Monday, October 24, 2011

My Furman 30th Year Reunion

(Click here for Reunion Pictures)

002This weekend I celebrated my 30th year reunion from Furman University (Class of 1981). It was a great time of celebration and reconnection. I also met our new President, Rod Smolla for the first time at the Alumni Awards breakfast and was very impressed so I look forward to good things happening at Furman under his leadership. The Furman Singers singing Brown Eyes always warms my heart and I look forward to that each year (I think that is my favorite part of the breakfast!). I actually took a video of it and posted it on Youtube if you would like to hear it: Brown Eyes. Even the football game turned out better than many expected since Furman beat Wofford 26-21!

I felt like this was the best reunion we have ever had. Maybe I wasn’t so tense or felt the need to impress and could just be myself. Everyone looked great and seemed to have a good time Friday and Saturday. I remember thinking at past reunions that I wish I had done something more exciting in my life than just being a teacher to share with others. My class of 1981 has produced very impressive, important, and even famous people so you can see why I might have been a little intimidated. Maybe this year was great because I have accepted myself for what I am and therefore could enjoy everyone else’s successes rather than being envious. I realized that I was quite happy and proud that I am a teacher and feel I have accomplished a lot in these past 30 years.

I think in the past I was too egocentric (it’s easy to look back and see myself this way rather than in the present time) and now I was more interested in everyone else. I wanted to know what they were doing now and more about their families. I wanted to know how they met their spouse and what exciting things were they planning for the future.

Maybe it is my old age or lack of memory but many faces looked familiar even though their names wouldn’t come to my brain. Thank goodness for our Facebook group that enabled us to connect before this weekend. I mentioned to others that it was a great way to get to know each other again so this weekend was more of a reconnection rather than just getting reacquainted. I think we plan to keep our Facebook page to keep this connection going.

When some of us were talking about these reconnections, we wondered if we were friends with some of these people 30 years ago or did we develop into friends over the 30 years. Since I was a dining hall worker for my four years at Furman, I’m not sure I can remember who my friends were as compared to people that I served every day for meals. I have seen many of the same faces at the reunions and gotten to know them better from our gatherings. As we exchange business cards with promises of staying in touch, I’m grateful to have a chance to develop better relationships with couples that have touched our lives over the years.

Last night’s dinner was at High Cotton in downtown Greenville and it was a fabulous venue for a reunion. We had a buffet with tables set around the room. People could nibble off the buffet the whole evening and mingle with others without any rigid constraints. Our committee had planned a short program involving a trivia game but we played it by ear as to whether we would do anything or not. As it worked out, everyone seemed happy visiting with each other so Ken just played his presentation with trivia questions and answers on the screen for people to look at if they wanted to. It was perfect! Having a sit down dinner being served tends to tie people down to one table and eating every course there which limits the ability to visit with others. I’m so glad Donna worked this out for us in this way. I think I was able to speak to everyone who was there and even met some that I didn’t remember knowing. I think we all looked pretty good even if we were 30 years older!

It was such a success that I look forward to getting together in another 5 years! Go Furman Paladins!!!

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original Image: Pat Hensley


Molly said...

Interesting reflections about your reunion. Being able to appreciate the accomplishments while being aware of your own success is a wonderful way to look at the world. (I was very impressed with the video...what a nice tradition.)

Laura Mohr said...

Pat, You are and have always been a very special person and a special educator! Laura Mohr