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SHS: Spirit, Heart and Soul – 44th Annual Montreal Reunion

A warm welcome awaited 143 Old Boys, friends and staff at the 44th Annual Reunion and Homecoming Weekend on September 23-24, the first in-person reunion at the school in three years. Old Boys from classes ending in 2 and 7, as well as years in between, had a lot to celebrate. William Daly from the Class of ’52 celebrated the 70th anniversary of his class. The Class of 2012 had the highest turnout with  32 members proving that with a lot of advance outreach (by OBA Director EJ Boffey ’12 and others) over half the class will attend a 10-year anniversary. The Classes of ’92 and ’97 used some friendly competition, and sibling rivalry between brothers and former Head Prefects Richard and James Brooks, to ensure stellar attendance for their 30- and 25-year celebrations respectively. 

Headmaster Michael Downey began the evening sharing the latest news and future plans of the school beginning with the fact that Selwyn House School became fully independent in July 2020. He spoke about the school’s focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, the upcoming launch of the new strategic plan, and the Indigenization Process. Mr. Downey then repeated the week’s earlier announcement that Selwyn House School will add a Grade 12 year in September 2023. “It’s an exciting period for the school and for the SHS community,” he said. Jason Tsadilas ’88 brought Old Boys up to date on The Path Forward Campaign that is raising funds for the loss of government grants as well as building up the endowment fund.

OBA President Josh Wisenthal ’99 welcomed alumni from all over the world. Eski Kilpinen ’82 returned, as he does every five years, from Poland. Brendan Paull ’97 traveled from Japan, and Dylan Smith ’92 made a last-minute decision to fly in from Australia. Old Boys from Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, California, and throughout  Ontario and Quebec all made the effort to get back to Selwyn House to reunite with old friends. Current staff were thrilled to be there and former staff came out of retirement to spend time with former students: Colin Boyle, Tom Nicoll, Alfie Paoletti, Ellen Pinchuk, Barry Stevens, Joanne Werbiski, Geoff Dowd, former Headmaster Will Mitchell, and Barry Williams who gave his traditional grace. Josh unveiled the fresh, new OBA Mission and Vision statements (below). 

In his toast to the school, Huntly Stratford ’72, celebrating his class’s 50th anniversary, recognized that “although changes are taking place, the constants remain.” He gave thanks to “students, parents, staff and most of all, teachers.” Huntly summed up SHS in three words–Spirit, Heart and Soul.

James Brooks ’97 also spoke fondly about teachers in his tribute to the 25-year class. “Our teachers had a great impact on us all and we appreciate what they did in shaping who we are.” James also  remembered classmates who are no longer with them, and ended his speech with a toast to friends and relationships.”

Old Boys’ Board Director Aria Khiabani ’18, newly re-elected during the evening’s Annual General Meeting, hosted a draw for SHS swag, including a limited edition print which went to Toby No ’97. The night ended at various watering holes around the city. 

Saturday dawned bright and beautiful with visitors touring the school including OBA Board member Justin Kuzmicki ’05, son Connor age 2, and family checking out Grandpa Karel Nemec ’79 on the Athletic Hall of Fame wall. Meanwhile, down at the WAG field, The Gryphons won both their Cadet and Juvenile football games in their first Homecoming double-header. A fantastic tailgate party was the icing on the cake. 

Thanks to all those involved who helped make this a fantastic weekend. The SHS community truly has Spirit, Heart and Soul.

See all Homecoming Football Game photos here: Juvenille & Cadet
The Selwyn House Old Boys’ Association is more than an alumni organization. 
We are a family whose shared experience and collective memory has forged a love for our
school and a continuing concern for one another. 
We honour VERITAS by serving as an enduring bridge from the traditions of the past to the promise
of the future. We foster an inclusive, compassionate and dynamic sense of home and place
for former students of Selwyn House School across the globe.