School Reunion Speech (Blackburn High School, Class of ’89, 20 years)

Hello, my name in Marcus Curnow.  It seems the one thing that being School Captain meant at Blacky High was having to make the speeches when no one else wanted to!

I want to officially welcome you to the 20 (almost 21 year) Reunion for the Blackburn High School Class of 1989.

(Wild drunken applause at this point so early in the night made me feel people may have had a few in the park before they had arrived like at the old “Hot Trax” underage nightclub in Doncaster.)

In the absence of school that did much for us or with much culture, (Sorry, I wasn’t a music student!), events like this don’t just happen.  The orgins are somewhat unclear but the first threads of discussion started on various chat sites online.  Thanks to the ubiquity of social media we were able to reconstitute a faithful remnant of Year 12 committee and we were under way.

The first debates were about venue, given that Argenti’s, (where our Year 12 Formal was held) in is now an Eastlink freeway car park.  The first suggestion was to hold a disco in Beaumont Hall, however the powerful image of a bunch of over-weight, balding, sagging classmates dancing under a disco ball to New Kids on the Block was one that some could not get past and it has sadly been enough to keep many away tonight.

Other suggestions, such as sharing a slab of beer in Cootamundra, or “The Blackburn”(Hotel) were considered but discarded due to too many bad memories.  Finally someone suggested the old Nero’s on Maroondah Highway which, unlike many of us, has thankfully transformed for the better as Buccatini’s fine Italian Restaurant.

Just on housekeeping, the toilets are out the door and to your left and the good news for smokers is you don’t need to sneak in there to have one anymore!  However, unlike 1989, smoking in restaurants is now banned so I’m afraid to say you are still stuck outside behind the shelter sheds!

Please wear a nametag provided at the door as I have absolutely NO idea who any of you are, and the honest truth is, NEITHER DO YOU!  It would be helpful if you could wear your own nametag, NOT someone else’s!

Very shortly the slide show will begin.  Thanks for those that hit the scanners to send in photos from a pre-digital age.  We have included some of the other significant political and cultural events of 1989 to jog your memory and promote discussion.  1989 was a crazy time.  Communism and the Berlin Wall were falling down just as Milli Vanilli were on the rise.  It was a time when owning a mobile phone was a status symbol for the ultra rich and when giving someone a ‘poke’ meant you were a whole lot more than Facebook Friends.

There is also a book for you to sign, where many who could not make it tonight have sent in a High School memory or moment and highlight from their life.  Please check it out and ADD to it!

In putting tonight together I’ve had a few dinners and drinks with people sharing stories.  What struck me is the element of SURPRISE.  There were things that went on of which I had no idea/memory.  So in the sharing of stories tonight expect there to be some surprises. It made me think, “Where was I?  Was I out of it?  How did I miss THAT?!”  I mean I didn’t even drink in Year 12…lots of others did… I don’t know… perhaps is was the marijuana!?

What is it about school reunions that make some people get so excited that they jump on a plane and fly across the country to be here whilst at the same time there are people who live within walking distance who wouldn’t come if you paid them?

For some of us it is a look to the past and regression into all the feelings of teenage angst and insecurity.  For others it a look to the future and a realization that the light at the end of the tunnel is actually the oncoming train of MID LIFE CRISIS bearing down upon them.  If you have any of those feelings tonight, don’t worry, you are not alone.

Something that struck me through this process, particularly as people shared reasons for NOT coming, was how difficult a night like this can be for people and if we are to be honest, that High School was not often an easy or pleasant experience for some.  As we shared stories preparing for this event there were moments of honesty and regret.  Perhaps tonight may offer opportunities for confession and anckowledgment that people CAN and sometimes DO change.  Perhaps even a shot at REDEMPTION??!!…

If nothing quite so religious, tonight at very least affords each of us PERSPECTIVE about ourselves and others, and the opportunity of RE-CONNECTION.  As life progresses the amount of people who have KNOWN you for a LONG time or have known you at KEY MOMENTS of your life is obviously less.  This makes tonight valuable, perhaps in ways you haven’t realized.  Don’t take it for granted.  There will be lots of laughs, but I encourage you to also value what it is we share and the possibilities of this occasion.

(In short it is you’re opportunity to say sorry for BEING A DICKHEAD!)

Finally, Don’t worry too much about how you look.  They say everyone is beautiful at 40!  I’m not sure what they say about 38/39? Looking around I’m thinking perhaps we should have held off for another year to allow some more of that ‘inner beauty’ to come out!

Let’s face it some of us were ugly and turned out HOT.  Others of us were beautiful and turned out…well… NOT!

Some of you have traveled the world on a spiritual search to find yourself or God.  Others haven’t left the couch and would be very happy just find the bloody remote!

Whether you are thining on top or wideneing down low; whether you’ve come to punch someone in the nose or pinch someone on the arse; to have a crack at the one that got away…. or to get away from the one that didn’t…

I welcome you, the Blackburn High School, Class of ’89.

Have a great night!

Thankyou’s and Final Toast:

Thankyou to those that have travelled.

Thankyou to Kylie (nee Duthie) for starting the Facebook Group in faith.

Thankyou to the re-convened Yr 12 Committee of Sorts, particularly Reima, Leanne and Claire who set up the bank accounts, did the money, nametags and negotiated with Buccatini’s

Through the process of putting this thing together it has become plainly clear to me about just how little I had my crap together in Year 12 and how the only means by which anything actually came off, be it jumpers or formals, was due to the amazing organizational combination of Michael Cappochi and Katherine MacNamara (nee Harvey).

We all knew Michael Cappochi was going places.  He was always the one that was too busy working to go to school.  I personally thought he was the one, of all of us,.   most likely to succeed in politics, however it seems this path was too compromised Instead it would seem he has made his money and chosen to rule the world through investing in satellite technology.  Ladies and Gentlemen he may not be God but make no mistake that as you leave this place tonight Michael Cappochi is watching over you!

Finally to Katherine.  This woman has been incredible.  She has lived and breathed this event both asleep and awake to the point that at times I have been concerned for her mental health!  I think her husband Jason (who sadly could not make it tonight has felt the same way).   Katherine, on behalf of us all, thank you so very much for the many hours of email and the endless trawling of Facebook.  For dealing with the vagaries of the School Friends website; the administrative minefield that is Blackburn High and all the accusations of stalking!

Ladies and Gentlemen Katherine is going places, marketing for Pizza Capers gourmet pizza chain which is just emerging in the Melbourne market.  She is out gunning for business awards and so we thought that she was deserving of one for her efforts tonight.  Katherine is an “Anchorman” fan and so it is our great pleasure to present to you, for your tireless efforts, The Ron Burgundy “I’m Kind of a Big Deal” School Reunion of the Decade Award.

Finally, I ask you to charge you glasses as I propose a toast to those that have made this possible, to absent friends and to the class of ’89.  In the immortal words of someone, who was obviously educated at some place other than Blackburn High…

“Ad Lucem Crescimus.”


One Reply to “School Reunion Speech (Blackburn High School, Class of ’89, 20 years)”

  1. Into my vacant brain came the words from the school anthem: “Ad Lucem Crescimus” & after all these years (I failed Latin dismally) decided to discover what it meant & ended up here.

    Two score & some years ago I attended Henley High School in South Australia, & for some reason (it was the 60’s, I don’t recall much) there was a relationship with Blackburn High – All I recall was the final words of said anthem being sung at an assembly.

    Amazing thing search engines.

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