Building the Alumni Connection
Posted on March 30, 2021
This week, Community Engagement have been speaking to students in Gathering about community – both the learning community they are currently part of at The Friends’ School, and the Alumni Community they will become part of after graduating from Friends’. Students were then presented with their Alumni Pins which now include their ‘cohort’ year.
Development Manager Lucy Loney shared these reflections with the future Class of 2023 during Year 10 Gathering this week. Other year levels will be presented with their Pins during Term 2. From 2022 onwards, Alumni Pins will be presented to all commencing Year 7 students to help build connection and community amongst the year level and with the School.
Living in community is a core Quaker value and practice.
But what does that mean? And why does it matter?
Well for one thing, a community is made up of a group of people.
A group of people with shared values and common interests or purpose. Like the learning community that you are all part of here at Friends’.
But your learning community doesn’t exist in a vacuum. You are active participants, making connections, contributing in different ways, helping others, and, hopefully having the grace to be helped as well.
Through your contributions you are living in your community, and through those contributions you are making connections, being connected.
No one is born for self alone.
But what about when you graduate?
When you graduate you will pursue different pathways, some not far from here, others on the other side of the world. That’s how it goes.
But you will always be the Class of 2023.
Over time, this will become more meaningful, or perhaps to some it already is.
When you graduate you will be joining other former students, those who graduated just last year, as well as those who graduated 70 years ago and every year in between.
Along with former staff, past parents, friends and volunteers these people make up the Friends Alumni Community.
Some are enjoying careers or working in industries you might be interested in pursuing. Some have achieved great things, whether that is on the national stage, or quietly, locally, letting their lives speak. Some have struggled. Some have dramatically changed tack, others continue to search.
My own story includes an incredibly creative adventure in Melbourne for some decades, and ultimately a return home to Hobart and into this role, connecting with the Friends’ community, which I cherish.
Once you leave School, you will start making your own choices about what communities you are part of, and how you want to contribute. Please know that you are always welcome in the Friends’ Alumni Community. You will be adding your stories to a rich tapestry and there is great strength in sharing our stories, and through them, making meaningful connections that strengthen and connect us, our community and The Friends’ School.
I would like to thank Mary Woolnough for being here today. Mary is a former student, a past staff member, her children attended Friends, and now her grandchildren come to Friends. She is also a volunteer, serving as an Alumni Rep with me and a number of others including your 2020 Head Students Charlotte Rogers and Tasman Inglis.
On behalf of the entire alumni community, Mary and I are delighted to be giving you your Class of 2023 Alumni Pins today, as you leave this Gathering. We hope the balance of your time at Friends’ is nourishing and nurturing and we look forward to welcoming you to the Alumni Community when you graduate in a few years time.
We will finish with some silence. And I invite you to reflect on how you plan to contribute to your community whilst you are still at The Friends’ School, and afterwards, once you graduate.
Photo: Lucy Loney (Development Manager) Luca Sandler, Lily Frohmader, Akuor Nikimaya, Oliva Potter (All Year 10) and Mary Woolnough (Alumni Representative)