SUSSEX COUNTY-Most graduates can't wait to put their school years behind them. But this year's Sussex County Technical School graduates were quick to form new bonds with their alma mater, with the help of a new alumni association. More than 100 members of the class of 2004 just joined the Sussex Tech Alumni Association, a new group formed in recent months. This year's grads were asked to join the alumni association as part of the group's initial membership drive. All but a handful of the 121 graduates submitted applications for admission into the group. They'll join 80 other alumni, graduates from the past 32 years, as the first members of the association. Ed Hart, president of the alumni organization, said the group hopes to help the school by providing scholarships to students and by raising community awareness about the school and its purpose. "We have some of the more brilliant kids in the county in that school," Hart said. He hopes to put together a group of alumni to visit county middle schools to get the word out that Sussex Tech is a school that will train them for a highly technical future. "We'd like to show them what you can do there, what you can end up doing," said Hart, who is co-president with Alyson Maniscalco. Hart, a 1993 graduate of Sussex Tech with a major in electronics, owns Intellitronic Devices, an electronic design and manufacturing business in Sparta. Intellitronic Devices designs and manufactures such items as mechanical irrigation pumps, global positioning systems, programmable microchip development tools and software. In the 11 years since graduating from Sussex Tech, Hart has often back to his alma mater. Formerly a scenery automation designer on Broadway, Hart used that experience to manage shows that were booked into McNiece auditorium on campus. Now a resident of Milford, Penn., Hart visits electronics instructor Pete Renna's shop and engineering instructor Chris Land's shop frequently, lending a hand wherever he can. Recently, Hart designed a programmable microchip development tool and a surface mount soldering practice kit that Renna will use in his classes. "Seeing how the students respond to the experiments brings me back to the time when all this began for me," Hart said. "It's important that they know they, too, can be successful if they follow their instincts and their talents." About 40 of the alumni association members own their own businesses, said Hart. Members are graduates of almost every year since 1972, the year the school first opened, and are from all over the country, as well as members of the military serving overseas, he said. The association had an informational booth at the Expo last spring and will have another booth at the Sussex County Farm and Horse Show in August. Fundraising efforts will begin shortly for scholarships, which the alumni association plans to award to graduating seniors at Sussex Tech. Other projects of the group will be put on the table at the next meeting, a dinner meeting Sept. 14, where a slate of officers will be elected. "We're now kicking around lots of ideas," Hart said. "We hope to get ideas from everyone and then pick and choose what we want to follow through with." Alumni of Sussex Tech may join the association by contacting Eileen Arvary, shop coordinator at the school, at 973-383-6700, ext. 235, or by e-mailing her at Earvary@sussex.tec.nj.us. More information on the alumni association is also available on the school's Web site at www.sussex.tec.nj.us/alumni.htm. Hart said the group hopes to have its own Web site soon.