Jill Harris takes over as new Patapsco High alumni president
Wednesday, 13 August 2014 11:54
 by Ben Boehl

    The Patapsco High School Alumni Association (PHSAA) has a new president — again.
    For the third time in the group’s history, a new leader has emerged. Jill Harris (Zukas), a 1981 graduate of the school, is taking over for former president Jay Walton, who succeeded Melissa Geigley last year.
    According to Harris, while there is no limitation in the PHSAA bylaws as to how long a president of the group can hold office, Geigley and Walton had accomplished their respective goals, and now she will try to do the same.
    Each leader of the alumni association, she said, has brought a different perspective to the post.
    “Melissa graduated in 1992 and is at the school everyday [as a guidance counselor]. Jay graduated when Patapsco had a magnet program,” Harris explained.         “I’m the first president that has kids in the school. I have just as much interest in the students at the school as I do the alumni.”
    She pointed out her son graduated in 2011 and her daughter is set to graduate next year. As a parent with high-school aged children, Harris has gotten involved with the school as the treasurer of the PTSA.
    She said there are 50 members of the alumni association, but she is hoping to grow that number.
    The PHSAA was created in 2012 in anticipation of the school’s 50th anniversary celebration the following year. Now that the school’s anniversary has come and gone, the alumni association remains — and is looking to do more.
 
  “I want to get more people involved. We have people involved, but not with the alumni association.”
    Harris said there are alumni who meet every year at a local park, the Patapsco Sports Hall of Fame, as well as an alumni group from the 2000s that wants to start a musical production featuring alumni. Harris is hoping to get those and other groups together through the PHSAA.
    “We want to get as many people involved from different decades, and we are hoping they will tell their peers.” Harris added.
    During his year as president, Walton created the PHSAA’s first scholarship, awarded to a Patapsco graduating senior. Harris said she plans to continue that tradition and said that the PHSAA is trying to be more involved in the school.
    As an example, she announced that the PHSAA will be taking over the Welcome Back Breakfast at the school in late August.
    Angel Ball, honored earlier this year as the Optimist Club of Dundalk’s Citizen of the Year, has signed on as PHSAA vice president and recently helped the group by hosting an alumni night as part of the Dundalk Concerts in the Park series she heads.
    Harris said she hopes the PHSAA will be as strong as other alumni associations, adding that the group has set a goal of catching up to the Dundalk High School Alumni Association membership, which is estimated at 750.
    “We are trying to expand the group. Angel has helped, as she is in the community with Concerts in the Park and she is able to get the word out through networking.”