A Spectacular Virtual Reunion 2021

Chapin’s amazing alums, spanning the Classes of 1939 to 2020, and our soon-to-be alums, the resilient Class of 2021, were celebrated and honored during a week-long virtual Reunion celebration, which took place April 12-19. More than 500 alums and guests from around the United States and as far away as Hong Kong, Europe and the Caribbean participated in the festivities.

Virtual Reunion 2021 kicked off on Monday, April 12, with a thought-provoking evening that shone a light on the School’s longstanding Individual Studies Program, a self-directed and vigorous component of the Upper School curriculum. Scholars who choose to take part in this initiative demonstrate independent thought, sophisticated skills, creativity and expanded learning, while working with a faculty advisor.

The alums had the chance to hear from three impressive seniors as they presented their captivating Individual Studies projects on Zoom. Ilana Pergam ’86, Director of Academic Program, introduced the following Class 12 speakers and moderated the question-and-answer sessions:

  • Reed Lessing, “An Investigation of Mental Health Smartphone Applications: Evaluating the Adolescent Perspective,” a Study in Psychology advised by Head of Counseling Services Rona Shalev
  • Christina Salas, “The Effects of the U.S.-China Trade War on the Ford Motor Company,” a study in Economics advised by Math teacher Stephen Bonnett
  • Anna Tsioulias, “From Pimples to Cuts to Coughs: Comparing Roman Remedies for Everyday Ailments to Modern Medical Knowledge,” an interdisciplinary study in Latin and Science advised by Classics teacher Christopher Barnes and Science teacher Elaine Pan

On Tuesday, alums enjoyed a presentation from Director of Athletics Michelle Caywood, Head of Upper School P.E. Mike Davis and Head of Counseling Services Rona Shalev about Health and Wellness at Chapin today. Dr. Shalev touched on the division-appropriate services and spaces at each student’s disposal while Ms. Caywood and Mr. Davis offered an inside look into Chapin’s new spaces and the exciting classes and work that will take place inside of them.

The “Navigating Life in the Moment” panel was held on Wednesday evening and proved to be an enriching experience for all who attended.

The panelists included EB Kelly ’99, Arielle Patrick ’07, Dr. Sarah Sayeed ’86, Dr. Alison Stuebe ’91 and Moderator Alex MacCallum ’99, bios for whom may be found HERE. They each discussed topics ranging from how work, New York City, healthcare and government might evolve post-pandemic, the importance of a mindfulness practice, and advice to recent graduates.

On Friday afternoon, the community joined the uplifting Alumnae Association’s Annual Meeting, moderated by Alumnae Association President Kim Karetsky Krinsky ’95. Highlights included the induction of the Class of 2021 into the Alumnae Association and resonant remarks from Ayanna Chatman ’21, the President of Self-Government, and Jacqueline Holland Higgins ’71, the 50th Reunion Speaker.

“The Class of 2021 is well positioned to take on the challenges of our time: war, climate change, racial and gender equality – and any issues of conflict resolution on the domestic or international front,” commented Ms. Higgins.

“Many of us in the Alumnae Association and at Chapin want to say that you, who are on the precipice of adulthood, are exceptionally well-prepared to strive for anything you would like,” she went on. “By this, we generally mean, first finish your education; and then find a purposeful life and a productive career of your own definition. If you retain nothing else from my words, please recall that I have echoed this advice to you. Indeed, go forth with joy and an open heart. Along the way, take a closer look around you. Most assuredly, you are our best hope.”

The meeting also featured tributes to retiring faculty members June Anderson, Head of Middle School Arts and Integration and a Dance teacher, and Martine Courtial-Eisner, a French teacher and Class 8 Advisor, who were both recognized for their many years of service to Chapin.

The Alumnae Association meeting concluded in traditional Chapin fashion with the School Song. Alums were invited to sing along virtually (the words were included in the Reunion program.)

For the seniors, Chapin’s Reunion week came to a close on Monday, April 19 when they continued to celebrate their induction into the Alumnae Association with a new twist on Chapin’s Annual Alumnae Luncheon. They were thrilled to participate in the senior spring tradition, where they watched a Reunion slideshow featuring Classes 1921-2021 and listened to a special Spotify playlist, curated for them by the Class of 1971, who are celebrating their 50th Reunion.

Some of the special keepsakes, gifted by the Class of 1971, included an African violet, a book by David Hepworth titled “Never a Dull Moment: The Year that Rock Exploded,” and a bookmark designed by Francesca Smith ’71.

Class 12’s President and Vice President of Self-Government affirmed the lovely afternoon saying, “During such unprecedented times, it felt great to come together as a grade and regain some normalcy through celebrating regular traditions.”