Monday, May 08, 2006

reunion [rE-'yün-y&n]
the act of reuniting; a gathering of the members of a group who have been separated
Synonyms include: alliance, assemblage, attachment, bond, coalition, congregation


When life as a grown-up seems to get in the way of carefree living, I often find myself wishing I were still in high school. As naïve and cliché as that sounds, remembering the simplicities that teenagedom once provided can only produce a hearty laugh from beneath the often heavy burdens of adulthood and responsibility.
I spent Sunday morning and afternoon on my high school campus, not only to celebrate a 10-year reunion with my 1996 senior class, but to revel in the 100th anniversary of Immaculate Heart High School. I’ve been looking forward to this day since I sent my $50 RSVP a few weeks ago, but it wasn’t until I drove into the student parking lot with Rochelle, until we walked up the stairs past the freshman lockers like we’ve done hundreds of times, until we saw the panorama of our beautiful campus, did I realize just how lucky I was to be part of such a proud community of educated, talented and generous women of heart.
There were 116 of us who graduated in 1996, and I’ve remained close friends with about a dozen. It’s funny how, on reunion day, it didn’t matter what clics we had in high school; who we ate lunch with, who we carpooled with, whose house we used to get ready for dances at, who we did extra-curricular activities with, etc. On our high school’s 100th birthday, the 40-50 of us ‘96ers embraced each other after 10 years, happier than ever to see such familiar faces again. We were students once, dressed in gray pleated skirts, v-neck sweaters and penny loafers, brooding over Spanish conjugations, English papers, chemical formulas and cheerleading/basketball practices. On this day, sans the catholic schoolgirl uniform that Britney so strategically made famous, we were dressed like women, beaming about husbands, kids and life’s other successes.
IH has changed much since we last took our final bow as high school seniors on Class Day, and rose up as alumni at the Hollywood Bowl a decade ago. The lives that lay before us back then, as uncertain and at times treacherous, as it appeared, armored us with a fearlessness and vitality I often seek protection from these days when values like love, faith and common courtesy have been reduced to signify cowardice and conformity. We were, and always will be, anything but.
There’s much to be said about a high school where alumni from the class of 1931 to the present are there to celebrate the pride and tradition of their alma mater. You could say curiosity played a part in attendance. Possibly a daughter, granddaughter or sister is a current student. Maybe you just want to see old friends. Or maybe there’s just a part of you that never really left.

Raise on high your standard
Sing to alma mater
Immaculate Heart we greet you
Every loyal daughter
We'll lead you on to victory
Never will we fail
For the glory of the blue and white
Hail our alma mater, hail.

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