By Zehra Naqvi, Donor Relations Coordinator
With the sun setting over familiar soccer fields, the echoes of laughter and cheers filled the air as Montverde Academy alumni and former SIMA student-athletes gathered for a momentous 10-year reunion. The campus, once a battlefield for thrilling matches and unforgettable victories, became a nostalgic backdrop for a reunion that transcended time. “I forgot how special this place was. Being here was life-changing for me, and it feels surreal being back,” says 2021 graduate Luc Granitur. “It’s a special feeling, remembering all the good times I had here.”
For these former teammates, coaches, and friends, the reunion was more than just a celebration of the past; it was a chance to reconnect with the place that molded them into the athletes and individuals they are today. “We were thrilled with the turnout, but we weren’t prepared for the energy and reception that we received from the alumni during their time on campus. It truly was a special weekend,” says Mr. Kevin Varnado, SIMA Director.
The bonds forged on the field have proven to be unbreakable, and the memories created during those high-school days remained etched in their hearts. As alumni strolled through the campus, they reminisced about the camaraderie that fueled their passion for the game. The soccer field, once a stage for their athletic prowess, now witnessed a different kind of competition – one of storytelling and shared experiences. Over lunch, old teammates exchanged tales of late-night practices, nail-biting playoff games, and the unspoken understanding that existed between them on and off the field. The coaches, mentors, teachers, and advisors who played a pivotal role in shaping their character joined the reunion, adding insight to the narrative of the team’s journey. Amidst the excitement, alumni took a moment to acknowledge the changes that have transformed the campus. New facilities and enhancements highlighted the school’s commitment to fostering athletic excellence. The essence of the Academy remains a cornerstone for those who had once donned the team colors. “It’s important to see where the school was when we were here and how far it has come,” notes 2012 graduate Luis Vega. “So many great alums have come out of here. It’s amazing to see the progress and growth of the Academy.”
The reunion also provided an opportunity to celebrate individual achievements since graduation. Some have pursued careers in professional soccer while others excelled in different fields, their success echoing the resilience and discipline instilled in them during their high school days at Montverde Academy. “Montverde Academy is a place where wonderful things happen. It’s a place that has given a lot to us,” says 2014 graduate Saul Chinchilla. “Even today, in life, I continue to apply everything I learned at MVA, be it responsibility, punctuality, or discipline. MVA prepared me to be who I am today.”
As the night unfolded, a sense of gratitude permeated the air – gratitude for the friendships that withstood the test of time, for the lessons learned on and off the field, and for the shared passion that brought them all together. “Time goes by quickly, and when we come back, it shows how grateful we are for our time here. Hopefully sharing our experiences will help prepare current students for their future,” says Mouhamed Pouye, who graduated in 2023.
The reunion became a living tribute to the indelible mark that Montverde Academy has left on each of their lives. After a cheerful celebration in the exclusive hospitality pavilion, our alumni departed with a renewed sense of connection – not only to each other but also to the hallowed grounds where their journeys began. “Now that we are all together, we can look back with a smile. One of the greatest lessons I learned here was that of adaptability,” says Jackson Wälti (‘18). “Keep at it, work hard, and trust that things will work out.” #10yearsofSIMA served as a reminder that no matter where life has taken our alums, the spirit of the Academy and the brotherhood shaped on the field will forever bind them as a united team, both in memory and in the legacy they collectively left behind.