By Morgan K. ’16
A current Spence student more often than not associates our alumnae with an abstract web, only made tangible by the photographs in the Drawing Room. There is, however, one day of the year when we are overwhelmed by the fact that our alumnae are very much real: Reunion.
Reunion 2016 kicked off on Thursday, April 7, with an afternoon tea reception at Head of School Bodie Brizendine’s home, honoring class years ending in “1” and “6” as well as members of The 1892 Society. Members of The 1892 Society provide for the future of our School by generously including Spence in their estate plans. At the tea, these members received a pin adorned with a hawthorn tree from Brizendine to represent their bond to the school.
On Friday, the 91st Street building welcomed home floods of our beloved alumnae. For seniors, including myself, the main event was the Reunion Luncheon, the chicest occasion we had ever known our Dining Room to host. Distinguished Alumnae Awards
were presented to Jill Furman ’86, producer of nationally renowned musical Hamilton
, and Heidi Gage Jenkins ’66, P’08 for her “extraordinary, sustained support and service to Spence.” We also heard from the Reunion Chairs, Anya Herz Shiva ’88, president of the Alumnae Association, Brizendine and Shaina Lin Chung, our beloved president of the Class of 2016. By the time we lined up for the ceremony of alumnae handing seniors yellow roses as symbolic tokens of our induction into the Spence alumnae community, we were inspired by the achievements of those who have paved the way for us and immensely proud of own accomplishments thus far.
For the rest of the afternoon, alumnae were invited to take a tour of the school or visit classes until everyone gathered in the Theater to hear Brizendine give what she referred to as her “mini State of the Union address,” reporting what was in store for Spence as we approach our 125th anniversary. Following updates on subjects such as our in-the-works athletics facility at 412 East 90th Street and programs for faculty and students on social equity, alumnae were invited to ask questions about our ever-evolving school.
Highlights of even more alumnae events on Saturday, April 9, included a film screening of Jane Wants a Boyfriend
, where the audience was joined by Anne Dempsey Sullivan ’76, executive producer. It was particularly heartwarming for Sullivan to be among many of her classmates for their milestone Reunion year. Alumnae and their families had a variety of wonderful options in the afternoon: one could attend a poetry discussion led by Mary Frosch, former head of our English Department, a Triple Trio performance with Music teacher Evan Wels, or PE activities for alumnae and their children with favorites Denise Adorante and Eileen MacLellan.
Reunion 2016 was a landmark moment for me, as a graduating senior. As soon as I returned home, my mother and I found a heavy book to press my yellow rose. For me, it will remain a symbol of the growth, of the evolution and of the progress that I have experienced at Spence along with my 53 siblings, the Class of 2016. My mother found other flowers she had pressed over the years, and I imagined myself in her position, looking back in 30 years’ time. I knew that should I come upon my yellow rose, it would remind me of the family that I had left behind but that would always welcome me back with open arms.View a full gallery of photos online here.