The Commerce-Cleveland High School Alumni Association (CCHSAA) has its roots in the organization of the Commerce High School Alumni Scholarship Fund. This fund originated in 1996 with the Ironmen, a group of former Commerce athletes from 1939. The Ironmen had the idea to start a tradition by giving an annual scholarship for higher education to a Cleveland High School senior, thereby preserving the memory of Commerce High School. Soon the original Ironmen group grew to include additional graduates from Commerce, both men and women, all wanting to give back to the school which had provided them with such a remarkable education. Besides requiring all the classes of a traditional high school, Commerce offered classes teaching marketable business, accounting, and clerical skills far beyond those of other high schools during its existence from 1915 to 1948 when Commerce became Cleveland High School.
In 2001, in an effort to perpetuate the continuation of the management and growth of the Commerce High School Alumni Scholarship Fund, the Scholarship Committee began contacting Cleveland High School alumni. As a result of this move, the present Commerce-Cleveland High School Alumni Association came into existence by 2002.
The main source of revenue for the Alum Association has been the annual CCHSAA Golf Tournament and accompanying events. Alum Association funds have supported Cleveland’s athletic department, science department, art department, music department, computer technology, robotics, the metal and wood workshop, culinary arts, the CHS Foundation, and the PTA. Funds have also supported the CHS fitness area, the athletic field, the building of the gym’s concession stand, trophy cases, and Hall of Fame materials.
The CCHSAA Scholarship Fund has continued to grow since 1996. It receives its funds mainly through donations. Over $275,000 in endowment funds have accumulated and are held in trust at the Oregon Community Foundation (OCF), a non-profit organization that handles funds for many charitable groups. The funds for each of five $2500 scholarships come from the interest earned annually on the investments of the endowment.
At present, CCHSAA has about 500 members, which include not only graduates of Commerce and Cleveland, but also supporters in the community. Since 2002, the annual events that officers, committees, and board members have planned for and have overseen are the:
- Golf Tournament
- CHS Hall of Fame Awards
- Distinguished Alumni Award Reception
- Selection of Scholarship Recipients
With the restrictions imposed in 2020 because of the Covid-19 outbreak, new avenues have been explored to continue to bring the CHS community together and to raise funds for projects to support CHS. The newest event, the Warrior 5K Walk, first took place in August 2021 and was met with great enthusiasm. The CHS Golf Tournament has been welcomed back with pleasure after its absence in 2020.
A CCHSAA Newsletter is published each winter and spring and is mailed to Alum Association members. The Alum Association’s officers and board members are continually examining new ideas as well as reaching out to Alumni and the community to encourage new memberships and participation in the CCHSAA and possible projects to benefit CHS and its community.