There seems to be a preconceived notion that says only the people who peaked in high school and the people who had miraculous physical/financial transformations should be excited about their high school reunions. I think that notion is BS. I am neither of these things. I left Redeptorist and did well in college. Then I moved on to follow my dreams and start a family. (Went a little hog wild on that last one didn’t I?) My high school reunion was this past Saturday and I was excited about it. My husband was flabbergasted. How could anyone be excited to go to their reunion? Why is this important to you? Why do you care so much about your high school? I tell my husband that he can’t understand because he was never there.
In one of my Bonus Dad’s favorite novels, The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy (10/10 would recommend) he opens with the line “I wear the ring.” I think of it every time I put my class ring on. I wear it when I’m feeling nostalgic or when I need a reminder of where I came from and what I stand for. A wonderful woman who works on my team now is also a proud RHS grad. It’s been 50 years since her graduation and she still wears her class ring sometimes too. It wasn’t a large school while I was there but I’ve had the opportunity to meet many others feel as I do. Years ago when it was announced that the school would be shut down the alumni took to the streets and did their best to fight the decision. Obviously, most people don’t care THAT much about their high school but Redemptorist was so much more than that for so many of us.
For me, it was my second home. I remember crying on my first day of school there. I was scared and new and had braces, big hair, and no boobies. I found my home there though. No more was I the outcast. The teachers cared about their students. The students cared about each other. It was there that I learned how important it was to make sure everyone has a seat at the table. Where I truly learned that people with differing abilities make the world a better place.
In those halls and classrooms I learned so much about who I was and the impact I wanted to have on the world. It laid the foundation for who I am as an adult both in the workplace and at home. I embraced my intelligence there. I had my beliefs challenged. I learned how to stand up for the things I believe in without resorting to ugliness. I met some amazing, lifelong friends. I have many happy memories from there. At my reunion I was reminded of so many more.
Seeing my old friends was wonderful. It made my heart so happy to see how well they were doing. It was good for me to take a walk down memory lane and remember life before it got so damn complicated. Remembering where I came from has given me some of my spark back. It’s been a long time since graduation day. I wouldn’t do it over again, but I’m damn proud of my journey.