October 23, 2023
Earlier this year, one of my classmates from MPA’s class of 1993 texted me asking if I had heard if anything was happening for our 30-year reunion. I said no, but I’d contact the alumni team at MPA to see. When I did that, Ashley Goetzke, assistant director of development, got back to me and said, “No, but congratulations, you’re the reunion chair for your class’s reunion!” So, I texted my buddy and said, “Congratulations! You’re the reunion chair for our reunion.” It’s not that we didn’t want to do it. Well, that’s not true. We weren’t relishing the idea per se, but we quickly realized that the benefit (reconnecting with our classmates) outweighed the drawbacks (herding cats and doing so from afar as neither of us live in Minnesota). We decided the challenge was worth pursuing and forged ahead.
I have two primary takeaways from this experience:
The first is that we found our classmates were more than eager to help crowd source spreading the word, tracking down—and, once tracked down, cajoling—classmates. Whatever the reason, be it a YOLO attitude post-COVID, or (more likely) the value of the connections forged at MPA filtered through the gravity of 30 years in our case this year, each classmate we connected with in trying to ascertain who would be interested and then when they would be available, was gung ho and made that part of the process immeasurably easier for their willingness to amplify the cause. Honestly, tracking people down and then herding them toward consensus was the thing that gave me the most trepidation, and it ended up being very light lifting on our part due to the commitment of our classmates.
The second is that the outcome—we had 21 of 42 (living) classmates, 11 plus-1s, four former teachers, and one former Upper School director attend—was beyond worth it. No, not everyone in our class wanted to participate. Those who didn’t had their reasons, and they were respectable reasons. Several more would have attended but for immovable conflicts. But the desire to re-connect was far stronger than I had anticipated. We had classmates come in from New York, Florida, Idaho, Oregon, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, Texas, and *Mexico* for the event. The interest from former teachers/administrators was also extremely gratifying, and the chance to connect with them—this time as adults—was really fun, too.
If you’re considering stepping up and spearheading the organization efforts of your class’s reunion, but are concerned that it won’t be worth it, I would encourage you to go for it. The sum total of my experience doing so was a massively positive, fulfilling, and enjoyable experience both in the preparation and the event itself. Think about what MPA and your experience there as a student means to you all these years later and ask yourself whether or not you’d like to re-connect with the primary drivers of that experience—your classmates. If the answer is yes, then the cost of your time and energy in putting it together will pale in comparison to the benefits you will receive from the manifestation of your efforts.
MPA Class of 1993