We’ve talked in my last column about the requirements of a worthwhile alumni homecoming, the first being the shared beginning. The next requirement, as we continue, is shared growth.

For a reunion to be meaningful, participants should not just trace themselves to the same beginning—they should have shared growth. These were the times when they and their batch mates were undergoing rigid mentoring, given the same exams, asked to submit the same projects, made to do the same assignments, and required to pass the same subjects. These were the moments when their friendships deepened as they extended help to one another and thus learned to treasure one another’s company, burning the midnight candles together, working on group projects, and not leaving anyone behind.

Shared success likewise constitutes an exciting reunion. You shared the same beginning, the same growths, and the same successes. There might be some who, for some reason, didn’t make it to the graduation ceremony, hence their exclusion from the gathering. But for the most part, many had made it, holding the same diploma, wearing the same togas, and assuming the same degrees. Again, there might be those who received meritorious awards and medals as exceptional graduates, but the majority comprise the typical, successful graduates.

Another requirement is shared memories and experiences. Good or bad, shared memories are fun to recall. They add meaning to class reunions. Who would forget the joy of attending special evening programs that usually climaxed with a dance for all? Who could forget their crushes, first loves, and true loves on that memorable campus? Most of all, who could forget the wonderful people of that place?

Last but not the least of these requirements is a shared learning institution. Or the school where the alumni participants graduated from. Yes, a grand alumni homecoming is exclusive for those who began in this school, grew academically in this school, graduated from this school, have had memories and experiences in this school, and shared this school with the rest. They conduct this reunion because they are products of this prestigious institution that they altogether share. And that’s an honor and privilege.

It’s not just remembering the most cherished moments. It’s not just greeting old friends and acquaintances. It’s not boasting to others about what some have become, or looking down on others who were unfortunate to finish their studies and land good jobs. It is also coming back home, to the school that once served as their second home, to this home that provided them with the knowledge and degrees necessary for their journey to the world of work and life in general. This is paying tribute to an alma mater for its significant contribution to what the participants had become.

Rid a class reunion of all these and it will become meaningless. Why? Because these shared moments and experiences determine a homecoming’s sweetness and success.