High School Reunion

My wife and I recently watched The American Reunion, the latest sequel to the American Pie chain of films I have come to consider as one of my most favorite movies (along with Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and 3 Idiots).

The timing of the movie couldn’t be more perfect for me. My high school class would soon celebrate its 20th-year anniversary. This year also happens to be the 15th anniversary since college graduation. Sadly, I am not coming to either simply because there is no reunion being organized. It seemed that I belong to a batch of classmates who don’t care much about reminiscing what may be called “golden years.” Or at least don’t consider them as priorities.

As I left the gates of Holy Cross of Mintal to pursue bigger dreams, I had this feeling that one day, I will be back on the campus and reunite with friends some ten or twenty years later and wait for my turn to narrate my journey so far.

High school life has been one of the most memorable moments for everyone, including me. Mimicking teacher mannerisms, school breaks, and outings, revelation of crushes over a game of spin a bottle are among them. High school reunion is a perfect dose to take a break from the so-called real world and possibly discover a long-kept secret revealed during those half-drunk conversations.

“Jonathan was a black belter.”

“We composed a TV commercial featuring the surnames of Ms. Genise, Ms. Miclat, and so on.”

“I just couldn’t tell that seatmate she has that bad breathe,” referring to someone who was conspicuously absent in the gathering.

We could print shirts simulating the activity colors worn every Wednesday — specially made for the reunion. We could sing ‘To Christ Through Mary’ and award a prize to someone who can name all class sections during our time or remember the names of subject teachers. We could play a trivia game: what is Sr Anne Marie Noveda’s middle name. What is the name of the shop guys hang out and watch VHS shows during lunch break? Who is the starting point guard of HCM’s basketball team? Who was the reason why the horizontal bar was eventually removed near the acacia tree? We can play games we played during intramurals from dodge ball or scrabble.

Lots of ideas have been brewing in my mind.

Joanne Vilchez and Aldrin Endrina, our valedictorian and salutatorian respectively, could do a speech. They might relive the hits and misses of our class prophecy read during our JS prom. Or, in the case of Joanne, do a live phone patch from her humble abode in Phoenix, Arizona, if family and workload would deprive her attending the event. We can invite and honor our teachers, from Ma’am Alminaza to Sir Valero and from Ma’am Macaresa to Ma’am Recla. We would also do a special tribute to those who passed away, notably Sir Roland Picar.

Lots of ideas stayed in my mind.

When I left HCM, we used to have those mini-reunions during birthday parties, beach parties, and karaoke sessions at Torres Street. Those parties evolved during times when we started to drift apart, employing some of us marrying early, others pursuing careers outside of Davao, and eventually leaving the city for good. With nobody leading the way in organizing this so-called grand reunion, the idea fell out of our priorities, overlapped by more serious responsibilities in life: work and children.

One day, Sheila, a batchmate now based in Montreal, Quebec, sent me a message proposing the idea of a reunion during their vacation in Davao. We started to inform classmates to scout for places, organize a program, and at least make this gathering a decent one. I was willing to book a ticket and make the trip. After all, this is what I’ve been waiting for. Dismissing earlier “reunions” held a year removed from high school would be justified if we stage a more meaningful event 20 years since singing Theme from Mahogany.

But for some reason, Sheila removed the Facebook event, indicating that the game got canceled. With my time divided between brutal stretch of work and family and community responsibilities, I find it hard to carry out organizing the event myself.

So memories won’t be relived this year, our turn to have a milestone reunion. Never mind, there’s 25 years, 50 years. But who knows who’ll be left behind to join the party or remember those funny high school anecdotes we used to poke fun at.

Update: Since this post was published in 2012, Ma’am Recla has passed away. Aldrin Madiza, a seatmate at Sir Valero’s class also died a few weeks ago. Indeed, who’ll be left behind to join the reunion if it happens a decade down the road?

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