The class started arriving at around 4 p.m. to check in, stick on name tags, pick up the current class list (available on request by e-mail), and to have a welcome drink. Herr Schürmann led us off then on the tour of the school campus half an hour later; first of all through the new Arts & Music wing, of which the Small Aula is a part. He explained how the school had expanded in the past 25 years to educate about 1700 students now. The good old Army buses we were so fond of aren't available anymore, but instead there is the Trust Fund now, sponsored by the US government, which for instance finances many of the school's special projects.
After passing through familiar facilities such as the Old Aula we found our first classrooms again - that was fifth grade - in the elementary school building. Little had changed there, except for the expansion of the library.
Next we toured the sports facilities. The class was quite impressed that DM 100 Million had been spent according to Herr Schürmann on the expansion of the school since we graduated. We thought we had a pretty well endowed school in our times, but what we viewed now could make us envious the following generations. In the new big "sunken" gym, which stands on the site of the former small gymnastics hall, we saw how all this was also benefiting those outside our school: a women's basketball tournament was being held. On the snow-covered athletics field we learned that the tracks and soccer field had covered with rubber. The guys remembered the scrapes they had suffered from falling on the gravel in earlier times.
After passing offices of old-time teachers in the new high-school wing we briefly entered Herr Schürmann's own office. He pulled out and presented a binder with copies of our Abiturzeugnisse. Heard that mine was located.
Then we came across this year's Yearbook staff working in one of the computer rooms off of the large high-school library. Told them we were the first class to publish a yearbook at JFK; back then though we did the editing with typewriter, paper, pencil, and the like.
Going through the upper stories of this new wing we viewed the science labs and even more rooms with computers. Got to hear what kind of mischief I had been up to in Chemistry once. Had forgotten all about that. Herr Schürmann told a favorite anecdote: no student should dare miss a period of Herr Hellman's Chemistry class even for a class trip and Hellmann was actually serious!
In the teacher's room (which curiously enough was labeled "WC Jungen") we studied the pin board with photos of almost all the teachers on it. There were only a handful we still knew. Unfortunately hardly any of them had shown up for our reunion. Frau Lochmann was there briefly at the beginning, but disappeared again soon. Other invited or retired teachers had said they "might" come. Nevertheless we kept questioning Herr Schürmann on what had become of certain teachers, learning for instance who advanced or moved to where and who was associated with whom. Of interest too was an old mimeograph machine set out as an exhibit. Some guys remembered the fun and difficulties of printing copies with such "antique" devices.
The high point of the tour finally was the visit to the old high school room in which many of our class had Social Studies (PW) with Herr Schürmann. It was recounted how he would pace up and down in front of the class saying "Wie Sie alle Wissen gehöre ich einer Partei an dessen Namen ich hier nicht nennen will..."
Georg Jaesrich noted that the old bulky heaters were gone. They had cooked your buns in the morning, but let you freeze in the afternoon. Herr Schürmann pointed out that the heating now runs through the window frames.
On one scruffy locker, where several old layers of paint where exposed, we discovered the original blue we knew. Our hearts also warmed at rediscovering one mural left over from our times: the actually slightly depressing painting near the entrance of the skeletal man standing behind bars viewing a city-scape.
Back in the Small Aula’s entry hall we found that the Greek buffet had been set up by the catering Symposion restaurant. But first we had the formal opening of the reunion with a welcome address by Petra Linke. Dinner was served almost like school times: take a segmented food tray and put your Essensmarke in a bowl before you could load up on for example salad, pastries, lamb, gigantes, and fruit. Many praises were heard for the food. The drinks were selected and brought by Iris Gamradt.
We had set up the tables separate from each other earlier in the afternoon, but now people started to rearrange them so that eventually we had one long table for everyone!
Later after enough food and plenty of talk we enjoyed the performances given by two JFK-student quartettes: the 10th grade girls Sweet Adelains and the 13th grade boys Barbershop Quartette under the direction of Dr. Hepner. They sang popular rock ballads and serenades. The girls made me blush when they focused their song “I can’t believe I’m in love with you” on me. Bet Dr. Hepner had set them onto me. Alexandra Piechatzek was also sitting in the front and in turn found Barbershop boys kneeling at her feet and kissing her hand. A caller from the audience said they ought to go on tour (their predecessors did). These kids certainly were good. An inquiry was made if they can be booked for a gig. Yes, just ask Dr. Hepner. During the rest of the time music from our younger days played in the background on a system provided by Ronni Rabau.
An exhibition table was set up presenting various memorabilia. There was a painting of mine I made of the school, someone brought her JFK sports shirt and a history book that never was returned, and Andre Gahleitner, who came all the way from Vienna, had a stack of pictures dating back to elementary school times. Quite interesting too was Dorothea Goldschmidt's collection of Spickzettel. She confessed that once she accidentally turned one in with a test and even asked the teacher to get it back. What she didn't care to share after all though was the script she had along of the Abitur speech she had held with Karsten Peters. “My God, I wrote that?” It had evidently been quite controversial back then. On the table too where alumni mousepads for sale and a collection can for donations to the Verein der JFKS-Freunde. A folder was presented as well that contained messages and greetings to the class from many who could not (or even would not) attend.
Time flew with hardly enough time to make the rounds and get reacquainted with everyone. Some are still single and one (Georg) is expecting his fifth child soon. No grandchildren yet, as far as I've heard. I think I'm the only one with own children at the school.
We would have had over 30 participants, but there were several late cancellations and no-shows. Nevertheless I dare say the best and the brightest of our class were in attendance. I could tell you all really enjoyed yourselves, and in a way relived an important phase of your youth. May this event remain in mind for a long time and contacts be renewed.
My thanks go to Petra Linke, Iris Gamradt, Nicola Rönpag, Ronny Rabau and Peter Reich for their help and support. A special thanks goes of course to Herr Schürmann for reopening the school for us and for his enthusiasm for this reunion. The plus in the budget wasn’t especially great, but that along with the extra donations amounted to 80euros that I transferred to the Verein as a thanks for being able to use these school facilities. And finally a big thank you to everyone who helped clean up at the end, especially with moving the tables and platforms.
But that wasn’t the end of the evening. At least half of us reunioned on at the Park Café for a couple more hours. Topics there I heard circled then for instance on who had the hots for who back during these old school times …
So much is definitely planned. Things that still need to be organized are for example catering, entertainment, teachers, and any other further activities such as a possible family get-together. I think costs will be around 20 euro per person. If anyone wants to help, join us for a meeting some time in December.
In any case, let me know if you're coming. For economical sake e-mail would be preferred. I've set up an attendance list. Click here to view it. It's based on the old 1997 reunion list. Please check it out to see whose address I have and whose is still needed. Send addresses of those missing if you know them. Let me also know if your e-mail address can be included in that list or the list to be distributed at the reunion.
Note that Nina Becker has recently died in Munich. We will miss her at the reunion.
Keep returning to this page for news updates. Course I'll contact you (if you've contacted me) with the final invitation in time.
In the meantime do check out these two Websites:
Attendance confirmations are starting to come in. I've received them from as far away as Vienna and Karlsruhe. Check the list to find out who they're from.
Tomorrow, Thursday is Alumni Stammtisch. I'll be there; anyone else too?
I've received postcards back from undeliverable addresses. Does anyone know where these people have moved to: Lynn Benduski, Christian Newbon, Joachim Pohl, and Christian Franke? From others I've found e-mail addresses (ahh, the wonders of modern, space-age technology: the Internet), but don't have the postal address.
Any suggestions for teachers to invite?
Responses are slow. So, in case you are still thinking about it, please do let me know if you plan to attend or not.
I've turned in a wish list of teachers to Herr Schürmann recently. Hope for the first responses soon.
I've asked the Greek Symposion restaurant in down-town Zehlendorf for an offer for a buffet to be served at the reunion in the school. I'll get it next week when I would like to have our planning meeting there at the restaurant. What day? Well, whatever is best: 16th, 17th or 19th at 18:00(?). So get your vote in to me by this Saturday, please. And should you not be able to make it, let me know what ought to be on the agenda or what your wishes are for the reunion.
The reunion planning committee will meet at the Symposion restaurant (Martin-Buber/Potsdammer) this Thursday at 6 p.m. Thank you Iris, Peter, and Petra for helping out. Anyone is welcome to joins us. If there any special wishes, do let us know. You can expect the "official" invitations then shortly thereafter.
Who had Herr Steiner for Physics? He's teaching my daughter Anita now in 11th grade.
Iris, Peter, and Petra joined me at the Symposion restaurant to nail down some plans for the January 11th festivities in the small Aula. We won't spill all the detail here yet; look for that in the upcoming invitation in your (e-)mail. But be sure the buffet will be superb being catered by the Symposion restaurant. Food trays will be supplied on the other hand by the JFK cafeteria; don't forget your Essensmarke.
For entertainment we'll have a group of JFK students singing. What we still need though is a portable Radio/CD/cassette player. Can anyone help out? We'll play "Musik aus unserer Jugend" on it.Have a Merry Christmas!
About 70 invitations went out at New Years by post and e-mail. The first responses are coming in, but we are hoping for many more. To date 22 people said they would come and 9 said they cannot make it. A couple weren't sure yet.
Ronny Rabau said he'd bring along a CD/cassette player, thanks!See you next week!
Dr. Hepner said the boys Barber Shop Quartet will provide entertainment for our reunion. This group has quite a reputation; they've taken top places in international competitions.
Equally entertaining should be the conversations we'll carry to get reacquainted with each other. We'll have about 30 participants plus three teachers for sure.
I'm curious about what memorabilia and music you all will bring. I'm sure someof you will have a camera along, possibly digital, so we can post some pictures of our party here.See you Saturday starting at 4 o'clock!