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Claudia Vasquez Speech CNG 79
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Thirty-year Class Reunion Speech

Class of 1979

by Claudia Vásquez

Colegio Nueva Granada

Bogota, Colombia

May 15, 2009

Hi there …..


I am sure that you and your INBOX are both relieved that this event is finally here.


It all started last June when we celebrated CNG’s 70th year and suddenly realized that the 30th anniversary of our high school graduation was coming up.  Ximena Fajardo had created a Facebook group, CNG79, and suggested that we organize some kind of event.  Initially, we met in Ft. Lauderdale at Lucia and Hyram’s wedding party.  Patti Dombrower, Lina Duque, Jack Azout and Andrés Cortés were there.


 And the search began.


Remember Joe Cunliff?  Short, smiley kid with a crew cut?  Used to put a mirror on his shoe to look up our dresses!  I must have spoken to at least 5 Joe Cunliffs, none of which was ours.


One day, Monica Cobos asked me if I had found her secret crush Jimmy Klaasen… curious, I looked him up on Linked-In, found a Jim Klaasen, and left a voice mail.  Two days later, my phone rang; it was our own Jimmy Klaasen on the line!  Almost speechless, I  babbled a few words about our plan.  Jim is  married, 4 kids, VP at a communications company in the New York area. 


Enrique Turégano was a difficult catch.  We tried Babson College’s alumni listing, but the information there was obsolete.  Back to Linked-In.  Fortunately, not too many Enrique Turéganos in the US!  And there he was.  We called him, he answered.


Along with Linked-In, Facebook was a great help. Through Facebook, Ximena Fajardo tracked down Chuck Manicini, Jon Ranis, Paula Panero, Carlos Ortiz and Zorana Vidinic.


Many of us wondered about the quiet, sweet Israeli girl from our class, Ruthie Havilio.  Yahoo people search this time.  Incredibly, we found an Israeli turism website with a picture of a young tile designer in a cozy studio studio in Jerusalem.  And there she was, our Ruthie Havilio!  Another web star?  Dr. Ligia Belalcazar, featured on Stark Diabetes Center of the University of Texas Medical School website.  There she was, medical gown and all!


Using Facebook, we found Tamira Treffers, who was in contact with Sharon Shepard.  After some detective work, Sharon was able to find Eric Paul.   Fercho Camacho found Brian Lifsec, who had already been in contact with Inés Londoño, who was in touch with Kendra Brown.  Brian also helped us find Dan Morrow, now a robotics engineer.  And, during one of our evening commitee sessions,  Fercho plugged away at the keyboard and found Bobby Hequin.  During other committee sessions we were on the phone with Eric Paul in Texas, Sarah Vallely in Boston, Maria Isabel Garcia in Miami and Los Angeles Architect Carlos Alejandro Ortiz. Isabela Zapata gave us Scott Castle’s phone number, I dialed it, there he was.  All thanks to the miracle of voice over IP.   


CNG gave us an email address for Mr. Burgess, and mentioned he lived in Plantation, Florida.  No answer on the email.  A few clicks, a phone number.  Dr. Burgess on the line.  And here he is.


You get the picture.  There are many more stories to tell, and we enjoyed each and every one.  Round and round we went.  Email after email. And more of us started popping up (Just like Jack in the box….jeje).



So this is how we have 90 class members listed on our database.  And 64 of us are here today.


In mid-February, Rafael Ortiz suggested that we catch up on what we’ve been doing for the past 30 years.  The Classmate News Wiki was born, along with  Now we have the perfect mechanism to stay in touch.


What fun it has been to look for one another, and to be found!  This is, no doubt, a wonderful event.  But much more than just a party, our reunion has been an excuse to return to our past.  To get in touch with each other and to reestablish ties that will benefit us so much going forward.  Thank you so much for allowing me the privilege of helping to initiate a process which I hope will continue for us all.


Thank you.