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TThe Guest of Honor for the 2014 Memorial Day Celebration at the American Cemetery for North Africa was Rear Admiral Jeffrey Lemmons, Director Inter-American Defense College. Rear Admiral Lemmons attended ACST's branch campus in Sousse in the 1960s. He is pictured here with ACST Director Allan Bredy
If you would like to know more about ACST's past, click on the Related File below (at bottom of the page) named: ACST 50 Years of History
ACST Reunion - 50th Anniversary
The 50th Anniversary of the American Cooperative School of Tunis was celebrated over a period of three days, Thursday, May 28 – Saturday, May 30, 2009, in three different venues.
On the afternoon of May 28, 2009, alumni, students, staff, parents, and friends of the school attended an assembly in the school gymnasium. Speeches were given by the Director Patrick Meyer, the US Ambassador Godec, the German Ambassador Kerll, and Ofosu Amaah, representative the African Development Bank. The assembly was followed by a barbecue organized by the school cafeteria staff on the ACST grounds by the open-air amphitheater.
The school started fifty years ago in the house of the Hunter family. The Hunters were not able to make it, but present at the celebrations was the co-founder’s son, Eric Rasmussen. What an honor! Mr. Rasmussen was happy to be joined by two other alumni who had also attended the school back in 1959-63, Mark and Margaret Gaumond. It was really special to have alumni from the founding of the school.
Also present at the celebrations was a former director of ACST, Rick Spradling from the nineties, a former teacher from the early 70's, Mary Topp, who had taught First Grade, as well as Paulette Theodore, a former Teacher Aide. They and seven other alumni (Gladys Bertin, Cherine Habbous, Frederika, Maarten and Harald Simons, Claudina Richards, and Linda Zrida) from the various decades all travelled to Tunisia from overseas for the event.
Other alumni (Karim Ayed, Peter Bismuth, Yasmine Hamila) came from Tunisia, as well as former teachers and administrative staff: Sylvia Abroughi, Barbara Boukhris, Viki Chaabane, Lorna Mgaieth, Norah Safi, Anne Somai, and Alya Zouiten.
In many cases alumni came accompanied by parents, husbands and fiancés. Everyone mingled and reminisced, among themselves and with current ACST employees, including Lynne Ayad, French teacher, 36 years at ACST, and custodian Laroussi Agrebi, 40 years.
The celebration went on the next day at an excellent get-together dinner at the new Residence Golf Club House, where alumni, current parents and teachers shared special moments. Alumni each told a story of the olden days, and together sang the ACST song: “Just Below the Hills of Carthage” composed by former Music Teacher Linda Ben Hamida. The degree of love and joy in the room was definitely very high. It was a nostalgic time. Some people came, either to the barbecue, or to the dinner. Many came to both.
Graduation took place on Saturday afternoon at the beautiful former Cathedral of St. Louis on Byrsa Hill, today known as the Acropolium. This special venue was chosen as a further way of marking ACST’s 50 years.
For most alumni, their trip included going back to see the houses where they lived, visiting the capital city Tunis, and touring various parts of the country. Some places looked the same, while others had changed completely.
The most transformed place though for our alumni was the school. The barn that succeeded the Hunters’ house is no longer a four classroom, one office, one bathroom building but instead an extensive campus that includes around 40 classrooms, 4 computer labs, with separate Lower and Secondary School libraries, art rooms, music rooms, and gymnasiums, plus a cafeteria, and a two-story parking at the end of the field. The old barn was pulled down just a few years ago, and rebuilt as an administrative block with seven offices and a reception area. The one-time huge sports field is somewhat diminished in size with all the building that has taken place, especially in the last six years, with the arrival of the AFDB. More than 500 students are now in attendance at ACST.
In conclusion, the exciting reunion for ACST’s 50th Anniversary celebration remains a memorable event for all who came. Even for the many who couldn’t attend, hundreds of emails have flown back and forth renewing old friendships.