A very special reunion takes place at the Piker’s Lodge in Loch Gowna this weekend when the Class of ‘81 at Cnoc Mhuire, Granard join forces for the first time in thirty years to take a trip back down memory lane and reminisce.
According to Catherine O’Reilly, organiser, the seeds for the reunion were sewn as far back as 1992. “19 years ago in 1992 when Mel Smyth accidentally met Brendan Quinn walking down a street in San Diego,” she explained.
“They had a long chat after many years and planted the seed that they would lead a class reunion when we reached 30 years”.
In 2008 Mel Smyth then met another classmate Martin Cadden and the reunion idea once again took hold. By 2011, the committee was in place and a network of contact systems were set up to notify everyone. “Mel Smyth made contact again with Martin Cadden and Caitriona Moroney to start the journey of arranging our class reunion,” said Ms O’Reilly.
“At this juncture, Mel had set up a Gmail account when he was able to insert the contact details of 20 classmates and the Gmail account he set up with a dedicated username and password to give to each class member so they could access it and update their respective contact details.” Gmail was to become the crucial organiser as classmates from as far away as Australia, San Diego, New York and London began touching base!
“In the first instance, we needed to gather all of the contact details for all 100 class members which Caitriona Moroney secured from the Convent of Mercy Granard, Co Longford,” Ms O’Reilly added.
“One of the core values that Mel and Catherine practised over the past two months was to ensure that every single classmate was contacted – this was a tough task but was critical to ensure inclusivity. Mel produced an excel spreadsheet of all the contact details, and emailed it to the committee and then immediately set up an online gmail account where each of us could upload our contact details. This gmail account was a superb idea in term of using secure social media to get in touch with each other. Back then in 1976-1981 there were few computers and much of the administration was completed by hand…so in this case Sr. Reena Browne had recorded hand written details of the classmates with their home addresses. During the event we plan to make a presentation of all extra monies collected to Sr. Reena Browne our former school principal as a token of our appreciation to the school.”
The Class of ‘81 included students from parishes from all over Longford, Cavan and Westmeath.
At the time, female boarders and day pupils as well as boys as day pupils attended the school. The reunion takes place this Friday night from 8pm.