The 2nd Keren High school Reunion Explained
By The Preparatory Committee
Alexandria, VA - USA
Keren High school 2010 reunion attracted more than 500 alumni, their families, and friends on July 02, to July 04, 2010. This is the 2nd successful re-union after the last one hosted in Toronto, Canada. This time some people start coming earlier than the designated day, but most arrived on the eve of the convention, Friday July 02, 2010 including a full bus from Toronto, Canada. The conference officially started on Saturday July 03, 2010 but the fun, get-together and the welcoming started Friday. For all who attended, it was a perfect conference, full of laughter, jokes, memory that went off without a hitch. It was a memorable moment to see friends who were away for 30 to 40 years. Truly remarkable experience!
Saturday, the pinnacle of the day, started with registering participants. The same theme of last time was applied “We learn together and we will bond forever”. As usual, we will not forget those who departed and left us to the other world, therefore a moment of silence was observed. The keynote speaker was Dr. Waldemariam G/Sellasie. He emphasized on the mystique of Keren and how people are attached to the Keren sentiment. It is the feeling of respect, harmony tolerance, friendship, fun, and hkaya (jokes). He quoted the TV show thyme song of Cheers that said, “Sometime you want to go to where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came.” We are from a place where everyone knows everyone else, and we enjoy the company of one-another.
All the speakers without exception were intelligent and fun loving. Fan favorite of all was Dr. Fickak Hebtase, who took over Weldai Abbe, at least for this year. Saturday schedule consisted of a day long event that was blessed with the attendance of former teachers, Mr. Alem Yohannes, and former Agordat teacher, American Peace Corps – Mr. Gallagher. Mr. Alem spoke of the political experience that shaped the people and the balance teachers had to deal with in a dangerous environment such that of Keren at that time, including the massacre of Owna and its impasse on the shaping the psyche of the people. Mr. Gallagher took us to Agordat history, that was not different from that of Keren and the difficulties one faces when he is in a delicate situation that can not tolerate compromise. He said, “Going back to the political struggles for a moment: I never thought the Eritreans could win. The odds were stacked against them. Ethiopia was much bigger. It got arms and training from all the major powers, while the Eritreans had no foreign allies. Nonetheless, I supported the revolution and to this day consider myself to be the first American supporter of Eritrean freedom.” Mr. Gallagher is very knowledgeable of the current situation in Eritrea. His speech was touching. Dr.Kemal Neberai’s speech was no less important. He emphasized that children should be encouraged to pursue their dreams. They should get education that lands them to good careers. Dr. Misghina Yassin, emphasized that family support and encouragement is paramount for success of our children.
Other speakers, Mr. Abdel Nur Mohammed Hassen who came from London, England, remind us of the 60’s and 70’s in Keren High School and the formation of various clubs under odd circumstances. Even Music clubs were formed without the means and facilities available that entertained the students and the public. Scouts club was one that was formed to serve humanitarian cause.
Michael Embaye enlightened the audience as to the nature, requirement and the dynamics of immigration in the world in general and in North America in particular. Yohannes Drar (Ferdinando) spoke of the history of the school’s newspaper (Outlook) and how students with the meager resources they had, attempted to write stories, express ideas etc.
Beautiful poems in both English and Tigrnya were by two youths from Toronto, Woldeslassie Tesfai, and a young rising star, Sammy Ghergis Ghinbot.
If there was anything apparent and exclusive from the last re-union in Toronto, then it is the participation of youth. They all stated their experience, the generation gap, and the success one could accomplish, if he/she pursues his/her dreams. It was role model application for the younger generation. Our youth believe that the keys for success in our community are when parents:
1. To emphasis on education and to lead by example.
2. To enlighten and cherish our unique heritage as an asset and embrace diversity.
3. To mentor youth as mentoring and mentors are key links to success.
The day was followed by an evening gala event in hall full of music and laughter. Dashim Misghina and Samuel Ghinbot took the extra mile to entertain the audience with the best songs Kerenite like. Everyone enjoyed and the entertainment was followed until 2:15A.M
Sunday July 04, was a picnic day open to anyone. The picnic and the BBQ were on Municipal Park. BBQ was served courtesy of the organizing committee of Virginia and the people of Washington and Virginia. The event was concluded at around 6:00 P.M, however, the fun and the laughter’s at Hilton hotel lasted till the next morning of Monday. The next day, it was hard to say good-bye.
All in all, the event was everything that we had hoped for; actually it was beyond everyone’s expectation. Mark your calendar, the 3rd reunion is in 2012 and the place will be determined in due course.