7th Keren high school

2021 zoom reunion

 

Speech by Chairman Abraha Zerai

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In behalf of Keren High Schools Organizing Committee allow me to say thank you for attending our Keren High Schools 2021 Zoom Reunion.  I feel honored to welcome you to this historic get together of former classmates and school-mates.  My name is Abraha Zerai.  I was born and raised in Keren.  I went to Keren Secondary School, and now I live in America.  My favorite American president, John Kennedy once said, “The success of any school can be measured by the contributions the alumni make to our nation’s life.” Keren High School alumni contribution socially and politically in Keren in particular, and Eritrea in general was very huge. We are here today to celebrate those achievements by young Keren boys and girls.

What is this reunion for, and what are the goals?  It is a valid question to ask. This reunion is for all students who attended any High School in Keren. This reunion is to bring together classmates, childhood friends to reminisce and enjoy talking about past unforgettable moments.  At the reunion we see old friends, make new connection, and create strong bond of friendship. It makes us feel nostalgic and bring back emotional moments of the good old days.

The MISSION of Keren Secondary School Reunion as stated in our Sweetkeren.com website, is to ‘strive in bringing together old friends and bridge the gap that was created due to circumstances. The re-union aims to build on shared core values. The Keren Secondary School re-union will serve to aid in learning the lessons of the past and looking forward to the future.

For a long time, some individuals were talking about having a reunion. In 2007 at Tewolde Yohannes’ daughter’s wedding in California, many students who attended Atzie Dawit Secondary school came, and the   topic of the reunion came up.  The next day, we met at Woldeslassie home for a BBQ, and decided to spread the word and study and work hard to make it a reality.  Our friends in Toronto took the initiative and hosted the historic and successful first KHS Reunion.  The organizing committee then were Jimiay Abdella, Zenab Warah, Bahlibi Tecle, Tesfagabir Misgina, Hassen Ferej, Yaco Abdella, Adil Musa Hajj (our first ‘sweetkeren’ webmaster), and Yohannes Ferdinando helped them from Ottawa via telephone.  The Toronto Deki Keren community took the responsibility of feeding us for free.  We thanked them a lot and went back to our separate residences energized.

Here are some of the highlights:  We had Mr. Roger Roller, a Peace Corps in the 60, joined us and brought memorable old Keren slide-photos.  The historic photo we see in many medias that show the hanged ELF martyrs was taken by him.  Mr. Ragan and his wife, favorite teachers, also came with photos they took then.  They really gave us a lot of happiness that we can see old photos that were just Nostalgic. Mr. Monga one of our Indian teachers was in attendance too.  Ustaz Omer Umaran and Ustaz Berih Alishek sent their will wishes letters.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

We had other 5 reunions; we had 4 reunions in Washington, DC and 1 in Los Angeles, California.  To save time, I allow me to tell you some highlights only.  Joanne Feldman, Mr. Hughe (who calls himself as WEDI Keren and named their child Keren), Mr. Kanoni (who was the greatest influence in the success of those students in the late 60th and early 70th), Mr. Alem (former teachers), and friends from Astralia, Sweden, Germany, England, and Italy joined the reunions.  Mr. Rajan and Mrs. Rajan joined us for the second time.  It was a time never to be forgotten. Joan brought a book she wrote about her experience of Keren.  She was married in Keren which was so historic.  The reunions was even sweeter because of Ustaz Kanoni being in our side. Haben Girmay was a motivational 4th reunion in LA.  It was a real treat.

In 2020 our 7th Keren High Schools Reunion was planned to take place in Toronto, but it was postponed for 1 year, because of COVID-19 pandemic.  The year went by fast, the pandemic didn’t go away, and we end up in a dilemma.  We didn’t want to postpone it for another year again.  So, we chose to have a zoom reunion. Having a Zoom get together was all new to us.  I hope it is going to be a success.  The good thing is we are connected from around the world without paying for flights, hotels, and other expenses, which is a blessing in disguise. Friends are meeting from around the whole world at the comfort of their living rooms.  We have to thank God that we are alive and pray for a better future so that we will be able to have a real face to face reunion.

We wanted to involve young generation.  We tried many time.  We, the older generation, want to pass the baton to the them.  We want to take the back seat and join as invitees.  We have 2 youths in our board, but that is not enough.  We encourage and challenge the youth to take the lead. 

Allow me to end my speech with these two wishes.  I wish to see all Keren High Schools alumni in our next reunion, which is going to be held in 2022.  We hope COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end, and life becomes normal again.  My last wish is that, one day, in the near future, we can all congregate in the most beautiful city to have the biggest reunion ever. For today, sit back, enjoy this zoom reunion.  If you have any comment, suggestion, or reservation, let us know.