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SMCS Unveils Back in Black Alumni Reunion

A long-talked-about initiative finally came to fruition this spring with the debut of the inaugural ‘Back In Black’ reunion for Black alumni at St. Michael’s College School (SMCS). The event was a resounding success, bringing together alumni from diverse backgrounds to celebrate shared experiences and achievements.

“Our goal was to network and create an environment for our Black alumni to connect with one another,” says Dr. Daniel Lumsden ’96, event organizer and the school’s Community Engagement and Learning Lead. “Attendees enjoyed reconnecting with old friends, reminiscing about their time at St. Michael’s, and forging new connections within the Black alumni community.”

Attendees of the SMCS Back in Black reunion for Black alumni.

Over four decades of alumni representing the 70s through 2020 attended the event on February 23, 2024. The evening, held in the school’s Centre for the Arts, featured engaging discussions, networking, and lots of laughs. It served as a powerful reminder of the importance of community, solidarity, and continued engagement among Black graduates of St. Michael’s.

Proceeds raised from the evening have been earmarked for the Cheryl & Gordon Williams ACCESS (African-Canadian Christian Entrance Scholastic Scholarship) Bursary Fund. The fund supports African-Canadian students pursuing their high school education at SMCS and provides them with an educational opportunity that may otherwise be unavailable. Awards from this fund help offset tuition costs for students who have been offered admission.

“The bursary is all about providing opportunities for students for whom the cost of a St. Michael’s College School education and experience would otherwise be prohibitive,” says Lumsden. “We are always looking for opportunities to make SMCS as accessible as possible for qualified students, and this bursary is a perfect fit.”

Alumni networking at the Back in Black reunion for black SMCS alumni.

Looking ahead, the event has set a strong foundation for future gatherings and collaboration among alumni that will help foster a sense of pride and belonging among Black alumni within the St. Michael’s community.

“It was nice to go from the minority in the school to the majority at the event. We all went through similar experiences and had a chance to share and reflect from multiple generations of St. Michael’s grads,” says Dwight Donald ’90. “It was an opportunity for support, mentorship, and networking. Thank you, Dan Lumsden, for putting this together. Looking forward to the sequel.”

Plans are already underway for next year’s event, including a keynote speaker who can inspire, motivate, and empower the Black alumni community with their insights and experiences. In addition, several community initiatives directly impacting SMCS students were discussed and will be further explored over the next several months.

Attendees of the SMCS Back in Black reunion for Black alumni.

“The event was incredible! Connecting with alumni at the Turkey Roll, basketball tournament, and Homecoming is always great, but this was uniquely special,” says Dwayne Samuel ’97. “As a student, meeting ‘Mr. John’ (Emile ’87) for the first time helped me grasp the legacy and connection of Black students at the school, acknowledging my place in that fabric. This event deepened my understanding of the importance of connecting to understand the brotherhood’s impact from those who preceded me on the yellow bricks. More importantly, it highlighted the need to reflect on the footprint and responsibility I bear for those who follow. SMCS Black excellence was on full display, and I eagerly anticipate what lies ahead.”

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