Reunion 2013

Suzie Nixon
More than 400 return to campus for a weekend of recollection and reconnection.
The Ojai Valley was bathed in sunlight and mild temperatures during Reunion Weekend 2013, extending a perfect welcome for the 425 participants in Thacher's joyous, annual celebration. CdeP 1953 and 1958 enjoyed great turnouts, arriving a day early to commence a long weekend's festivities, with many spouses joining in for the various dinner parties, seminars, toasts, and recreational activities. CdeP 1963 started their weekend with a luncheon in the Library's Margaret Appenzeller Huyler Courtyard, a fitting venue for John Huyler and his classmates as they joined together to acknowledge their 50-year milestone. 
Thanks to the care and creative efforts of alumni, faculty, staff, and volunteers, the weekend came off without a hitch or even a fall from a horse! As usual, every riding session was full on Saturday and Sunday, as was the lineup of trapshooters. Jay Gudebski CdeP 1993 walked away with the highest shooting score of the day with 21 of 25. And Katherine Bechtel CdeP 2003 raised the bar as well, making 19 of 25 shots. Of all the classes represented, CdeP 2003 was the top squad. Trap range master Steve Kanaly made this event possible, with the help of Robert Torres (father of Justin CdeP 2004 and Stephanie CdeP 1999) and Chris Van Son (father of Toto '16 and Sarah '15), along with student workers. 
Seminars, services, and entertainment were offered by a variety of alumni throughout Saturday, preceding the traditional banquet. Those presenting in various forms included:
  • Andrew Barkan CdeP 1998 and his wife Polly Hall shared a Sing-a-Long for children of all ages in the Commons, including their award-winning, original songs. 
  • CdeP 1958 for writing (thanks to Paul Armington), organizing (thanks to Tony Thacher) and presenting (thanks to the entire class) a "Poetry Ragout" in honor of faculty member Jack Huyler and their special fund to encourage poetry and creative writing among students and faculty. Interspersed in the presentation were English Department Chair Jake Jacobsen and current students Sarah Van Son '15, Emma Rogowski '15, and Marissa Lopez '15.
  • Stacey Cowles CdeP 1978 made a toast to his class and all reunioners under the banquet tent on Saturday evening. 
  • Meredith Dworkin CdeP 2008 gave a final toast worth waiting for during the Saturday evening formal dinner banquet.
  • Lee Follett CdeP 1953 served as class rep with John Carver to catalyze an outstanding turnout, to plan an extended weekend of group touchstones, and to deliver an excellent and memorable toast. 
  • Jim Griffith CdeP 1953 shared stories and background on the subject of folklore, particularly in the Southwestern United States. 
  • Amanda Hartnack CdeP 1998 gave a toast during the Saturday evening banquet on behalf of her class' 15th-year reunion.
  • William "Otty" Hayne CdeP 1943 offered a classic toast on behalf of his class' 70th-year reunion during the Saturday evening formal dinner banquet. 
  • Andy Herr CdeP 1973 gave a toast to honor his class' 40th-year reunion during the Saturday evening banquet. 
  • Doug Holt CdeP 1983 gave a toast to his lively 30th-year reunion class, remembering their antics with gratitude, during the Saturday evening formal dinner. 
  • John Huyler CdeP 1968 participated in a panel discussion with schoolmates and Mr. Shagam on the subject of the Honor Code from the 1950s to the present day.
  • José Klein CdeP 1993—with comments from his wife Rosa, also CdeP 1993—gave toast to love, diversity, and change at Thacher, on behalf of his class' 20th-year reunion celebration.
  • Michael Kong CdeP 1983 served as a stellar emcee for the Saturday evening formal banquet, acknowledging the history of every year represented by alumni and acting as advocate for the present-day Thacher experience. 
  • Liz Mahoney CdeP 1988 made a toast to her class, reminding them of the humorous and touching stories they share. 
  • Alfred "Robin" Marks CdeP 1963 delivered the toast in honor of his class' seminal 50th-year reunion. 
  • Henry "Trav" Newton CdeP 1968 made a thoughtful, historical toast in memory of Head of School Dave Twichell.
  • Laura McHale CdeP 1988 shared her views and experiences as a panelist during the seminar on the Honor Code.
  • Max Pillsbury CdeP 2008 shared present-day wisdom on the Honor Code as a member of the panel, with Marvin Shagam heading the discussion.
  • Thomas "Tuck" Russell CdeP 1958 made a generous toast on behalf of his class' 55th-year reunion. 
  • Sarah Tapscott CdeP 2003 offered a loving toast to her class, in acknowledgement of their 10-year reunion, under the banquet tent.  
  • Tony Thacher CdeP 1958 assembled an historical audio presentation for the Po8Tree seminar.
  • Kim Turner CdeP 1998 reflected with her co-panelists on the nature of the Honor Code and the effect it has in her policy work every day. 
  • Samuel Wright CdeP 1948 wrote an award-winning toast on behalf of his class' 65-year reunion (delivered on his behalf by Derick Perry CdeP 1983).
  • Reza Zafari CdeP 1978 rounded out the group of panelists, drawing in his experience on a campus that became co-ed during his time at Thacher, with the first class of female graduates joining him and fellow classmates.
Nick Thacher CdeP 1963, son of Anson Thacher CdeP 1923 and grandson of our founder, Sherman Day Thacher, and his classmates Joe Hollow and Steve Griggs honored their class' 50-year reunion during the Sunday Memorial Service. Nick Thacher facilitated the service, inspiring everyone present with his words about the campus and the Outdoor Chapel:

For me this Memorial Hill has powerful significance, primarily entangled in what the greatest of the English Romantic poets called “intimations of mortality.” My best friend’s name rests on a plaque embedded on the simple stone pillars to your left. I bid my formal goodbyes to the only grandparent I knew as well as to both of my parents and to innumerable friends, relatives, teachers, and casual acquaintances right here in this powerfully restorative place—a place that stirs in me not so much a freshet of grief and celebration as a torrent of loss and appreciation and deep, abiding affection that—though I am no Biblical scholar—always puts me in mind of the most beautiful lines of Ecclesiastes:
All the rivers run into the sea,
Yet the sea is not full.
Unto the place from whence the rivers come,
Thither they return again.

So—if the view before you seems slightly changed, as it undoubtedly does in its details—find consolation, as the Romantic poet did, in those little changes, as well as in the things that haven’t changed—the mingled scents of dust, orange blossom, greasewood, and manure; the sweep of the citrus groves luring your eye westward towards the far rim that obscures the sea, the looming but familiar solidities of Twin Peaks and Chief and Topa Topa, the occasional nicker from the corrals.
(Read the complete remarks here.)

There are countless ways that alumni made a difference in the tenor and scope of Reunion Weekend. Many thanks to all of you for showing up and participating in a happy, memorable time together. We appreciate our unique community, are grateful for their contributions to Thacher and throughout the world, and are always grateful for the presence of alumni at Casa de Piedra. 
Come back any time!


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