Entering an area decorated with an Irish flag, seeing the red door, eating Digestive biscuits with Nutella, and getting together with your sisters for a year…these were some of the first emotions that came to life at the 40th Anniversary Reunion of Woodlands Academy this past September 7th, held at the Anáhuac University, North Mexico Campus.
The event began with a welcoming address in English from the directress, Luly Clariond. She then introduced Fr. Sergio Rosiles, L.C., who proceeded to bless the food and thus the banquet began. The conversations, smiles, and hugs didn’t stop: it seemed like one big family reunion!
Carolina, alumnae and future coworker at Woodlands, was the event’s master of ceremonies. Mrs. Quigley’s speech began on a very emotional tone. The laughter began when Mrs. Quigley asked the alumnae that had won the public speaking competition when she was there to come up to the front. They declaimed the poem “The Crow and the fox”, and when they forgot a part, everybody in the crowd would help them say it.
Afterward Mrs. Claire O’Connor, another long-time teacher, also went up and gave a speech.
The recognition ceremony began immediately after with a commemorative pin for Woodlands 40th anniversary. They started with the consecrated women and ex-coworkers who had worked at Woodlands Academy during the course of these years, and even alumnae of Woodlands who had been coworkers somewhere else. They next called up the academy veterans, alumnae from the first generations of students, and they invited the mother and alumna Magdalena Cárdenas Narro, who had been at Woodlands 36 years ago, to speak. Her experience meant so much to her that she has sent her sons to the academies, and above all, her daughters to Woodlands, where one of her daughters is going to be a coworker for the 2013-2014 school year. Her appreciation for what she received from Woodlands is exemplary.
Some meaningful phrases that highlighted these emotions are the following:
“Home away from home”, “Once you cross the red door, you´ll never be the same”, “A Woodlands girl knows the real meaning of life”, “Every generation is unique”, “Woodlands sisters and friends forever”, “The Woodlands tradition lives on”, “Woodlands has left a beautiful mark in our hearts”.
And also the excitement with which the cheers were repeated over and over: “Hey Woodlands!! Hey what? Are you ready…” was heard all over the place.
Later on came the great surprise: banoffee pie, a very special dessert for the alumnae.
Lastly the alumnae were invited to the Anáhuac University chapel for the solemn closing of the event with the celebration of the Eucharist.
The Mass was an incredible experience for the alumnae, remembering their daily Mass, the beautiful relationship that they had with Jesus and seeing how much they miss the Academy, the time they spent there and what has happened after that great year. It was a revealing moment, showing how important the academy has been for them and how it marked their lives.
They sang some of the typical songs like “Here I am”, “City of God”, “As I kneel before you”, etc. Many of them were unable to hold back their tears of emotion.