Induction proves OBA growing online

A record number of graduates signed on to be class representatives on April 1, when all 66 members of the Graduating Class of 2021 were inducted into the Old Boys’ Association in a Zoom ceremony.
Members of the school’s 112th graduating class were joined by 18 staff members, including past teachers of the current Grade 11s and members of the Old Boys’ Association Board, plus a number of parents for an enthusiastic chat about what it means to be a Selwyn House Old Boy. “This is a powerful network you’re about to join,” said OBA president Josh Wisenthal ’99 in his greeting to the class.
The evening began with a YouTube Premiere video in which Advancement Director Sharon Cozens and Annual Giving Director Mary Ann Cloherty explained the three types of campaigns at the school: Annual Giving, Endowment and various capital campaigns. Of course, Old Boys can donate to these funds, but they can also help out by volunteering at SHS. The Class of 2021 were told about all the various ways they can stay in touch after graduation.
The Old Boys’ Endowment Fund, for example, now stands at $1.5M, and disperses $60,000 per year in financial aid for deserving students. The Class of 2021 is currently establishing a bursary fund of its own.
Josh Wisenthal recounted how the Old Boys’ Association was founded in 1953 by then-Headmaster Robert Speirs. At that time, there were 450 members of the OBA; now there are 3,248 active Old Boys living in 46 countries. The annual list of alumni events and activities is long and varied, but the option of holding these events online via Zoom means that more Old Boys can take part. “Thanks to the pandemic, we’ve actually been able to expand our outreach with Old Boys around the world,” said Josh.
The bylaws of the organization require that a minimum of two graduates from each graduating class join the OBA as class representatives. Some members of the Old Boys Board who were present commented that the demands placed on a class rep are varied and flexible. “Do something that matters,” said Justin Kuzmicki 2005. “If you have time, give it.”
By the end of the April 1 Induction, 17 graduates were volunteering to serve as class reps. Proof that the enthusiasm for being a part of this organization is running very high.