The food may have come from within 110km of Victoria, but the annual Spring Reunion saw attendees from across Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, and even as far away as Seattle, come back on campus to reconnect.
This year’s event celebrated 110 years of SMS and to commemorate this anniversary the new “Service with Love Award” was launched. “Service with Love” has been the SMS motto since our founding in 1908. This simple phrase captures the commitment to giving back to the community that is a core value of the SMS educational experience. Women who have been educated here understand the importance of giving back to the community to express love and gratitude for the gift of being here, for all that life has given to each of us, and for being able to serve others.
Five women were presented the inaugural award, one of which was Karen Clark Cole, Class of 1985. Clark Cole is the CEO and co-founder of Blink, an evidence-driven design company specializing in digital projects, founder of Girls Can Do, a non-profit event series for girls with a mission to inspire a generation of possibility thinkers, as well as a contributing writer for Forbes.
“This is honestly one of my greatest honours, I was here for 11 years and this is where it all started for me,” said Clark Cole. “Coming back gives me great hope. I have been successful and it’s because of this school, the tight connections and the friendships that I made—they were the formative years of my life, so it’s nice to come back and see it come full-circle.”
The room was packed full of alumnae spanning decades, including a group of women who have stayed connected from the class of 1949.
For others, it was their first time back on campus since graduating, like Christina Baxter who hadn’t been back since 2000.
“This is my first alumnae event, I recently had a daughter and that made me start to think back on my experience here and want to reconnect,” said Baxter.
For those like Cathy Mingo, whose daughter is graduating this year, coming to these events feels like getting together with family. “Having my daughter start here extremely shy and quiet, and watching her develop into a confident woman who is involved, sits on student council, and has a voice—how could I not come back,” she said.
“Everything this school says it does, it really does do. As a parent and a former staff member, I wholeheartedly believe that.”
The event was a celebration of inspiring women coming together to reconnect over a shared experience, and of course a shared meal. The extraordinary spread was put on by Head Chef Daniel Hudson and the kitchen staff who worked tirelessly to make it a something special, and special it was.