By Bob San
The Osseo High School Cross Country Alumni Association (OCCAA) will host a fundraiser for its Jim Deane Scholarship program Wednesday, Sept. 6, at 7 p.m. at the high school
This year’s event will have an entertainment component as OSH alums Kevin Kling and James Hersch will treat attendants to a concert of stories and songs about Osseo memories.
The OCCAA was formed 55 years ago, making it one of the longest existing high school athletic alumni associations in Minnesota.
“My brother Mark Stephens started the OACCA to give back to the kids that ran under coach Jim Deane,” said event coordinator Mick Stephens. “About 14 years ago we raised money to give out the James Deane Scholarship.”
Deane, the legendary cross country and track and field coach at Osseo for 32 years, passed away in 2015 at age 82. His legacy and contribution to Osseo High School and the community live on forever.
“Jim Deane impacted a lot of kids that ran under him in cross country and track,” Stephens said. “He also was a council member and Mayor of Maple Grove and Three Rivers Parks commissioner. The road going into Elm Creek Park Reserve is named after him.”
Each year, former runners gather on a Saturday morning in August at Elm Creek for a run. During this run, the alumni have a meet with current runners versus alumni/family members. Following the race the participants hold a ceremony to recognize winners and place winners from the race. They also talk about happenings within the cross country program.
For the past 14 or so years the alumni contributed funds to allow $500 scholarships to be given to some or all runners that just graduated and are entering college. They must meet certain criteria to receive the funds.
“It used to be a couple winners and over the years the number of recipients have grown,” Osseo cross country coach John Rundqust said. “The kids used to draw numbers to see who won the rewards on the spot. There have been thousands of dollars by alumni to support the graduates.”
The Osseo alumni will try to raise more funds this year with Kling and Hersch providing the entertainment. Tickets are $20 and available now at Eventbrite.com.
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