The alumni association affiliated with the Grandview Normal Institute was an active organization during the school's operation. The Association met each year in conjunction with commencement exercises, and its members participated in an alumni dinner. When the school's full financial support from the American Missionary Association ceased after the 1918-1919 school year, donations received from the school's alumni funded teachers' salaries and allowed the school (no longer boarding students) to remain open for two more years. The school became part of the county's public school system during the 1921-1922 school year, with classes conducted in Jewett Memorial Hall #2.
On June 17, 1928, approximately 100 former GNI students and members of the Grandview community met to discuss how best to dispose of the 60-acre campus and its vacant school buildings. The meeting attendees formed the "Grandview Student Development Association," and unknowingly created a framework for preserving the community's history.
An outgrowth of the 1928 meeting was a decision to organize a reunion of former GNI students and teachers to be held the following year on the third Sunday in July. During the subsequent months, word of the upcoming reunion was spread by letter and word-of-mouth. Reunion organizers were hoping and planning for a doubling of the 1928 meeting attendance. On July 21, 1929, a crowd of nearly one thousand attendees overwhelmed the small Grandview community, coming by car from thirteen states, some coming from as far away as New Hampshire and California.
The "Third Sunday in July" gathering became a continuing tradition in the Grandview community. Through the Great Depression and into World War II, over 500 people from up to sixteen states attended the reunion each year. If a former student or teacher was unable to attend, he or she wrote a letter or sent a telegram which was read aloud to the others at the meeting.
The Grandview Student Development Associaton evolved into the GNI Student Body Organization, and at the 1939 reunion it was suggested a small newspaper be printed once a year and circulated among former students and teachers for the purpose of "informing" one another about events in their respective lives. First published in 1940, the Grandview Informer became a vehicle for past students and teachers to share their personal current events. But as time passed and its contributors became older, and the small newspaper evolved into a valuable collection of firsthand reminiscences about early Grandview and the GNI school.
For several decades after GNI closed, local graduates and students did much to preserve the memory of the old school. In 1961, the Student Body Organization worked with the Rhea County education office to successfully re-erect the school bell which called GNI students and Grandview public school students to class for ninety years. Through the efforts of three GNI graduates - Mrs. Grace Coxey, Dr. William Loy and Esther Hinds Allen - a commemorative plaque was obtained from the Tennessee Historical Commission marking the location of its campus and describing the importance of the school. In 1988, a few surviving students purchased a portion of the old campus from the State of Tennessee, preserving the site and deeding it to the newly-formed Grandview Community Center.
Two sisters living locally, Esther Hinds Allen and Ruth Hinds Starring, published and distributed 53 issues of the Grandview Informer - the last issue being pubished in 1993. As a result of their work, a significant collection of documents, photographs, artifacts and ephemera relating to early Grandview and the GNI school has survived. Mrs. Starring was also the driving force behind successfully preserving the school's original library.
The assets of the GNI Student Body Organization and the Grandview Normal Institute Memorial Library were transferred to the Grandview Heritage Foundation in 2000. Mrs. Starring passed away on October 16, 2001, just shy of her 100th birthday. She was the last living graduate of the Grandview Normal Institute.
In 1929, nearly 1000 former students and teachers attended the Grandview community's first, "Third Sunday in July" celebration.