We kicked off Reunion weekend with a celebration to honor the retirements of Mark Bledstein and Larry Kaplan, two beloved LREI teachers. Their decades of extraordinary contributions have impacted generations of students. Their awards were presented by Jeffrey Nurenberg ‘94 and Violeta Picayo ‘09.
On Saturday, we had a full day of exciting events starting with a walking tour of historic Greenwich Village led by former LREI history teacher, principal, and historian, Nick O’Han. Alumni visited locations frequented by Elisabeth Irwin and her contemporaries and learned about LREI’s connection to this iconic neighborhood.
The Class of 1988 reunited for a special lunch at the Sixth Avenue Campus. After lunch, they toured the building, revisiting classrooms and sharing stories from elementary school.
LREI parent and archivist, Yukie Ohta, and Honorary Alumni Kasey and José Picayo led the Archive Session. Alumni sifted through decades of photos identifying teachers, classmates and events while recalling memories from their days at LREI.
Following the archive session, alumni remembered former music teacher Bob De Cormier through a sing-along of LREI classics with current music teacher Susan Glass and associate teacher Jay Saper. Songs included “Dark as a Dungeon” and “This Land is Your Land.”
Caleen Sinnette Jennings ‘68, this year’s Distinguished Alumna, performed excerpts from her memoirs “Queens Girl” and “Queens Girl in Africa.” Her performance included her experiences as an LREI student in the 1960’s. Caleen is an actor, director, playwright and highly esteemed Professor of Theatre at American University.
Prior to the main reception and presentation of awards, Director Phil Kassen took alumni on a tour of the expanded high school to show alumni familiar spaces and newly renovated facilities.
Reunion weekend concluded with a reception and awards ceremony for all alumni. Alumni Council President Tamar Gargle Krakowiak ‘88 welcomed everyone in attendance and shared heartfelt memories about the reunion classes. The Distinguished Alumna Award was presented to Caleen by her classmates Andrew Weiss ‘68 and Nora Heflin ‘68. Tamar awarded LREI parents and trustees Kasey and José Picayo, as Honorary Alumni. Alumni of all ages enjoyed catching up with old friends and teachers and taking fun pictures in our photo booth!