The new Raider Pride Park in front of Warren G. Harding High School was dedicated and a ceremonial ground-breaking was held Thursday, June 30, 2022.
Members of the Raider Pride Park Committee said the new memorial to former Warren Western Reserve students and staff is an asset for Warren City Schools and the Warren City community-at-large.
The Raider Pride Park project was birthed in 2010 when Dave Alstolfi sold t-shirts with the original Warren Western Reserve High School logo at the Warren Italian Festival. The goal was to to build a memorial dedicated to all the WWR family, including the people who worked and served there and the students who attended the high school.
The Warren Western Reserve Committee was established in the fall of 2010 and met at the home of Mark Clawges, WWR Class of 1968. The committee started with 60 or so people with the objective of getting representation from as many of the school’s graduating classes as possible. The committee then approached the Warren City Schools Board of Education about securing property to build a memorial.
Over time the committee’s membership diminished, and the group soon realized that becoming a non-profit would be key to raising the funds needed to build the memorial. The Warren Western Reserve Committee became a 501(c)(3) and changed its name to Raider Pride Park. Artist Dennis Freet designed the original park and its layout. Gibson Construction put the architectural design together and provided cost estimates for the development and construction.
The Raider Pride Park group set out to raise money through various fundraising efforts, with the staple being the Warren Italian Festival. Every year a tent was set up as a meeting place for all Warren City School alumni, with an emphasis on the Raiders. The group sold memorabilia, t-shirts, hoodies, DVDs of past WWR band performances as well as autographed items to help raise funds.
Over the years, the committee realized that the original design was becoming cost prohibitive, so plans were revised, and a redesign was done by Cortland-based Gilmore Landscaping and Design.
“This is a testament to the grit and determination of those involved in the memorial,” said James F. Guy Jr., WWR Class of 1990. “Raider Pride Park hopes this park can be enjoyed by alumni and will be a part of the rich history of Warren City Schools.”
Guy thanked the Warren City School Board of Education; Warren City Schools Superintendent Steve Chiaro; former schools Superintendent Michael Notar; and Director of Business Operations John Lacy; Brandon Giovannone of MDI Studios who designed the committee’s website; and Artistics Silk Screening, which has been printing the committee’s designs since day one.
Current Raider Pride Park members are:
President: James F Guy Jr – class of 1990
Vice-President: Sharon McCourt Rinko – Class of 1967
Treasurer: Mark Clawges – Class of 1968
Secretary: Sue Tobias – Class of 1968 Richard Thompson – Class of 1968
Martha Wilson – school secretary
Jimmy Devlin – Class of 1969
Nancy Ritz – Class of 1967
Sharleen Humes Johnson – Class of 1979
John Humes – Class of 1981
Jan Macchia Luoma – Class of 1969
Kathy Setting (former Vice President) – Class of 1972
Dennis Freet – Class of 1973