Alumni Day(s)

The day before Thanksgiving is always fun. For as long as I can remember, recent graduates descend upon Stuy. For the most part, they mull around the senior bar but we get our share up in 301.

This year was a little quiet but I got to see more than my share of graduates over the weekend as I attended the 2002 and 2007 class reunions. I've only been invited to a handful of reunions and really consider it an honor when I am.

I had a great time at both events but here are some notes for those of you organizing reunions in the future:

  • Name tags!!!!!! 2002 had them, 2007, not so much.
  • Be a sport, give the teachers the open bar tickets (thanks 2007)
  • Maybe I'm just an old fart, but people are there to reconnect - lower the volume on the music - particularly if you don't have a dance floor

I've got to also give particular props to Gary He for keeping the class of 2002 crush lists for the past 10 years.

Between the two reunions and the alumni visits prior, I noticed a few things. First. I was reminded that each years is like a separate stratified layer. You might know a couple of students from the year before or after, but that's about it. It's like groundhog day. Each year has a similar assortment of personalities and archetypes and exists in semi-isolation. I also noticed that while the graduates were strongly connected to each other, not so much to the school.

These are two of the things that I've tried to address by creating family.stuycs.org. I'm hoping this group can bring Stuy grads together across the years. The feedback I got from people at both reunions was very positive. I'm also counting on this community to give back to help us in our efforts to enhance computer science education at Stuy and in the city.

On the lack of connection to the school, I do think things will get better. Stuyvesant's new principal, Jie Zhang was at the 2002 reunion. The fact that she was there was huge. I can't imagine the previous principal coming in to attend a class reunion. After all, he's the principal that tried to keep the alums out of Stuyvesant on multiple occasions. There was also a point in the evening when one of our alums was telling Principal Zhang that many graduates wanted to be more connected to Stuy but felt alienated. She seemed shocked and emphasized that graduates should be welcome at and feel part of the community.

It was a tiring weekend -- too many late nights, but a good one.

I sense good things to come.

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