marquette Area Public Schools Foundation is putting together an event with those folks in mind.

Holiday Homecoming will take place starting at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 26 at The Landmark Inn in Marquette. The event was created after foundation leaders heard requests for a gathering coming from alumni of the various Marquette schools.

“We thought it was a great opportunity,” said Thomas Baldini, the foundation’s president. “We had people telling us they come home for the holidays, but they don’t get to see their classmates or other friends from school.”

Baldini spoke with Pat Black of the Marquette County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Christine Pesola of The Landmark Inn.

“They both said that Dec. 26 was a day when not much was going on after the Christmas rush,” Baldini said. “So we are working toward making this a tradition, something people will know will happen each year on that date, Dec. 26. It may take three or four years to establish this, but we think people will enjoy it.”

Graduates of Bishop Baraga, John D. Pierce, Graveraet and Marquette high schools are all welcome to the event, which will feature a cash bar and will be in the Landmark’s lobby.

“There are no tickets involved. Just come on in. The Landmark stepped in and offered us the lobby area,” Baldini said. “We will have Bob Buchkoe, who is a Marquette grad, playing the piano. It will be a chance to socialize in a relaxed, casual way.”

Baldini said last year’s event, the inaugural Holiday Homecoming, was a hit with participants.

“Last year, people came and saw each other. Some broke off into groups and went to one of the Landmark’s bars,” he said. “Some people stayed in the lobby area the entire time, socializing.

“Some people even closed the bar down,” he said. “It was a hit with those who came.”

This year, the Marquette County CVB is helping get the word out about the event as are others in the area.

“Really, we welcome anyone who’s interested in coming to the homecoming,” Baldini said. “If you graduated from Marquette and your wife is from Ishpeming, you certainly should bring her along.

“We think this is a great opportunity to provide a little break after Christmas, to allow people to enjoy a relaxed situation.”

The Marquette Area Public Schools Foundation was set up for several purposes, Baldini said.

“We provide scholarships for students. We provide assistance to teachers with special projects,” he said. “And we help students with special projects as well.”

Working alongside other community organizations, the foundation helps to put on an awards program each spring during which scholarships are announced for MAPS students.

“Last year, that was more than $133,000 from a variety of people and organizations in the Marquette area,” Baldini said.

The foundation is working toward building an endowment fund that will continue to provide scholarships and other aid to students and teachers.

“The Holiday Homecoming is a way for us … to say thank you for the continued support for the foundation,” Baldini said.

For more information, visit its website at mapsnet.org/Pages/MqtEdFoundation/index.htm.

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.