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Chris Vanderheyden

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  • published 146th Annual Alumni Banquet in News 2021-07-23 09:54:15 -0500

    146th Annual Alumni Banquet

    Menasha High School

    146th Alumni Banquet

     Safety protocols will be in place per CDC guidelines at that time.

    “Thanks for the Great Evening”

    “I liked finding out what they are doing at MHS for the next generation”

     “It was nice to speak with the new Graduates”   “The Class of ’68 finally was able to fill a full table”

    “It was fascinating talking to 6 decades of MHS graduates.  I felt a part of something big”


    Wednesday, September 1, 2021


    N 8770 Firelane 1, Menasha

    Social Hour 5:00 PM, Dinner 6:00 PM

    Cost: $20 per Person—Family Style Dinner, 2 Entrees plus Dessert


    Mail Checks Payable to:

    MHS Alumni Association

    P.O. Box 360, Menasha, WI  54952

    Please Include Graduation Year(s)

    Questions:  Call or Text Carla at 920-450-2316


  • How You Can Network Through Your Alumni Association

    There are a lot of benefits that come with being involved in your alumni association. Of course, one of the biggest is that you maintain a connection to a school that shaped you at an important time in your life, and can support its ongoing educational and extracurricular initiatives and activities.

    But you shouldn’t overlook alumni associations as a networking opportunity as well. Not only do these organizations allow you to reconnect with people you knew in your time as a student, but they also help you to meet other alumni from all different times. This means people at varying stages of their lives and careers who could be valuable resources as you progress in your own path.

    Here are just a few of the ways you can use your alumni association as a networking tool.


    • Attend events: It’s hard to really get to know people unless you actually go to events. Pick a couple Bluejay Nation events to attend each year and make it a point to introduce yourself to people and have conversations while you’re there. You don’t necessarily have to attend every event, but even just showing up at one or two a year is a great start.
    • Get plugged into the school: You can be a valuable resource yourself as an alumnus who others look to for guidance or assistance. Consider serving as a mentor to current students or recent alumni, or finding ways to contribute your talents or expertise to various school programs. 
    • Reach out directly to fellow alums: One of the great features we provide alumni is our membership directory, which makes it easy for you to find and connect with fellow alumni of all graduating classes. If you like to be proactive with your networking, you can use this feature to reach out to specific people to help you expand your network and get to know people who have valuable expertise and large networks of their own.
    • Explore hiring options: If you’re in a position where you need to find qualified workers for a position, you can use your alumni association as a great potential recruiting network. You can easily send out messages to fellow alumni informing them of the opportunity, and the connection you have as fellow Menasha alumni will help you build an initial rapport as you go through the recruiting process.


    Alumni associations can be a great professional outlet as well as a social one. Just one more reason why you should take full advantage of your membership!

  • Looking Back on an Unprecedented School Year

    Summer is upon us, and schools around the country are either out or just about to be out. It’s hard to believe we’ve made it through an entire school year in the pandemic, but here we are at the finish line.

    What a crazy year it’s been for Menasha schools. Throughout the last year, teachers, staff and students had to navigate a weird combination of virtual and in-person schooling. Nothing was remotely normal, even for in-person school. With masks, distancing measures, sanitization rules and changes to events and activities, the entire year felt pretty surreal.

    It’s been 15 months since the country first shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While we’re fortunately looking at a relatively normal summer ahead of us as things open back up and vaccination rates continue to climb, we also think it’s important to look back on this year and give some special attention to the people who deserve credit.


    • Teachers and school staff, who had to completely re-learn their jobs in some cases to continue delivering a high-quality educational experience to students in unprecedented circumstances.
    • Administrators, who fielded calls from parents and tried to keep the ship steady in less-than-ideal conditions.
    • Parents, who stayed flexible despite the frequent changes they had to deal with and who kept their children moving forward regardless of the challenges they faced.
    • Students, who were incredibly impressive in their adaptability and who were the ones who had to suffer the most through many missed opportunities and strange situations.
    • Supporters from alumni groups, the community at large and elsewhere who continued to provide much-needed support in a variety of ways throughout a strange year.


    Hopefully next school year looks much more like normal than what we’ve encountered for the last 15 months or so. Things certainly are trending in the right direction. 

    But for now, as we say goodbye to the 2020-2021 school year and celebrate the class of 2021, let’s make sure those who soldiered through this year have our gratitude.

  • published Get Prepared to Welcome Some New Alumni! in News 2021-05-12 08:22:59 -0500

    Get Prepared to Welcome Some New Alumni!

    The school year is starting to wind down to a close, which means soon enough there will be a new batch of young adults joining you as Menasha alumni.

    This is an exciting time for fresh graduates. The summer after graduating high school is filled with celebrations, goodbyes and “lasts.” It’s understandable for these young alumni to be far more focused on what’s in front of them (be it college, work, internships or service) than what’s behind them. But this is also a great time to get young alumni signed up and plugged in to their alumni associations while they’re still in town and relatively connected to their schools and organizations.

    Here are a few things you can do to welcome new alumni and encourage them to join Bluejay Nation.

    • Include information in graduation cards: If you’re sending graduation cards to young alumni or attending any graduation parties, you can include information about the organization in the card or envelope. It’s a simple and effective way to get our organization on the young alumni’s radar right off the bat.
    • Talk about it: If you have young people in your life graduating from high school, chances are they look up to you and have some level of respect for you. If you wear your own alumni status with pride, it will encourage them to do the same. Be an advocate for your organization and share your enthusiasm!
    • Talk to young people at events: When you attend alumni events and see young alumni there scoping out the organization, be welcoming and positive! It’s easy to stay in the same groups of people you tend to hang out with at these events, but when young alumni show up they should be welcomed warmly with open arms.
    • Send invitations: Invite young alumni you know to social media pages so they see posts coming directly from us. Personally invite them to events, whether it’s digitally or in person. We don’t like to take an “if we build it, they will come” philosophy--invite them to show them they’re wanted and that this organization has a lot to offer them!

    We’re very excited to welcome a brand new class to our ranks and hope you will join us in spreading the word to these new graduates!

  • published Avoid Scams in News 2021-03-10 13:47:47 -0600

    Avoid Scams: How to Make Sure Your Alumni Community is the Real Deal 

    We recently had issues with a separate alumni site causing some confusion in people’s inboxes.

    We noticed one website that sets up “bogus” alumni websites, and there’s one that exists for Menasha. It sends out emails under the label “MENASHA ALUMNI,” which would understandably cause people some confusion and potentially make people think the email is coming from us at Bluejay Nation

    Instead, these “alumni sites” send out spam messages, including matchmaking/dating site advertisements, and nothing actually to do with Menasha alumni.

    There are multiple companies set up like this that purport themselves to be alumni networks to get the attention of unwitting victims. These companies create individual websites for thousands and thousands of high schools, encourage graduates of those schools to submit their personal information, and then use it to send advertisements (or worse).

    First, we would like to reassure you that Bluejay Nation is the only alumni community tied to the district and the high school. 

    Second, it’s important to clarify some of the ways you can tell your alumni site is the real deal, and that you’re not getting pulled into a spam factory.


    • It’s affiliated with the district: Does the website link to the school district or high school? More importantly, does the district recognize the existence of the site and the alumni network? This sort of affiliation should clarify with ease that it is a legitimate website.
    • It’s easy to find information about members: Our website, for example, features a member directory that allows you to find and connect with other members who are alumni of all ages. 
    • There’s a purpose beyond collecting member information: It should be clear from the website that the alumni network is doing more than just harvesting information. There should be information about events, sponsorship or donor opportunities, volunteer opportunities, news about the district and other items that show an actual interest in the school and in alumni activity.


    District administrators should be proactive about clearly communicating to their alumni about alumni associations that actually have a relationship with the school. Alumni, meanwhile, should make sure any organization they’re considering joining is actually sanctioned by and has a relationship with the school before registering.

  • published Alumni Stories We Want to Tell in News 2021-01-25 14:05:37 -0600

    Alumni Stories We Want to Tell

    Our Bluejay Nation website has a lot of great features for our alumni members. There’s our directory, which helps you connect with alumni of all ages. There are resources to help you find volunteer opportunities, alumni (or district) events and so much more. But one thing we like to do from time to time (and can always do more) is share stories about our alumni and what they’re currently doing out in the world.

    That’s right--we want your stories, achievements and milestones. It’s great to be able to share with other alumni, as well as current students, what Menasha students have gone on to accomplish in their lives after school. Plus, as an alumni association, we want to do everything we can to celebrate our alumni, members or not.

    Here are some of the kinds of stories we hope to tell:


    • Professional life: What sort of work do you now do? What path did you take to get to the current spot you’re in in your professional life? What are some of the unique aspects of your job or field? 
    • Post-high school journey: The journey people take after high school varies widely. Some go to college, others enter the workforce, some find apprenticeships and others join the military. It’s always interesting to look at the different paths taken by our alumni and to hear about the experiences they’ve had that shaped them.
    • Personal updates: What’s new in your life? Marriage, children, relocation, hobbies, interests… all of this is information people want to know when reading stories and updates about alumni.
    • Achievements: It’s always great to celebrate the achievements of our alumni. These could be personal or professional. Think promotions, awards, successful projects or programs, important milestones, etc.
    • Human interest: Human interest stories are always of interest. It’s great to read about people who overcome certain struggles or challenges, or who are making a positive difference in their communities, especially when they’re alumni.


    Do you have any interesting stories to contribute? Send them in, and we’ll find a way to feature them on our website or in our newsletter!

  • 5 Reasons to Be Thankful for Your Alma Mater

    With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we thought it would be appropriate to spend some time thinking about the impact our alma maters have had on our lives, and why we should be thankful for them. There are so many things about Menasha schools to love and appreciate; here are just a few that you might be thankful for yourself:


    • Lifelong friends: For many people, the close friends they make in grade school and high school become friends for life. Even if you move far away from your hometown, your close friendships from high school will always be relationships you cherish. It’s common for people to see their old friends for the first time in years and to pick up the relationship as though they were never apart. The shared experiences you had in high school will bond you for life.
    • An educational foundation: Grade school and high school give you a foundation of education and knowledge that will influence the rest of your education and career that follows. This is where you first develop your interests and hone your thinking and important skills. Those early interests likely impacted the direction you took after leaving high school.
    • Amazing educators and mentors: The meaningful relationships you develop in your high school years aren’t just limited to your friendships. Most people also bond with at least one or two teachers, coaches or adult mentors in their time in high school who end up being a significant influence or role model for them to follow. High school students spend just as much time learning about themselves as they do their subject areas, and the guidance they get from those adults can be immensely valuable.
    • Wonderful memories: The memories you make in high school stay with you for the rest of your life. There are always going to be memories for you to treasure, whether it’s from your favorite sports or activities, to experiences in the classroom, or even just down time you spend with friends in between class. The ability to look back with fondness on your high school career is certainly something to be thankful for.
    • Opportunities to give back: As a graduate of Menasha schools, you are always a Bluejay long after you leave. If you find yourself back in the area, you are always welcome back with open arms, and have plenty of opportunities to give back through volunteering, donations or advocacy to ensure new generations of students are able to receive the same experience you did.


    If you are thankful for your Menasha educational experience and are feeling generous in this season of giving thanks, please consider joining and donating to our Bluejay Nation alumni organization! We are grateful for any support you can provide.

  • posted about Upcoming orchestra concerts in the district are: on Facebook 2016-01-19 14:28:52 -0600
    Upcoming orchestra concerts in the district are:

    Upcoming orchestra concerts in the district are:

    January 25 – 6:00 PM – Maplewood Orchestra

    January 25 – 7:30 PM – Menasha High Orchestra

    Maplewood Jazz Band Benefit is on Monday, February 1

    Please plan to attend these wonderful events!

  • posted about Nice Story about our Bilingual Program: on Facebook 2016-01-19 14:27:03 -0600
    Nice Story about our Bilingual Program:
  • published MJSD Math & Literacy Night in News 2015-05-06 11:36:54 -0500

    MJSD Math & Literacy Night

    Families of Menasha students grades 5-11! Free child care provided. What’s happening in the math and English classrooms and how can you support instruction? We will be providing a free meal and some excellent resources!
    420 7th Street 
    May 18th, 2015 5:00pm to 6:30pm

    Please RSVP by May 11th, 2015 using the following link:

  • Submit Newsletter News and Updates

    The Bluejay Nation News communicates information on class reunions, news notes from members of the nation as well as Bluejay stories and events.  Please submit your news or update.

  • published 2014-2015 Year in News 2014-09-04 08:35:58 -0500

    2014-2015 Year

    Off to a great start!