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09 Aug 2019

Class of ’88-’89 Pilot Program: Mini Reunion

CYA alumni from 1988-89 and their guests participated in a mini-reunion in late July. Participants were part of an effort to expand our Alumni Relations at CYA and to provide future opportunities for alumni to return to visit.  With the help of Joe Garnjobst, Class Agent for the class of ’89, CYA piloted a program of bringing together alumni for a class reunion in Athens by opening this to a small group of alumni, a “test group,” with the hope that this event would spur other alumni to plan class reunion events in Athens as well. Participants were: Jim Rubenstein, Dave Morehouse, Su-Lin Jones, and Joe Garnjobst, all of whom had attended CYA for the full year.

Monday’s Welcome Reception was a great start to the week and alumni enjoyed reminiscing, sharing photos and memories and meeting with CYA Administrators, including Popy Baloglu (Director of Housing & Catering), Nadia Melinioti (Executive Director of Student Affairs), Jennifer Holland (Student Affairs Advisor) and Vassilis Simopoulos (Development Officer).

Tuesday there was a tour of CYA’s facilities, followed by a luncheon. This allowed for some productive discussions which led to more fun reminiscing.  After lunch, CYA President Alexis Phylactopoulos, who was on his first years as President of CYA when these alumni were students, joined the group for a chat and got to know each of them better. Phylactopoulos learned about their current professional and personal status and heard stories of their time as students at CYA—especially how meaningful their CYA experience had been.  It was apparent that everyone enjoyed each other’s company and stories. As Garnjobst ‘89, now a professor of Classics at Hillsdale College in Michigan, wrote in CYA’s scrap book:

“The magic continues! After thirty years the transformational experience we had here still touches our lives. Having the chance to share these memories with my fellow classmates of the class of ’88-’89 speaks volumes to the great work that CYA does. Words cannot express my gratitude for all that I have received.”

Following the meeting, the group went on a neighborhood walk through the Kolonaki neighborhood to visit their old stomping grounds. Despite the torturous heat, the class of ‘89 walked all around Kolonaki, visiting the building where the old CYA office was on 59 Deinokratous street, and laughed on almost every corner thinking about their shenanigans as students studying abroad.

On Wednesday, Phylactopoulos arranged for and took the group for a very special tour of the Ancient Agora. Dr. John Camp, Director of the Agora Excavations, American School of Classical Studies in Athens and Trustee Emeritus of the CYA Board of Trustees, was happy to lead the group on a brief tour within the dig of the Stoa Poikile located on the north side of the Ancient Agora of Athens. The Stoa Poikile was one of the most famous sites in ancient Athens, owing its fame to the paintings and war booty displayed in it.

CYA looks forward to feedback and suggestions from this year’s attendees and is excited to start planning for more visit options in the future. If you are interested in hosting or attending a reunion, a trip, or other alumni event, please contact CYA’s Director of Alumni Relations, Erica Huffman, at [email protected].

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Dr. John Camp, Director of the Agora Excavations, guiding the group to new finds at the Agora

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Joe Garnjobst, Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College sharing information with the group

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Behind the scenes tour at the Ancient Agora

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’89 Classmates Joe Garnjobst, Sulin Jones, Jim Rubenstein and Dave Morehouse pictured outside of the CYA Classroom Building with CYA President Alexis Phylactopoulos (center).

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The group enjoys some shade while braving the Kolonaki steps
Main Photo: the group pictured at the CYA Academic Center overlooking the Panathenaic stadium with CYA staff members Popi Baloglu, Jennifer Holland (’99), Nadia Meliniotis, and Vassilis Simopoulos