|Part of the beautiful McDonogh campus. This is the Finney Building, named|
after a former Board Chairmen, whose grandson John was my roommate my
freshman year at Princeton.,before I joined thr Navy and John the Marines in
World War II.
|My prize for being the oldest returning |
alum was a framed copy of "The
McDonogh Uniform," which in the
olden days every student had to
memorize. Standing behind me is
Headmaster Charles Britton.
What is most impressive and heart-warming to older alums like me is that the school has maintained its commitment to the ideals of its founder, John McDonogh. Students, faculty, and staff are imbued with the core of its mission, which is, in the founder’s words, "to do the greatest possible amount of good.” Every aspect of their educational experience is geared to prepare the students for life and to make a positive difference in the world. What a refreshing atmosphere that shared purpose creates for the entire McDonogh family; the McDonogh spirit is palpable.
I attended every key event, walked all over the campus, visited with teachers and students, and inwardly reminisced about the days when I was climbing some of those same trees and playing on those same fields. I cannot adequately express what I was feeling throughout the reunion – so many long buried experiences vividly recalled, the faces of so many beloved teachers and friends appearing clearly to my mind’s eye, so many memorable moments.
One of those unforgettable moments was the morning of December 8, 1941, when Major Louis E. Lamborn, our awe-inspiring Headmaster, at a specially called assembly of the Upper School, interpreted the instantly life-changing significance of the attack on Pearl Harbor. With trembling voice and tear filled eyes he expressed his assurance that we McDonogh boys would serve our country well in the war from which he knew some of us would not return alive.
|Tagart Chapel, where I attended vespers as a seven-year-old|
On the drive home I had time to process my three-day experience at McDonogh. I was so happy and grateful that I could be there for what was a most amazing reunion. There was really no one for me to “reune” with, but I mingled with many wonderful fellow alumni and alumnae, whom I had never met, and a handful with whom I had overlapped a few years but didn’t really know well, since they were several years younger than I. Even so we had things about which we could reminisce a bit. Indeed, I felt connected with everyone there, for we all had McDonogh in common, and we celebrated each other’s unique experiences.
Overall it was what I would call a sad-happy time for me – happy because of the sheer joy of experiencing the McDonogh of today, sad because I was missing the wistful days of long ago and all my long lost friends. Sad, too, because I was all the more aware of my own mortality and wondering how many more reunions I’ll be able to attend.