High school reunions. I attended my 45-year class reunion (Langley High School ‘77) earlier this summer, and had a lovely time—and with ample time in the run up and in the aftermath spent thinking about those formative years—whether reminiscing, assessing self-happiness, thinking about where and how my life has gone since then, etc.—I’m pleased to report that all in all I think very fondly of those years, as not only were they happy, they also helped form me, providing as they did, a solid pathway to enter life as a young adult in an engaged, prepared, and forward-leaning fashion. While all of that is true, my amazing parents were my first and most important teachers and my home, and my wonderful siblings, my truest school, and schoolmates. How lucky and blessed I am for that extraordinary reality, and what a difference it has made—all of this a gift and a blessing from our Heavenly Father. Several classes of O'Connell grads gathered for milestone anniversaries this past weekend. The first two graduating classes (1961 and 1962) had a combined reunion to celebrate 60 years since their graduation, and the Class of 1972, their 50th anniversary. Each group spent a nice chunk of their very full weekend here on campus—‘61/‘62 on Saturday afternoon, where they were toured brilliantly by their classmate (and long-time O'Connell theology teacher), Dennis Dwyer, while ‘72 gathered Sunday morning for Mass in our stunning IHM Chapel followed by light breakfast fare, great conversation, and a wonderful tour of the school by their classmate, Doug Gehley, an architect specializing in school design and a long-time member of the school's Board of Governors, and the chair of its Facilities and Infrastructure Committee. My thanks to both of you gentlemen, Dennis and Doug, and to the close to one hundred members of your classes who returned to their alma mater, shared stories and reminisced about what all those years ago meant to them today. While time, as always it does, marches on, it was evident that the core characteristics of what makes up a DJO graduate—whether five or six decades ago, or now—remain in place: joyfulness, positivity, good humor, inquisitiveness, interest in community and the well-being of others, and an overarching humility stemming from the presence and grace of God in one’s life and in seeing Christ in others.
Note: 14,039 hearty cans of soup were collected over the past two weeks, and were donated earlier today to Catholic Charities; kudos to all, but in particular to the senior class, who, in leading by example, collected 47 percent of the aforementioned 14K+!