I was fully prepared for all the joy, pride and exuberance I would feel when my daughter graduated from Spence after 13 years, and I wasn’t surprised when my expectations were exceeded at Commencement. What I hadn’t planned for was the sense of loss I experienced in the fall that followed her graduation and how hard it was to suddenly stop seeing on a daily basis all the wonderful mothers and fathers—friends—who’d been an essential part of my life for so many extraordinary years. The Parents of Spence Alumnae was formed shortly after my daughter’s graduation, thank goodness, to support all the bereft parents who, like me, were suffering from acute Spence withdrawal.
This year’s Parents of Spence Alumnae Annual Gathering took place on Thursday, January 19, 2017, with cocktails from 6 to 7 p.m., followed by a program in the Theater from 7 to 8 p.m. The cocktail party was well-attended, and, like all parties at school, it was gracious and elegant, the wine free-flowing and the food delectable. I’ve been to the past three of these terrific events and compared notes with several other guests who’d been at those, as well, and we agreed that there not only seemed to be more people this year, but there were definitely more dads than at previous parties. The room was filled with happy people hugging and laughing, delighted to be sharing news and trading stories about what their daughters were up to these days with their old and much-missed friends.
At 7 p.m., we went upstairs to the Theater (the gym when I was a student!), where we were greeted by Erhard and Ruth Marius, parents of two recent graduates. Erhard emceed wonderfully, helping all the speakers up and down onto the high painted risers being made ready for the Middle School play.
The lovely evening started with remarks from Head of School Bodie Brizendine and a reminder from Erhard to save April 5 for the next event the PSA is invited to: the culminating 125th anniversary exhibition.
Sarah Hermanson Meister, Class of ’90, parent of ’21, and curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, also introduced the lucky girls who have worked with her in the Spence archives since last summer and discussed choosing “then and now” photographs for an exhibition currently on the second floor also commemorating the 125th anniversary exhibition.
Finally, Danielle Passno, Director of Outreach and Public Purpose and mathematics teacher, along with Izzy P. ’18, told us about the 125 Acts of Service program, which honors Spence’s 125-year commitment to responsible citizenship by mobilizing the entire community to focus on social good—simple acts of service—as a hallmark of our historic celebration.