How bonds are maintained, relationships deepened, and connections sustained can be an interesting study. That’s even truer when the entity bringing people together is the high school they attended. Case in point, a range of graduating classes of St. Michael’s College School (SMCS).
What’s unique is not where they met, but the ways in which their introduction and subsequent experiences as students at SMCS transcended their classrooms and continue to be profoundly meaningful in their adult lives.
“This initiative really speaks to the camaraderie that continues long after graduation,” says Kimberley Bailey, Director of Advancement at SMCS. “The appreciation of what St. Michael’s has done for them and that they want to ensure future generations get similar opportunities, is truly moving.”
Enter the Class Bursary, an initiative brought to the school in 2000 by the Class of 1984. The premise is simple. The intention, honourable. The impact? Lifelong!
It involves graduating classes establishing a legacy bursary gift in their class’ name for future generations of SMCS students. A tangible, lasting symbol of what their time and relationships as students and alumni meant to them. A forever sign of the school’s impact, wrapped in a desire to give back.
“It is multi-generational, spanning the graduation years of 1955 through to 1993,” says Bailey, who was here 20 years ago when the first Class Bursary was formed. “The Advancement Office has been approached by a class in every decade since the 50s about establishing a bursary in the name of their class.”
To date, four classes have established a Class Bursary in their name by reaching the minimum threshold of $25,000.
The Class Challenge takes the concept a step further, inspiring other graduating classes to ink their names into SMCS lore by impacting future students forever. Three classes have begun their quest to establish their Class Bursary.
Click here to see how they are doing and how you can get started towards your own today.
Here’s how the Class Challenge participants to date have kept their ties to SMCS intact and the impact their class bursaries have had.
CLASS OF 1955
“Those of us who were boarders, have an easier time of keeping contact, and the relationships are ‘tighter’. We golf together a couple of times a year, maintain email contact, as well as phone. We get updates on those who are not well, or who have died. And, we have met every five years, since graduation, and including our 50th anniversary.”
Class of ’55 Graduate
CLASS OF 1966 (to be awarded for the first time in September 2020)
“In 2015, I contacted a handful of graduating classmates and suggested a 50-year reunion. We got started and before I knew it there were twice as many volunteers as we started with. The experience was terrific. The boys of the ’60s became men of the 21st century. We have a Basilian priest, doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers, entrepreneurs, leaders in our communities, literally around the globe, who now are all either retired or working because they chose to. We have met regularly, occasionally, only on social media, or only after 50-plus years. No matter, we are brothers who came together in a very special place that taught us, ‘goodness, discipline, and knowledge.
I am blessed to have one who is a brother to me like my biological brother, who I see regularly and who is still a significant part of my life.”
Class of ’66 Graduate
CLASS OF 1984
“In 2000, as part of the renewal of St. Michael’s through the Building Fund Campaign, our class wanted to take an active role in promoting the life of the school to fellow alumni. It was in early 2001, that our talks moved to creating the Class of 1984 Bursary. We had three objectives: set an example of commitment to St. Michael’s for other classes to follow, raise significant funds to support the renewal efforts, and help classmates re-connect to St. Michael’s in a meaningful way.”
Class of ’84 Graduate
CLASS OF 1993 (to be awarded for the first time in September 2020)
“The conversation centred on rising tuition rates, and the realization that many of the members at dinner that night would not have been able to attend SMCS if the tuition was what it is now.
We discussed how lucky we felt to have attended the school, and we all felt that we benefited from the experience of an SMCS education. We wanted to give back in a way that would help the next generation of students. The bursary was started to help ensure that no discerning boy is turned away due to financial constraints.”
Class of ’93 Graduate