Grand Rapids, Michigan
April 20-22, 2018

CLICK HERE to learn more about this NEW event, or...

to access
Online Registration
Powered by

CLICK HERE to view the
February 2018 Reumors!

THANK YOU for coming to Spokane for NCSA 2017!

CLICK HERE to go to the 2017 Conference Page - handouts from Workshops, Meet the Pros, Hall of Ideas now available!

CLICK HERE to view this year's Parade Of Ideas!

Interested in SPEAKING at our National Conference on Student Activities? CLICK HERE for our Speaker Application!

Dr. Earl Reum (1931-2010)
Founder of NAWD, inspiration for student leaders & advisors...

Visit our Earl Reum tribute site at www.EarlReum.com

Earl Reum: Speaker, Educator, Mentor

to watch...

Jim Finnemeyer
NAWD Executive Director

Contact Jim with questions or comments about NAWD at

The spirit and legacy of Earl Reum lives on...

The December 20, 1948 issue of Life Magazine was dedicated to "Teenage Fun" as it was in the years following the Second World War.

This issue holds special significane to NAWD members, as it contained a two page (pp.72-73) article entitled "Popular Guy" in which a young Earl Reum (17 at the time) was featured as the "idol of Denver boys and girls".

CLICK HERE to view this issue of Life Magazine on the Google Books website.

Unbeknownst to Bob Tryanski, he became the founder of the Keeper of the Flame Society in December of 2009.  During his keynote presentation over lunch at the annual National Conference on Student Activities, Bob presented Connecticut Executive Director Sarah Jones with an original December 20, 1948 Life magazine, a coveted artifact of a life that has meant a great deal to many.

CLICK HERE to read Bob's thoughts looking back on the inspiration provided to him and others by Dr. Earl Reum, and how it launched the tradition now known as "Keepers of the Flame".

The following is an excerpt from a letter inserted into the magazine by Bob:

"The magazine documents the beginnings of a man who would go on to become an inspiration to many people across the country and in particular student activities directors, student council advisors and students.  The Keeper of the Flame Society is the passing of this prized relic from person to person at the annual conference based solely on the inspiration felt by the person currently in possession of the magazine.  It is my hope that this new tradition will keep Earl’s legacy alive regardless of whether the people involved ever had the dubious honor of meeting Earl themselves.  All that needs to be known is that one person can inspire another and in the end...that is all that matters." - Bob Tryanski, 2009

One year later, at the 2010 National Conference on Student Activities, Sarah began what has now become a unique tradition by passing this same original December 20, 1948 Life magazine to Susan Fortin of Washington. An excerpt from the letter inserted into the magazine by Sarah:

"When Susan speaks, I move to the edge of my chair because I know whatever she says will be something I can think about for awhile after. I first knew she was my kind of leadership person when I went to her (and her husband’s) workshop on perspective in Phoenix. They had a series of photographs where they had zoomed in very close and you had to guess what the object was when they zoomed back. The activity was a cool brain-teaser that reminded me of when I was young and would do them with my mother when the GAMES magazine would arrive each month. Then they talked about how they used the activity to get students to think about their own perspective and how they saw things. I was hooked. This was not leadership in the jumping up and down, chanting, cheering, new pep rally games, new spirit week ideas, singing, dressing in newspaper, kind of thing I had been exposed to thus far. This was leadership to think about. I can get down with that! So, when Susan shares info such as Gallup Student Poll, evaluation techniques, trend analysis and strategic planning I am so inspired. I hope that Connecticut can be as professional as Washington someday." - Sarah Jones, 2010

The tradition continues...at the 2011 National Conference on Student Activities, Susan passed this same magazine - in a new handmade case - to Kelly Neiber of Iowa. Kelly took on a new challenge soon afterward, moving to Minnesota in 2012 and surely inspired by Earl in her new role in the Student Activities office of the Minneapolis (MN) Public Schools.

At the 2012 National Conference on Student Activities, Kelly passed it on to Sherman Jackson of Mississippi. The long time Executive Director of the Mississippi Association of Student Councils, Sherm has been a familar face and an integral part of our National Conference on Student Activities for well over 20 years. His quiet but strong dedication and leadership is both admired and respected by all who know and work with him.

At the 2013 National Conference on Student Activities in Austin, Texas, Sherm passed the flame to Laura Price of Texas, who passed it on to Michelle Swisher of West Virginia at the 2014 National Conference on Student Activities in Scottsdale, Arizona. Both are pictured below with Mary Reum shortly after the flame was passed.

At the 2015 National Conference on Student Activities in Niagara Falls, Michelle passed the flame to Andy Costanzo of Pennsylvania. Andy has been actively involved in both NAWD and the Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils for over 30 years, having worked closely with Earl for many of them.

At the 2016 NCSA, Andy passed the flame to two men who have inspired him over the years - Colby Cochran and Elliott Mathis of North Carolina. Colby and Elliott have been Executive Directors for the North Carolina Association of Student Councils for over 30 years, and long time leaders in the field of student activities and leadership.

Now an established ceremonial part of the National Conference on Student Activities, each year the "Flame is Passed" as each honoree contributes their own personal touch and written thoughts about Earl and his impact on them personally as well as on leadership before passing this very special award on to whoever they choose to become the next "Keeper of the Flame".

Keepers of the Flame

The following individuals are members of the Keeper of the Flame Society, having been in possession of this special Life magazine since this tradition was begun:

  • 2009 - Bob Tryanski (KS) to Sarah Jones (CT)
  • 2010 - Sarah Jones (CT) to Susan Fortin (WA)
  • 2011 - Susan Fortin (WA) to Kelly Neiber (IA)
  • 2012 - Kelly Neiber (IA-MN) to Sherman Jackson (MS)
  • 2013 - Sherman Jackson (MS) to Laura Price (TX)
  • 2014 - Laura Price (TX) to Michelle Swisher (WV)
  • 2015 - Michelle Swisher (WV) to Andy Costanzo (PA)
  • 2016 - Andy Costanzo (PA) to Colby Cochran & Elliott Mathis (NC)


Links, Friends, and Sponsors:

The Alliance for Student Activities

Dynamx Digital

The Fisher Agency

Herff Jones

NAWD Facebook Group

NAWD on Twitter
Follow us @paradeofideas