Coin Collection

PBHS Class of 1972 donates coin collection to new graduates
Posted on 09/13/2022
Joe Stokely, RhyLee Sprague and Emma Eubank.

The Poplar Bluff High School Class of 1972 has selected the Class of 2022 to pass a time capsule on to in hopes that the gesture inspires the new alums to follow suit, and stay connected.

During its 50th class reunion held last month, the Class of ‘72 donated a minted, uncirculated set of 1972 United States coins to officers over the recent graduating class, issuing them a challenge to pass along the keepsake to the Class of 2072 down the road.

“We are pushing forward the challenge to those kids to pay it forward in 50 more years,” commented Class of '72 alumnus Tom Cash, who retired from the pharmaceutical business this year. “The bigger thing is for them to stick together, reach out to one another routinely, and be active alumni.”

Upward of 150 members of the Class of ‘72 attended the reunion in August at the Poplar Bluff Holiday Inn, and have kept a tradition of gathering every five years. The model class has also supported several projects that have positively impacted the school system through fundraising efforts, including helping to finance the pavilion at the Middle School, formerly Strenfel Field at their alma mater.

Cash pointed out how unfortunately about 15 percent of the Class of ‘72 has passed away, and this is why it is “really important to stay in touch.” He continued: “Our goal was to share with them, ‘Here’s what we’ve done with class reunions; we created a booster club for projects.’ We wanted to challenge them at age 18.”

The coins—a penny, nickel, dime, quarter and half-dollar—were donated by class member Joe Stokely, who is an attorney in Kansas City. An accompanying framed letter reads, “The Class of 1972 is proud of our school, our legacy, and proud to be proactive in supporting Poplar Bluff High School. We are depending on your leadership to fulfill this task.”

Class of 2022 historian Emma Eubank is storing the collection for now, according to PBHS communication arts teacher Jennie Randolph, since the alumna has access to a safe. RhyLee Sprague, president of the Class of 2022, reported from college at Murray State University in Kentucky that he is confident his classmates will be able to accomplish the mission with technology making it easier to keep in touch, and the “symbolic meaning” is not lost on him.

“The point of this challenge isn’t how easy it is to pull off in today’s age but more so, can we stay committed and connected as a class and community of peers to showcase dedication and perseverance to our future generations,” Sprague asked. “Will we let social media and the internet blind us or guide us when it comes to what truly matters – and that is forging real life connections with the people in front of us and around us, [rather] than be content with staying behind a screen.”

Both Sprague and Eubank were given their own proof sets of the coins “so they won’t be tempted to break into the frame if they need a quarter for the parking meter,” Stokely joked.

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Cutline: PBHS Class of 1972 alumnus Joe Stokely issues a challenge to RhyLee Sprague and Emma Eubank of the Class of 2022 during a reunion held last month at the Holiday Inn.

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