The alumni were, not surprisingly, all wildly successful and included physicians, attorneys, university professors, real estate developers, management consultants, and a bevy of engineers. Each one was accompanied by a beautiful wife, invariably adorned in designer jewels. They boasted about their children who seem to all attend Ivy League colleges, and they traded advice on how to help their high achieving progeny get a job in investment banking or admission to a top medical school.
They reminisced about the extreme, week-long interview they endured to have been admitted to their alma mater. Only about one in one hundred were admitted to the highly selective prep school.
The interview process was designed to identify young men with global leadership potential. Candidates were divided into small groups and thrust into one of a half dozen or so foreign language immersion experiences for one full week of observation. Don't know a word of German? Perfect. Now learn it as quickly as you can over the next few days so that your interview can be conducted in German. That group of applicants over there? They are undertaking the same process, but in Latin. And because the skills required for leadership go beyond what is in the books, applicants were asked to demonstrate their team building aptitude on the soccer field.
After the week-long interview was over, each boy hoped and prayed that he would be one of the lucky few to be admitted.
Now, decades later, those who were admitted to the school still proudly and emotionally sing the school song. They still have strong affiliations not only with the prep school itself, but with the "house," or dormitory, in which they lived. "Old boys" from each house still remembered each word of the school song, and proudly sought out members of their house with whom they shared an even more special comraderie.
Before the evening was over, they heard from a brilliant former ambassador to Sweden who told war stories about getting to know world leaders who took pilgrimages to Stockholm to collect their Nobel prizes. Then the alumni webmaster demonstrated the latest version of the alumni website designed with new features that allow the "old boys" to stay in touch with one another on their own, private version of Facebook.
A good time was had by all.
And, oh, by the way, did I mention where this prep school was located? Did you wonder? Did this story sound American? Maybe the reference to "old boys" or soccer suggested that the elite prep school was in Britain or continental Europe.
Congratulations to the Nigerian Government College Ibadan Old Boys Association on your successful 2010 reunion in Washington, DC, and wishing you the best for the 2011 reunion to be held in New York.
(Government College, Ibadan is currently in disrepair and a core objective of the Old Boys Association is to raise money to repair the structure and return the educational standards to what they once were.)