Emily Schreiber, 72, lights up as she describes why she comes back year after year to Valley Stream South High School’s homecoming.

“When you get to be our age, it’s comforting to be in the past -- back in the day when things were much less complicated.”

The president of the Valley Stream South High School Alumni Association with short red hair and bright sky blue eyes has held her position since the club was created in 2005. The Class of 1961 alumnus continues to visit the school every year, making her mark as the school’s symbol to the past.

“I was in the seventh grade when the school opened and that was 1955,” she explains. “There was no alumni association for 50 years, and then they had the 50-year celebration and that’s when we decided for an alumni association.”

Before the homecoming game begins, the high school hosts a homecoming festival where clubs sell treats from fruity snow cones to caramel apples. Schreiber’s alumni table did not offer refreshments, but rather a refreshing peer into the past.

Students stopped repeatedly at the table to browse old yearbooks, and look at the school’s old paper, The Southern Bell.

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The Valley Stream South High School’s Alumni Association boasts about 800 members on its  Facebook group, and Schreiber, currently an adjunct professor at Nassau Community College, presses for increased membership.

“The past creates the people of the present and this place created who I am today, partly,” she said. “It gave us the foundation of who we are.”

Valley Stream South High School provided the foundation and now the alumni association is giving back. The group sponsors three $500 scholarships annually for current students, and the president takes note of the increasingly diverse student body.

“I like seeing that when I present the scholarships in June, and I see the kids receiving them,” Schreiber said. “They come from every country and nationality and I love seeing that.”