1969 50th Anniversary Reunion on Field Day in Kodai

The Class of 1969 and the families that joined them

Writer – Kathy Landucci Harvey, grew up in a small town in British Columbia and attended KIS for 3 years, from 1966 to 1969. During this time, her father was the manager of a zinc smelter (Cominco Binani Zinc) on the Periyar River, just east of Cochin in Kerala. Kathy started off her working life as a land use planner for the provincial government, and later in administration at the Alberta School of Business PhD Office of the University of Alberta in Edmonton.  She has been singing with the Richard Eaton Singers in Edmonton for almost 37 year and an avid bridge player.
Class of 1969 Reunion
Kodaikanal International School
February 28 – March 4, 2019
The Class of 1969 first started discussing a possible reunion in Kodai at our 45th reunion at Camp Kirchenwald on the Labor Day weekend in 2014.  We settled on a date sometime in February, 2019 – it allowed most of us to escape winter where we live and take advantage of slightly cooler weather in India.
Planning and scheming began in earnest about a year ago, and once we knew we could include Field Day at the school it all fell into place.
I can safely say that when thinking about the reunion, our “plans” really went no further than socializing together, checking out “the Budge” (SO much has changed!), perhaps taking a hike or two, and organizing a dinner or two.  Almost all of us stayed at the Villa Retreat, which has easy access to the school, great views, and a lovely terrace for visiting.
What we were completely unprepared for, however, was the reception we received from the school.  We were included in the rally for the beginning of Field Day (where our Jack Moon gave an inspiring speech), and encouraged to attend and root on our respective teams – only Orange and Blue in our day!  We were treated to lunches (including the traditional biriyani lunch in the grand circle at the end of Field Day), tours of the school, and a wonderful dinner hosted by Principal Corey Stixrud in the garden at his home.  We were joined by other visiting alumni, staff, and the wonderful Class of 2019.  It was so much fun to be with the students and hearing about their plans. The future is definitely in good hands!  We were invited to a dance put on by the students – they even included some 60s music.  And they seemed happy to have us participate, dancing with them and each other. 
It’s not often that you get a chance to spend time with one of your most beloved teachers from 50 years ago.  Even if Bob Granner was not your teacher for a specific subject, he ran the choir(s) and either directed or helped with the musicals that were put on.  His love of music and his expert guidance touched the lives of pretty much every student in our class – and for many of us music continues to be central to our lives.  So to be able to spend a couple of hours at his lovely home (and spectacular garden), and that he was so clearly thrilled to be with us, was perhaps the highlight of a weekend full of highlights!
The number of our alumni who participated in the choir for the Sunday service was impressive – there were about 8 of us!  Ted Moon (Class of 1967) gave an inspiring sermon.  And we were invited to another scrumptious tea at the beautiful home of Shashi and Clarence Maloney.
Lastly, we were treated to a delicious dinner at the home of classmate George and Vera Penner.  Great food, some home-made wine, beer and lots of laughs.  They even moved the dinner one night earlier so that as many as possible could come.  And even some gaur stopped by.  It was a fitting end to a wonderful weekend.
What was especially heartwarming for the alumni was how all of our “hangers-on” were included in all the festivities.  Many of us brought along family members and friends and every one of them was welcomed at every event.  They became honorary alumni.
None of this would have been possible without the incredible efforts of Alumni Coordinator Manjusha Ninan, Principal Corey Stixrud., and a myriad of other behind-the-scenes people.  Manjusha was a human dynamo, taking care of us, making sure we had what we needed, and taking us on tours of the school – so much is the same, but so much is changed - especially the bathrooms in Kennedy Dorm!! And Corey was his warm welcoming self, making sure everything was going well.  The School is very fortunate to have him as Principal.
If you are even remotely thinking about having a reunion in Kodai, my only advice is: DO IT!  You will have the time of your life.
Our hearts are full.
Kathy Landucci Harvey, on behalf of:
Marrilyn Helsing Fuller
Barbara Pickard Hayes
Janice Nabert Peery
Anne Douglas Stanek
Bob Edwards
Richard Koszarek
Jack Moon
David Otten
Bruce Peck
Mike Peery
George Penner
Merrill Perritt
Ken Rubesh