On Saturday night, the fourth annual Brookfield Alumni Banquet took place, and helped cap off the Alumni Weekend. Prior to the banquet, a special dedication for the BHS track was held as well.
Jeff Elliott, Class of 1979, welcomed the crowd and acted as emcee for the evening. The invocation was given by Becky Clark Cleveland, Class of 1974. The meal was served and catered by Sprague’s Catering.
Following the meal, Elliott introduced James Hart, a Brookfield teaching legend, who is entering his 39th year in education (38 at BHS).
Hart started his speech by addressing the accomplishments of the Hall of Fame class. He then admitted some trepidation on his part about the speech he was about to give. Hart promised no stories about specific students, noting that memory differs by the parties involved.
Hart did relate a humorous story about his ficus tree, which many students who have been in his classroom will no doubt remember. Hart remembered the time that a young man taped a condom, in its wrapper, to the tree. This was done, in Hart’s words, so the student could refer to the ficus as a “rubber” tree.
Hart remarked on his time at BHS, and noted: “Some of my students think that I am an institution at Brookfield High School. I don’t mind this, as long as they don’t think that I belong in an institution.”
Mr. Hart also talked about the meaning of the word “alumni.” He noted that the word alumni related to three additional themes: memory, value and hope.
“Happiness is toning more than good health and a bad memory,” Hart quoted from a famous saying. Hart said that anyone at the banquet from the Class of 1953 was actually old enough to be his parent. He also notes that the term “senior years” for him no longer related to the final year of high school.
Hart talked about reunion movies, and the roles contained therein. “Time moves in one direction, memory in the other,” said Mr. Hart from another famous quote.
Mr. Hart noted that in defining value, he meant both the noun and verb forms of the word. Hart defined value as being worthy of respect, and the term being assigned to something valuable or that holds value.
Hart notes that while the old Brookfield High School held value once, the building that he sees outside of his window is now an eyesore, “long overdue for the wrecking ball.”
Mr. Hart talked about the pleasure he takes in educating our youth. Hart talked about continuing to learn from his teenage students. Hart then used the word “hope” as a conclusion for his speech.
Page 2 of 2 - “Some are hoping that I conclude this speech soon so you can go enjoy some drinking and dancing,” said Hart. “Many of us are hoping we never have to depend on Depends.”
After the standing ovation for Mr. Hart, Bill Thudium, Class of 1968, led the banquet in the singing of “The Halls of Brookfield.”