by Lauren Strever (Blight)
When Stanford Lake College opened in 1998, we, the then Std. 8 class, were the senior class of the school and maintained this title for three years. There were 64 of us in the first year and, as unusual as the experience was, it is possible that we never fully realised we were making history. Naturally, we moved on to become the first Matric Class of Stanford Lake College. The class of 2000! We paved the way for the years that would follow and we did so with pride. Looking back, I wonder if there was a conscious sense of trepidation, for the risk that was taken by each parent, teacher and scholar? This brand new school had to prove itself and we were the ones to make it happen. Which we did.
We were lucky to make our 20-year reunion because the National Lockdown was announced the very next week. Those that could made it are extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to reconnect with each other and to revisit a very special chapter of our lives. Our 20-year reunion was a time of great reflection.
We had a beautiful, small dinner at The Mountain Café on the Friday night. There were only 35 of us; the group was made up of old class mates, some from the years below us, our parents, our headmaster Gavin Scholefield, and co-founder and chairman of the board, Howard Blight. (All our teachers and board members were invited but many could not make it). Gavin gave a moving speech, walking us down memory lane in great detail. He told us he was proud of us. We shared many laughs. It felt surreal to share a dinner table with our old headmaster as adults, each of us forging our way through life.
Our Head Girl, Georgina Smit, who flew up from Cape Town to make the event, brought the 1998, 1999 and 2000 yearbooks along and gave us a good laugh during her heartfelt speech. Howard said a few words too, he congratulated our group on becoming well-established adults and for making the school proud. Howard included a warm toast to the late Ed Hillary, an original board member and close friend of the school.
We met up again on Saturday for a lovely lazy lunch at Zwakala Brewery. Those of us who are local, brought our kids along. Nothing reminds you of how much time has passed like your school friends’ kids playing with your own kids!
Finally, on Sunday, we gathered at the school for the WIK Memorial Triathlon. We marveled at how much the school has developed since our time. We loved visiting the school again, loved reliving memories and spending time with old, special friends.
During the weekend, some of the best memories that came up were: naming The Hatchery Concert, sending the new Std.6s into the forest at night during orientation week, many secret forest forts, planting the grass on the field, bridge club, Ken Shuter, hockey games, runs in the forest, the DISCOS, midnight swimming in the lake, ordering pizzas from Tzaneen on our last night in boarding school, adventure challenges, science with Mr Perkins and the Debs ball.
We were a unique group, joined in arms through a spirit of pioneering.
Thank you to Shelley Hoets for initiating the event and for doing much of the organising and to Sarah for designing the invitation and hosting some of us at Cheerio. Thank you to everyone who travelled from far and for making it so special.
A few memories from 1999 and 2000...