The Storm King campus was quiet last week as the remaining students and faculty left campus for the summer. Behind the scenes, our Development, Dining, and Maintenance staff was hard at work preparing for Reunion 2017, which took place on Friday, June 9 through Sunday, June 11. As the guests began to arrive, the School came to life once again. It was one of the best turnouts in the last fifteen years as more than 130 alumni and their families from all over the country returned to the Mountain to reunite with old friends, stay in their old dorm rooms, and reminisce about their time spent here.
Alongside the memories, there was a lot to come back for this year. The festivities began Friday with a golf outing to the Storm King Golf Club, a guided hike in Black Rock Forest, and an evening cocktail party where old friends enjoyed drinks under the new gazebo on Ledoux Terrace. Several alumni who hadn’t been back to the Mountain since graduation commented on the state of the campus, saying “it never looked better.” As the sun set and day turned to evening, the sound of laughter began to ring out over the lawn as old memories were relived and old friendships rekindled.
Saturday, June 10, began with a sumptuous breakfast prepared by our chefs, followed by a memorial service on the lawn before Memorial Rock remembering Storm King alumni who had passed away over the last year. After the service, guests had a chance to join an Alumni Association meeting in the Smidt Room before the Headmaster’s Lobster & Champagne Luncheon.
At the luncheon, Headmaster Jonathan Lamb ushered in the Sesquicentennial – a year of celebration commemorating the 150th anniversary of The Storm King School. Alumni were treated to a Sesquicentennial Kickoff presentation featuring highlights of the School’s long and rich history, and current state of affairs. “I want to welcome all of you to the Headmaster’s Luncheon. This is a chance to update you on the current state of the school and also to mark the official start of our celebration of 150 years, an anniversary we will start to recognize today and continue to celebrate until next year’s reunion in June 2018, following our 150th Commencement,” said Headmaster Lamb.
Guests were encouraged to look out for the School’s hardcover history book which is being published especially for the Sesquicentennial. Following his address, Mr. Lamb officially kicked off the year with a champagne toast to the future and plans to continue the Storm King tradition for many years to come. “A lot has happened in that last 150 years and the last five years – but it is just a beginning,” he said. “In celebration of 150 years of growing young people on the Mountain, I would like to ask you all to raise your glasses in honor of our rich past, and our brighter, richer future – a toast to our Sesquicentennial.”
After a hearty round of applause, the atmosphere became jovial as the guests enjoyed lobster tails, mussels, shrimp, and ice cold beverages. Throughout Saturday afternoon, alumni continued to socialize in the shade of the gazebo, stroll around campus, play games on the lawn, and look at items on display on the silent auction tables as they waited for the Reunion Banquet and Alumni Awards – the traditional culmination of Reunion events.
As guests were seated, Board Chair Roger Auerbacher ‘66 took the microphone to welcome alumni and kick off the evening. “Some of you haven’t been here in a few years, some for 50 years. Again, WELCOME HOME. We’re so glad that you came, no matter how long it’s been. Why? Because it’s always good to see that spark; that rekindling of the spirit and ideas that made this place so special to all of us,” said Roger. Following his opening words, Roger presented the first award of the evening. The Margaret Clark Faculty Excellence Award was given to the late Thaddeus “Thad” Horton, the 11th Headmaster of The Storm King School. Following his 13-year tenure, Thad was remembered as a teacher, baseball coach, leader, and especially, as a “friend to all.” The Award was accepted with heartfelt words by Thad’s son, Evan Horton ’77.
For the Sports Hall of Fame inductions, Alumni Association President Scott Cantor stepped up to the podium. Two teams and one individual athlete were honored this year. Charles Cordero ’92 was chosen “because his record personifies the hard work, leadership, and integrity of which we are proud at SKS.” The two teams inducted this year were the 1977 boys varsity basketball team led by John Meynardie ’77 and Homer Anderson ’77, and the 2012 varsity wrestling team led by Harris Ackermann ‘12, Frank Conti ‘12 and Johnathan Flores ‘12. John Meynardie, Harris Ackermann, and Johnathan Flores shared their fondest memories as they accepted the inductions.
With the conclusion of the awards, the crowd turned their attention toward the food, fun, and one another for the rest of the evening. After dinner, the winners of the Parents’ Association Silent Auction were announced. The stories and hugs were flowing freely as the group moved out to the terrace to enjoy a final night together under the gazebo in the shadow of the Mountain they once called home. Reunion 2017 was a great success and next year will be even better. Many thanks go out to all who were involved, especially our returning alumni. Now it’s time to look forward to the Sesquicentennial Gala scheduled to take place at Reunion 2018!
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