Monday, May 4, 2015

50th Reunion Class Speech – As delivered 
May 1, 2015

[ad lib on crashing tables and chairs]

-- It’s great to be back at MICDS, and I’m particularly happy to see so many here from the Country Day Class of 1965.  By my count, more than half of us who graduated fifty years ago are present today.  That shows, more than anything, how loyal our class is to MICDS.  One thing I have also noticed: I see my classmates all looking around at each other, and I know exactly what they’re thinking: “Why is it that I FEEL so much younger than my classmates LOOK?”  It’s the same story for every class.

-- The Class of 1965 was the last class to start at the Old School back in 1957.  And, as many of you know, when Country Day was built, it WAS way out in the country.  But by the time our class started there, nearby Lambert Field had grown so much that this was no longer the case. I can remember Wally Cole, our very patient math teacher yelling at the top of his lungs, trying to teach us the basics of decimals and fractions as Voodoo Jets roared overhead on full afterburners. [ joke about noise in the auditorium being somewhat higher than Voodoos on full afterburners]

-- Back then, our wise benefactors, who included the McDonnells and the Danforths, decided that the best thing to do would be to move Country Day right next to Mary Institute.  This was an inspired idea.  [We, the Class of 1965, were the first class eighters to start at the New School on Warson Road in 1958.  It looked very different back then.  Most of the trees were not yet planted, the grass had not yet grown, and Danforth Chapel was one of the more impressive buildings on campus.  Now of course, Danforth is gone, having been replaced by the state of the art McDonnell and Brauer STEM facility.]

-- Many of us representing the Class of 1965 today did a full eight years at Country Day School, and I think that for most of us those years were some of the most enjoyable of our lives. [They were also eventful.  As students, we lived through some of the worst periods of the Cold War, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, and of course, many of us were at Country Day when our Headmaster, Mr. Pynchon, came to the student Dining Hall to announce with great sadness that President Kennedy had been shot.]  

[-- While much about Country Day and the world around us has changed since then, there are a few things that, thankfully, have remained the same.]  In particular, then, as now, we were blessed with a group of dedicated and talented teachers, some of the finest in the nation.  More than anyone, they deserve our highest praise. [ad lib on our Russian teacher, Mrs. Danett, present at the reunion, in her nineties, one of our greatest teachers]

-- Our teachers did an outstanding job. But at the end of eight years, I can’t say that we were the most scholarly bunch ever to graduate from Country Day.  Of course, we all went off to college – Dean Webb saw to that -- and we also had our share of future achievers.  But what most distinguishes the Class of 1965?

-- One thing I do remember is that, more than almost any other class, we had a lot of fun – we truly enjoyed our time at Country Day.  [If you glance at our Senior Class photo, you will see a pretty solid-looking bunch, but if you look a little closer, you will see who we really were.  A lot of us are wearing Country Day hats, or staring off in the wrong direction, or laughing and joking with each other – doing anything except posing seriously.  That’s who we were then, and that’s who we still are now.]

-- The Class of 1965 was also known for one other thing.  We were VERY good on the athletic field.  Whether it was on the tennis court, where our esteemed Reunion Chairman, Spencer Burke, was king, or on the basketball court, where co-captains Eddie Barad and John Mackey, held sway, or on the baseball and soccer fields, we were a force to be reckoned with.  But it was on the football field where our true class identity came through.  Led by our team Captain, Dave Perry, we were undefeated in the ABC League, and in many cases, unscored upon as well.  And while many of us weren’t all that good at mathematics, as our teachers Mr. Werremeyer and Mr. Stickney would attest, there were two numbers that we all understood perfectly well: 20 and 6, as in Country Day Football Rams 20, Burroughs 6.

-- So that’s our class – a bit rough and tumble, but successful in the end, and also very grateful for the opportunities that eight years at Country Day gave us.  And that leads me to the business part of my speech, the announcement of the Class Gift. I’d like to call on Tim Smith, our chief fundraiser, to give us a report on how well we’re doing in achieving our pledge goal. [Tim gives a short report.  Note: the pledge goal for the Class of 1965 has been exceeded, and we are now over $125,000, with more pledges coming in. About 40 classmates have made pledges, with about 25 more yet to be heard from.]

-- In conclusion, I’d like to thank all of you being here today, and especially those members of the Class of 1965, and I hope we will all see each other at many more reunions to come.  Thank you very much. 

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