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45-Year Class Reunion


Class of ’77 meets for its forty-fifth reunion at Schloss Blankensee

After our class’ 40th reunion and an extra get-together two years later in 2019, we gathered that there was enough interest in the class to hold our 45th reunion in Schloss Blankensee as well. And that was realized on the weekend of 24-25 September 2022.

The organization team (Claudia, Petra, Marthina, Fedor, Karsten, and me) started back in 2021 to see who was interested. There was a good number of early reservations; indicating we could expect about the same attendance as during the last times. However, when the actual reservations were requested this spring, we only had about twenty. We were worried that with too few attending, we might not be able to finance it and had to raise the fee to make sure we could cover the costs. Fortunately, one of our classmates ensured that there would be enough funds.

So we returned to Schloss Blankensee near Trebbin, south of Berlin. We collected sponsorships again to offer financial support. Claudia organized the room assignments and there were more single rooms to go around this time.

Saturday’s meeting

Most drove directly to the Schloss on Saturday afternoon. We also organized a couple rides again and met at School at 2 for that so that almost everyone was at the Schloss by 3. We had good luck again with the warm and pleasant weather.

Those attending were: Alan B., Friedhelm B., Thomas D., Fedor E., Birgit F., André G., Ilse G., Ulrike H., Kaspar H., Martina K., Petra L., Andrea M., Claudia P., Michael P., Ute R., and Oliver R. A few had to cancel unfortunately on short notice for family, travelling and even political reasons. However, we were most pleased to finally have a few former teachers attending: Jürgen Schaffer, George Kamp and Ulrich Schürmann. They stayed only for the afternoon and dinner. For the sake of the teachers, we wore nametags this time.

The historic castle and gardens were beautiful and the attached bedrooms were comfortable. We were welcomed with coffee, tea, and cake and could sit at the shaded tables on the lawn behind the Schloss. It was great to reconnect with each other and catch up on each others’ lives. It was especially interesting to hear the stories of our old teachers and principal about the going-ons and intrigues in our school during and following our high school years there.

Our first activity was a walk through the garden designed by Lenné. Of special interest was the Italian garden with its stage and Renaissance backdrop. This was the perfect place for taking the big class photo:

We then went on thought the quaint village to the actual Blankensee. From the boardwalk there we could enjoy the wide view across the lake and even spot some hot-air balloons in the distance.

We then continued to the far end of the village, saw a field – this is what a field trip is – and then circled back around to the Schloss where we whiled away the time on the back lawn, front terrace, or in the Green room till dinner.

Evening dinner and party

Since we were not such a large group, we were seated in the Green room this time. We were served a delicious three-course buffet and dinner, including poultry, lasagna and vegetarian dishes.

A highlight of the reunion were the hoodies. Ute had suggested having some custom-made with the names of all those who graduated in ’77 and including those who had left before the graduation. I made a design with all the names in the shape of a big 77 for the back and had the Alumni association’s logo put on the front. The hoodies were made of good quality, ecological material.

So, after dessert, I passed out the hoodies. Most in attendance had ordered one. A few extra ones were ordered or donated so we had some hoodies to distribute and sell to the teachers or to whom who hadn’t ordered yet. Seems the hoodies were so popular that I got five more follow-up orders, which the supplier was able to produce.

After the dinner, the teachers drove home. Jürgen, George and Ulrich where most appreciative of having been invited and to be able to share stories.

I had a game prepared then. It was the Dr. Gelb quiz. It involved writing four things about school: the name of a classmate, a teacher, a principal, and a feature of the school building, variously using the letters G, E, L and B, and to write an attribute to each term. The surprise was the silly analysis of that. However, it seems it was already too late in the evening or classmates were simply out of practice following school-like instructions, so the game flopped, sorry.

André set up his laptop and showed his pictures. The usual guessing game of “who is who” began as well as “whatever became of so-and-so?”. He had also shared the letters everyone in his 4th(?) grade class sent him once when he was sick at home.

There was a surprise at midnight. Someone started singing “Happy Birthday” and it was for me! I was given a bottle of fine chilled Italian wine. Kaspar also got a bottle because his birthday was on Saturday.

Everyone was enjoying sitting around in groups till late. As we grow older, the late isn’t as late as it used to be.

Sunday’s tour to the Beelitz Heilstätten

Everyone slept well. We gathered for a plentifully and leisurely buffet breakfast in the Green room. Many of us wore their new hoodies and presented them proudly for the group photos then on the Schloss’s front steps.

After we checked out, most drove home, but a small group of us still drove out to the Beelitz Heilstätten park. We enjoyed walking around the partially ruined buildings of the former sanatorium and also climbing up and walking along the raised “Baumkronenpfad” to look into the old buildings at roof height and also learn about the local trees at the level of the treetops. A final coffee time closed out the most enjoyable reunion weekend.

I got the impression that everyone was well pleased about the weekend even though the turn-out wasn’t as good as expected. For that we were glad to finally have a few teachers with us. We even had some funds left over to make a thankful donation to the JFKS Alumni Association.

The next big reunion would be the 50th in five years. However, there is interest to meet-up in connection with a JFKS FunDay in two or three years with something low-key and local in Zehlendorf. But how will we do the big one in 2027? Possibly back at the Schloss? There is interest. We have time to tink about it and are open for suggestions and comments.

Till next time!

In the meantime, do check out these two websites:

John F Kennedy School John-F.Kennedy School
JFKS Alumni Association JFKS.NET.

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