As you know, the men-children are fast approaching the “pointy end” of their education. They are on the cusp of making decisions that will shape their future study and career paths, including one of the boys potentially leaving school at the end of Year 10 to pursue trade studies at TAFE and an apprenticeship.
My own recent school reunion gives me occasion to reflect on how the boys will feel about their time at school in years to come? Will they remember school fondly? Will they keep some school friends for life? Will they willingly return when the school organises functions for old boys? Or will they have regrets and/or fears and choose to stay away?
Last weekend I was delighted to join 46 of my school friends for a reunion to mark 30 years since we departed the hallowed halls of our all girls’ school. Whilst I loved the fact that we were holding yet another reunion (our year level seems to have maintained the tradition very well), I admit some reluctance to tell everyone it was THIRTY years since I actually left school!!! Yes, it was 1982, and yes that would mean I am in my “mid” 40’s (please, I can’t say “late” 40’s just yet).
After much stalking on Facebook, and chasing via old postal and/or email addresses, and using every connection we had, we were absolutely thrilled to have 47 girls attend out of approx. 60 girls from our year level. We even had a couple of international guests fly in, and many interstaters also, which only served to heighten the success of the event and make it even more memorable.
One of the great initiatives for this reunion was using Facebook in the lead up to the event, with an ever-expanding circle of girls all reconnecting over the last six months. Stories were shared, photos were posted, laughs were had, news was spread, all before we even got to the event. The excitement was palpable within the group as the big day arrived. For those who couldn’t attend, Facebook provided them with the opportunity to connect to the group and share in the catch-ups, albeit remotely. And since the event, the group has expanded further, so we can stay in touch with each other in years to come.
Someone asked me if Facebook was the key to the success of the reunion? We had expected 30 girls to attend, with any more considered a bonus. The fact that we got 47 to the event was wonderful, and I think more a testimony to the wonderful memories we all had from school, and the chance to reminisce and share it all once more. I also think in our 40’s that most of us are pretty settled and happy with our lives, and the insecurities one might have when you are younger are diminished somewhat. And there was definitely a feeling that it was timely to come together too. We had sadly had two of our friends pass away in the last 12 months, which made it even more important to get together and celebrate our friendships.
It must be said the evening was a huge success, from the moment the girls arrived at the school to the last drinks at the pub (and then some)!! There were a few very nervous attendees, who were quickly embraced by all and promptly handed a glass of champagne, and a few almost unrecognisable faces, although not for long. Above all else, we were the same bunch of school girls all grown into wonderful, strong, amazing women, with an incredible sense of school spirit and self-worth. The tour of the school bought back floods of memories for all of us, enveloping us with warmth and comfort just like a favourite jumper.
I will admit I absolutely loved my years at school, and I have loved every school reunion since then (perhaps that’s also why I love helping to organise them). I hope my men-children and their sister have the same fond memories of school in the years to come, and enjoy returning to their respective schools for their reunions. Above all, I hope they are lucky enough to be blessed as I am, with a handful of school friends still counted in my closest circle of friends, some 37 years after we first met, and a wider group of school friends that I still see on a regular basis.
I have no doubt the spirits of the nuns that founded our school would have delighted in the sounds of joy and friendship that echoed throughout the school on that recent evening, knowing that the legacy of Cor Unum (one heart) was as strong as ever.
Have you attended a school reunion? Did you love it? Or swear you’d never attend another?