Reunion Weekend Returns

College+Counselor%2C+Adam+Gimple+speaking+to+Masters+alum

Xavier Rolston

College Counselor, Adam Gimple speaking to Masters alum

For the first time since 2019, Masters held an in-person reunion weekend on May 13 and 14. Alumni from any class that ended in the second or seventh year of past decades were invited to attend the event. 

All 96 acres of campus were filled with joyful alumni reconnecting with their old peers. There were several events on the weekend including a tour of Estherwood, classes hosted by current teachers, Gold Key Tours, a Wine and Cheese Reception, and more.

Head of School Laura Danforth said, “It’s fabulous. Everyone is so happy to be back on campus. We have two 50th years and we have a handful of people that graduated 60 years ago.”

Danforth then talked about her interactions with alums during the weekend. She said, “My favorite parts have been hearing the stories. I’ve heard stories about favorite places to smoke cigarettes on campus and I’ve heard a lot of stories about teachers and their favorite classes. One woman who just left said, ‘every time I come onto campus I feel seen and heard’ so that makes me feel good.”

Dave Adams ‘07, who was a seven-day boarder in Strong Dorm, loved reconnecting with his old peers but also reminisced on his experience at Masters. Adams said, “It’s amazing, everything comes in full circle in life. When I got to this school I realized how special this school was immediately.”

Diana Davis ‘62 was enthusiastic about seeing the many changes Masters has undergone regarding both their classes and other services offered. She observed how boarding life has evolved since she attended Masters six decades ago, especially with the addition of the 5-day boarding program. Davis said, “I understand why so many families want their kids to have a good education, but they also don’t want them to be far, far away.”

Davis also noted that the courses being offered today have grown tremendously. “The caliber of the courses looked to me to be almost collegiate in level. I’m so proud of that for Masters,” she said, praising the courses she sat in on by Bill Roberts and Jason Hult.

Upper School English teacher Miriam Emery recounted her experience leading a demo class for alumni to sit in on, and described how she felt seeing old students return. Emery expressed gratitude for the opportunity to reconnect with former students through teaching this class, saying “It’s really fun [seeing old students]. It’s great to see what they’re doing these days, and to hear about what they did in college,” One thing that she hadn’t anticipated was how the students would react to being back in a high school class setting.

“When I asked everyone to read something and write something, I mean people were totally freaked out… they hadn’t been in a school setting or been asked to write anything formally in a long time. They’ve been out of school for a long time, so it was really interesting to see… none of this was normal to them.”

One final note she spoke on was why having an in-person reunion is an important tradition. “The fun thing about a reunion is that you’re like, ‘oh my gosh, I haven’t seen this person since the day I graduated high school,’” Emery said. She added that it’s especially nice to be able to reconnect with peers who you may not have spoken to as much since leaving Masters. “When you go to a school where people are pretty tight, like Masters, it’s fun to go back and talk to the people who weren’t your best friends, but who you were friendly with.”

 

Three awards were presented this year: The Richmond Bowl, the Anna Howe Faculty Award, and an Arts Hall of Fame induction. Each of these awards was created to “honor members of our community who have distinguished themselves through service to the School, to its students, and to the world outside Masters.”

Nia DaCosta ‘07 was inducted into the Arts Hall of Fame for her work as an award-winning screenwriter and director. Among many other impressive accomplishments. DaCosta is the “first Black female director to debut a film (“Candyman”) at #1.”

Upper School Mathematics teacher Michele Dennis P’21, ’23 won the Anna Howe Faculty Award, an award created to recognize Masters faculty members who have helped shape and change the lives of their students, and display excellence both inside and outside of the classroom. Dennis is known around campus not only for her work as a teacher, dorm parent, advisor, and field hockey coach, but also for her love of the community.

Betsy Hamill Bramsen ‘63 won The Richmond Bowl, which recognizes an alum who displays selfless dedication and willingness to serve, and is always willing to go the extra mile in their service to the school. Bramsen has served on the Board of Trustees, a class agent, and has lived her whole life invested in volunteering and conservation.

After its brief Covid hiatus, reunion weekend brought lots of smiles and joy to former Masters students. Whether they graduated as long as 60 years ago or as short as five years ago, everyone was able to gather and enjoy old memories, as well as celebrate the new advancements Masters has made since their graduation.