Alumni Classes Gather Via Web Calls
When faced with the reality that a reunion gathering would not be happening at Avon Old Farms School this spring, Jorge Consuegra ’77 quickly set to work to find an opportunity to bring his classmates together on, what else, Zoom!
Beginning with an email to his class list, and a notice to his WhatsApp class group ‘Strike the Drumhead,’ Jorge reached out to his class this spring to set up what he calls a ‘Class of '77 Zoom Cocktail Party.’
“We've had 26 individual members of our class attend at least one call and on average we get 15 members of our class to each weekly call,” shared Jorge. “We've had seven calls to date. We started it at the beginning of the shutdown, and we’ve had representation from all US time zones: Eastern, Central, Mountain, and Pacific. We’ve also connected with classmates from Mexico and the Bahamas on these calls.”
What may have started as a test to gauge interest has turned into a standing call Thursdays at 6 p.m. When asked what the calls are like, it is no surprise that Jorge says the class always picks up right where they left off, as is the case with many AOF classes.
“The energy is really great on the calls,” he said. “We don't mute anyone and sometimes it is a free for all with everyone trying to get in on the conversation… But that is great! We talk some about old times, but we also talk about present day topics including how each is experiencing the current health crisis. We celebrate birthdays. Several spouses or kids have dropped by a call to say hello, too.”
Jorge also shared that he believes these Zoom calls are a great way for the class to stay close and to stay close to the school:
“Several of our Zoom attendees have attended reunions over the years, but a few haven't been back since graduation or a very early reunion and they have been regulars on the calls. It’s a low-stakes way to connect: I set the calls up, and some last an hour, while others have stretched to two. We welcome people for as long as they want to stay... some have had to jump off after a few minutes and that is fine.”
In addition to the class of 1977 alumni, the calls have also featured three guest speakers: Peter and Sue Evans, Skip and Britt Flanagan, and Gary Niels who was a teacher and coach during their senior year.
“We have invited George Trautman to join us and he said he will. My mother will also join us.”
The Class reunion calls, for all classes ending in 0's and 5's from 1970 to 2015, will take place Friday, May 15, and will operate in a very similar manner to the Class of '77’s calls: all are welcome for as long as they can join! The calls will feature representatives from Avon’s Alumni & Development Office, as well as pop-ins from Headmaster Jim Detora P’12 and tenured faculty members. To RSVP, visit our reunion calls page.