Alumni from Ravenscroft’s original Tucker Street location were welcomed back to campus on Friday, March 24, where they enjoyed catching up with old friends, updates from campus leadership, a Q&A with Upper School students and guided tours of campus. The event took place in Pugh Lobby of the Fine Arts Center.
Owing to the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic on campus events, the group had not been brought together for a formal reunion in more than a decade.
Tucker Street alumnus Smedes York ’59 kicked off the program by showing the video from the school’s 2012 celebration in which a number of Tucker Street alumni revisited the primary school’s campus and reminisced about favorite teachers and classmates.
As Head of School Doreen Kelly rose to address the guests, she noted that the video made her feel “both honored and humbled to lead a school whose roots are tied to so many wonderful friends and benefactors. While several of the folks in the Tucker Street video we just watched together are no longer with us, their mark on this school and this city still resonate today.”
She then shared updates about Ravenscroft today, including the continued growth of the North Raleigh campus and the school’s impressive breadth and depth of programming.
“What has remained unchanged,” she added, “is the care and concern we have for each and every student, the values we demonstrate, our great teaching and the pride all Ravens feel in having attended this institution.”
Guests also had the opportunity to hear from Director of Enrollment Management Margaret Mahood Mills ’76 and Athletic Director Ned Gonet before enjoying a panel discussion with Grace McDaniel ’24, Abby Dix ’24 and Leah Atasoy ’25. Interested alumni then enjoyed a campus tour and had the opportunity to join the Ravenscroft Alumni Association’s annual luncheon, taking place in the Keim Center for Innovation and Research, where Kevin Anderson ’82 — son of Tucker Street alumnus Chip Anderson ’55 — received the Distinguished Alumni Award.
York said he was pleased with the morning’s events. “We had a good turnout, which made for a fun event. It was impressive to get school updates from Doreen Kelly and staff,” he said. “We all especially enjoyed the roundtable where each person told of a memory from our Tucker Street days.”
Chip Anderson said he was struck by how comprehensive the programming is today, compared to the days of the primary school downtown. “Memories shared reminded me how relatively uncomplicated — and narrowly focused — education was offered at the time. The arts as a resource were pretty much confined to painting (with longtime teacher Annie Tongue), and sport activity was basically recess,” he said.
Another Tucker Street alum on campus was Debbie Swain ’68, who shared a very special story about her Ravenscroft connections. “My husband, James (Jamie) Hamilton, and I enjoyed the event, seeing old friends and recalling how he and I met in there in kindergarten — though we married later, after my first marriage. As with many friendships forged at Tucker St., we remained friends for life.
“It is hard to believe how fond we all were of the Quonset hut [where many Tucker Street lessons took place]. I appreciated Mrs. Kelly describing the early trailers at the current location — a natural evolution from the Quonset hut,” she added. “At both [this event and the Alumni Association luncheon], the lessons learned from scholarly endeavors and chapel in the morning seemed evident in the success Ravenscroft grads have had in business, community, medicine and education. Yesterday and today, Ravenscroft is a giving community.”
Director of Strategic Giving Ben Rein, noting that this was his first event with Tucker Street alumni, said he heard that same theme throughout the day as well.
“What a privilege to be part of this meeting of dear friends and classmates,” he said. “As the group gathered in a circle at the end to share stories from their Tucker Street days, I was struck by the warmth and resonance of their shared experience. The consistency of the message around the life-shaping impact of a school they all attended over 50 years ago aligns precisely with the messaging we hear from our Ravenscroft alumni today. It’s a remarkable testament to the enduring values and impact of our Ravenscroft community over time.”