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Toronto Catholic District School Board

You Don’t Know What You’ve G​ot ‘Till It’s Gone

​By Nicollette M., Student Reporter

 

Class of 1985.jpg

“I used to go to Loretto!” said the cheery-voiced woman selling a laptop case to me, while I was in the Apple store. As I was easily recognizable in my uniform, her knowing where I go to school is no surprise, but what never fails to surprise me is running into someone who went there too. It doesn’t happen often, but it is an occurrence that happens more than I seem to expect. 

 

I run into alumnae here and there - at the mall, at the library, and on the subway. And the exchange is always quite similar:

 

“What grade are you in?”

“Who are your teachers?”

“I had Dr. K too!”

“So how do you like the Abbey?”

 

I could go on, but the essence of the conversation is what’s really important. From all the alumnae I have run into, their responses about the Abbey always sound the same no matter how long ago they graduated: they’re slightly nostalgic, pleasantly surprised that some teachers are still teaching, and happy about their experiences at the school.

 

So what’s so memorable about the Abbey? Some believed that the school really prepared them for university and some felt that going to an all-girl​s school was an amazing experience. But time has passed, so how accurate are their perceptions of the school in today’s age? It’s hard to tell. As a current student at Loretto Abbey, it’s impossible to gauge how we’ll feel when we leave our school behind.

 

Nevertheless, current students often seem to know exactly how they feel about the Abbey. The gruelling science courses, beautiful yet archaic architecture, and rigorous non-semestered school year are often discussed in grumbling tones, but what high school student doesn’t do this?

 

As young adults, we often look too far ahead. We are distracted by supposedly bigger and brighter things that await us in the future. We are eager to get into university and we cannot wait to get started on our careers. So we forget to appreciate what we have now. Appreciation tends to come later in life, when graduates are sending their own children off to high school.

 

And that is exactly what I had witnessed at the Apple store.

 

I once Googled “Loretto Abbey” out of boredom, and I had dug pretty deep and was already on the third page of search results. Low and behold, I came across an abandoned blog post from 2010, written by members of Loretto Abbey’s very own graduating class of 1985.

 

The blog holds details of their reunions, updates on the students, and accounts of what they were like in their own Loretto Abbey days. Expectedly, it included regret about the shoulder pads and crazy hairstyles of the Eighties, but most importantly, it included all the fun they had while at the Abbey. Many of them had written about what teachers they miss, what classes were their favourites, and how fun their shenanigans used to be.

 

How is it that 35 years later, one alumna could still remember when she and Alexandra used to skip fourth period class and hide their bags in the bushes? Or the time when Lucy used to split ice cream sandwiches with Sarah at lunch, and counted the holes on the cookie just to make sure that it was a fair split? It is incredible that decades after graduating, many of the graduates still hold their Abbey memories close to their hearts.

 

These alumnae will likely all be 50 years old this year. Some might be halfway across the globe, working their dream jobs, while some might be settled right here in Toronto, having sent their own daughters to Loretto Abbey. And it seems that no matter what path they chose, they still chose to come together for that blog, and bond over the one place that connects them all.

 

It’s clear that in the past, Loretto Abbey was held in high regard and still is by our school’s alumnae, but as of right now, many students seem to be indifferent. Was this what the class of 1985 felt when they too walked our hallways or climbed the never-ending stairs? Or has our generation changed? I like to believe that the latter isn’t the case.

 

No one has the perfect high school experience, and we mustn’t let any perceived imperfections cloud how we look at Loretto Abbey now. The challenging classes, the trips up and down all those flights of stairs - just like high school itself - will pass. When we’re older we will look back on our school experience with a deep sense of pride, happy to have gone here, much like the class of ‘85. Let’s ensure that we are present and enjoying the opportunities presented to us, so that we too create fond memories to reminisce on. And in 25 years, when we meet a fellow Abbey Gator in that double-blue plaid, we’ll be able to share our memories with fondness, warm nostalgia, and a lot of gratefulness. They do say that you don’t know what you’ve got, until it’s gone. Let’s prove them wrong.

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