They came, they saw, they kicked up their heels!
Julius Caesar wasn't here, but more than 800 (yes, 800!) happy Oldfields alumnae and parents converged on the campus for Alumnae Weekend 2017 and the 150th Anniversary Celebration! "Glencoe Island" was buzzing with activity, as hundreds of Oldfields girls of all ages greeted one another with a gleeful enthusiasm that was heartwarming to behold.
So many of us make our lifelong friends in high school, and the weekend was certainly proof of that. From old classmates who hadn't seen one another in years, to close friends who see each other all the time, the joy of being together and their love for Oldfields was unmistakable.
The campus was looking its best, as Oldfields girls from the Class of 1942 to the Class of 2016 re-visited their favorite old haunts, recalling teenaged antics and growing pains, while marveling at what is new and updated.
The highlight of Friday evening was the dedication of The Hawley and Wendy Rogers Wing, "in gratitude for a lifetime of dedication to the education of the young women who called Oldfields their home," in the beautiful words of Head of School Emeritus Taylor Smith. Hundreds crowded into every nook and cranny of Old House for the dedication ceremony. The luckiest of the throng made their way into the newly renovated Jungle, packed like sardines, to hear words of praise from Laura Rogers Towne '82, Wendy and Hawley's daughter, and from Taylor Smith, whom Hawley called "the closest thing I have to a brother." No honor could be so well-deserved as naming the East Wing for the Rogers, whose influence over 28 years of graduating classes is legendary.
Yes, there were all the traditional activities – a breakfast at the Head's house for Legacy and Golden Alumnae, the moving candlelight service at Immanuel Church in memory of deceased alumnae, tours of the campus, and the picnic lunch on the Commons Lawn – but the event everyone was waiting for took place Saturday night at the 150th Gala Celebration!
The gymnasium was transformed into a magical setting for the evening's festivities as hundreds braved the warmth of the evening to dance to the incredible Ben Cameron Band and to dine on Rouge Catering's finest. The multitude spilled out of the gymnasium, onto the lawns and driveway – it was like an Oldfields block party! Smiles on every face, enthusiastic conversations everywhere you looked, hugs and stories, and pure happiness. The energy was overwhelming!
Always mindful that taking care of Oldfields is the solemn trust of all of us, alumnae enthusiastically raised their hands to donate to a lively scholarship auction and vied with one another for alumnae artwork at the silent art auction in the gym lobby.
The pièce de résistance was the dazzling fireworks display from Riding Hill, which brought both revelers and students outside to watch the array of brilliant rockets light up the sky. It was the seminal moment of the celebration, although the partying went on well into the night as everyone was reluctant to leave.
As the moon rose and the crowds began to dissipate, one young alumna was heard to say, "Can we do this again next year?"