6:30 pm and our elegant alumni start arriving, welcomed by the sweet sound of “September” and “Superstition”, they great and hug each other. Under a ceiling of blue balloons, surrounded by pictures emerged from the archives, and a glass of champagne in their hand, ours guests happily stumble upon their classmates and former teachers, in person and on the photographs exposed; meet other generations of alumni and walk around the school’s corridors overflowing with memories.
Philippe de Korodi, our managing director, and Roland Lomenech, our academic director, opened the ceremony by welcoming everyone and sharing the latest news about Champittet. I finally pronounced a few words myself:
"... Tonight we celebrate the anniversary of your graduation from Collège Champittet! That day, you earned much more than the key to further studies, because from that day on you have become alumni: the proud graduates of this fine establishment. Members of the Champittet family.
... Champittet doesn’t end at graduation: it’s a network for life. We lived the same experience and we respect the same values. Our network, united and diverse, is full of professional and personal opportunities. Our dynamic and solid network, is about mutual help and support a strong sense of belonging. ..."
A festive evening full of emotions: alumni had fun discovering their young faces and those of their friends among the exhibited photos, albums and annual reports, telling the best stories and imitating their favourite teachers; touring around the school’s corridors, the same corridors they saw every day once upon a time; they enjoyed sitting once again at the exact same spots they faithfully occupied during economy classes when they were 17 and Class of 2006 absolutely loved playing hockey in the gym hall as they used to do with the beloved coach Lush; but they also recalled the stress felt during exam periods, when supervised by Mr Abate or during detention hours on Wednesday afternoons with Mr Zitouni, it all took place in the famous room 41, 4th floor, where the furniture remains unchanged and memories resurface by the dozen. "Stop turning around!" Exclaims an alumnus causing a burst of laughter: we can all still hear the solemn tone of the supervisor catching us in our attempt to communicate with our accomplice sitting four rows behind.
Thank you, thank you all for coming and for moderating this evening with so much joy and sincere smiles.
A big “Thank you” to alumni, staff and former teachers. I was thrilled and honoured to host those who have written the history of Collège Champittet and made a difference to our education. We feel thankful towards Laurent Duffner, legendary head of the school at the time of the great canon and principal Gérard Payot, and towards unforgettable teachers like Mr Zappa, Ms Bradascio, Ms Revaz, Ms Pujol, Ms Cherubini, Mr Lomenech and Mr Lushaj.