Over the weekend of September 11-12, SPA will kick off the most unusual Reunion in the school’s 120-year history: the first “virtual” Reunion celebration. More than 300 graduates of the school will gather online for a series of weekend events that include many of the same activities of a normal Reunion Weekend, but transformed for the virtual platform.
Planning for Reunion Weekend begins every year in the spring—just as COVID-19 began spreading in the United States in March 2020. Director of Alumni/ae Programs Chris Jenkyns knew then that Reunion would need to look different this year, while still maintaining a sense of celebration and engagement for alumni/ae. “We know that Reunion is one of the most beloved events for our alumni/ae community,” said Jenkyns. “And as a result of a lot of brainstorming, the idea for Virtual Reunion Weekend was born.”
The weekend’s activities begin on Friday evening with an “All-Alumni/ae Welcome”— a YouTube Premiere live-watch party with an interactive chat function, a message from Head of School Bryn Roberts, interviews with alumni/ae artists who are exhibiting work in the virtual Alumni/ae Art Show, and special messages from current and former faculty and staff. Saturday morning will feature a virtual Heritage Brunch for alumni/ae who have graduated fifty or more years ago, and a special toast to celebrate the Class of 1970 who are celebrating their 50th reunion. On Saturday evening, individual class parties will be held via Zoom for every graduating class between from 1955 to 2015.
“Looking from a glass half-full perspective, I was excited to transform our in-person events into a virtual environment because it will allow alumni/ae who typically are not able to make it back to Minnesota in September to participate,” Jenkyns says. “I was also excited to create new activities that would help tell the story of St. Paul Academy and Summit School and its incredible alumni/ae.”
New Reunion Weekend activities this year will include virtual tours of the Randolph and Goodrich Campuses, a historical walking tour of SPA’s former locations (virtual option available), a Reunion-themed Spotify playlist, a collection of “Blue and Gold” recipes and more. The full slate of Reunion Weekend activities is listed on the interactive Reunion Weekend Hub website.