Welcome Back: 2016 Tokyo Cluster Reunion


Fifty years after they walked through the ASIJ gate and graduated, alumni from the Class of 1966 were back at the Chofu Campus to celebrate a milestone reunion. More than 80 alumni, spanning the classes of ’60-71, and their families joined us for the largest alumni event held on campus since the Centennial Celebration in 2003. Annie Nichols Campbell ’66 and Leslie Okada Roberts ’66 planned four days of festivities, from April 20-23, for their classmates, families and fellow alumni.

Things kicked off on with a welcome reception at the Early Learning Center in Roppongi. Conversation and wine flowed as everyone reminisced, caught-up and enjoyed the onsite sushi chef’s work. Following the reception, small groups headed for a night out on the town.

The following evening, alumni reconvened for a welcome dinner held at the Tokyo American Club. Scott Hutchinson ’65 performed a 40-year-late, but wildly appreciated, encore of his solo from The Princess and the Pea. Annie and Leslie then presented an amazing gift of over ¥2 million to the ASIJ Fund on behalf of the classes of 1960-71. The night concluded with dessert and a video-slideshow that brought back memories of the attendees’ time in Tokyo and of reunions past.

Back-to-School Day, on the following afternoon, may have been the most highly anticipated event on the Cluster Reunion itinerary. Alumni arrived to campus at 10am, welcomed by the smooth sound of our ’68 ASIJ Singers and Band record, Instruments and Voices, in the multi-purpose room. Kicking off the day’s festivities, Ed Ladd (Head of School) provided a welcome message and Tim Thornton (Deputy Head of School) brought alumni, some of whom were visiting for the first time in decades, up to speed on the campus, facilities and future of the school. Lenore Reese (ELC PTA President and Head of School Search Committee Chair) and Anush Bailan (PTA President) then presented on the recent head search and selection process. Presentations ended with a brief Q&A, during which Mary Margaret Mallat (Director of Admissions) answered questions related to current enrollment trends at ASIJ.

As the time for talk drew to a close, the time to walk drew close. Our special guests began a schedule of class viewings, reliving their school days with a taste of art, biology, choir and a host of other courses. They also received a tour of the school. Many of our guests recognized the original parts of campus, such as the elementary school, pool, and high school gym. Many more were excited to see students at work in the Creative Arts Design Center and to learn about the direction the school is taking in promoting design thinking. Taking note of the smaller changes on campus, several of our 60s alumni were happy to learn of the current Japanese language requirements in the curriculum, such as daily Japanese for the elementary school students.

Back-to-School Day ended with just over 70 of our alumni guests attending this year’s high school musical, Disney’s High School Musical and catching the ASIJ buses back downtown.

ASIJ would like give a special thanks to Annie and Leslie who began with modest plans for a Class of ’66 50th Reunion and, with endless dedication, organized an event that welcomed an entire decade. We would also like to thank everyone who was able to attend and also those who so generously donated towards the class gift. Your support helps ASIJ to continue its mission of “developing compassionate, inquisitive learners prepared for global responsibility.”