This year’s Reunion Fest Outstanding Alumni award will go to MHS graduate and Pulitzer Prize winner, Chad Day. The 12th annual event will be held at Reunion Field behind the Marshfield Community Center on July 1.
“Wow. What an honor,” Day said upon accepting the invitation. “I look forward to visiting Marshfield for the 4th of July and accepting the award at Reunion Fest.”
Day is the son of Noel Day and Rhonda Day and graduated from Marshfield High School in 2006. He began his career in journalism with a position at the Marshfield Mail the summer following his senior year, giving thanks to his friend and former Mail boss, Mark Eddlemon for pushing him into the career path. The two remain friends to this day and Eddlemon plans to be in attendance to present the Outstanding Alumni award.
“Mark was instrumental in my journalism career. I always kept up with the news and was a big reader as a kid. My grandfather [James “Shorty” Day] would love to talk about news and what was going on with us kids,” Day added. “My grandmother, Billie [Arthur], wrote a lot of obituaries over the years when my grandparents had the funeral home in Marshfield, so I got used to how she interviewed people for those and got interested in writing, but it was Mark who kind of pushed me into it. I can’t imagine doing anything else.” Day then went on to graduate form the University of Missouri’s Journalism School in 2009. Following graduation, he was an intern at the Kansas City Star for a summer before moving to Little Rock, AR for a job with the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. He remained there from 2009 -2015 when he accepted a job at the Associated Press in Washington D.C.. He then worked at the Wall Street Journal from 2019 until two months ago, when he returned to the Associated Press for his current role as the Chief Elections Analyst.
In May of 2023, Day was named a winner of the Prize in Investigative Reporting for sharp accountability reporting on financial conflicts of interest among officials at 50 federal agencies, revealing those who bought and sold stocks they regulated and other ethical violations by individuals charged with safeguarding the public’s interest.
“There were about six of us on the team and a broad group of people who were involved,” Day recalled. “Journalism is a team sport… anybody that tries to do it by themselves, there’s always other people around them, helping them. It was a lot of work, but you never expect anything like this. It was just kind of crazy.”
The team looked comprehensively across the federal government to explain how the government functions, where senior government officials' financial interests and personal financial interests intersect with their official duties. According to Day, one of the main findings was that about one in five senior officials owned stock in companies that were actively lobbying their agencies at the same time. The Journal collected documents, analyzed their findings and published their findings.
Reunion Fest kicks off Saturday, July 1st at the Marshfield Community Center Reunion Field. The 12th annual event will begin at 5 p.m. and music will start at 5:30 p.m. through 11 p.m. This year’s lineup includes live music from MHS band The Jetz, The Isaac Kenneth Band and White Oak Revival.
Admission is $10 per person and all are welcome, whether they attended Marshfield Schools or not.
High School students are welcome for the first time this year to support the Jetz for $5 with a student ID.
The Reunion Fest began 12 years ago as the Class of 1977, Fraker’s graduating class, planned their 35th anniversary gathering. According to Fraker, the classes above and below them wanted to join in and they got a few live bands to play, which started the annual tradition. The event awards one Outstanding Alumni recipient each year, which is expected to be announced ahead of the event.
“We are thrilled to honor Chad Day as this year’s Outstanding Alumni. This award has been a great way to recognize the people who came from MHS and it also helps classes plan their reunions and it makes things a whole lot easier as far as setting up and tearing down goes,” Fraker explained. “We do have 20x20 tents available for those who don’t want to bring them for a minimal fee. And with the food trucks and band, they don’t have to plan for catering or entertainment. It saves them a lot of work.”
Crowds up to 500 have gathered on Reunion Field for the festival previously to listen to music, reconnect with old friends and watch fireworks. This year, a firework show will take place directly after White Oak Revival’s set.
“The last few years we’ve had to somewhat deal with a pandemic but that’s all behind us now. Since we’re having this on July 1 this year, there shouldn’t be any other conflicts with community events going on and we expect a large crowd,” Fraker added. “We do have the gym open for the event, which is air conditioned now in case folks feel like it’s a little too hot earlier in the evening. It should be a good time for everyone.”
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