We Alma Matter

A look into Stuyvesant’s alumni network and the people involved in notable events like alumni reunions.

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The Stuyvesant High School Alumni Association (SHSAA) is a network of Stuyvesant graduates that supports the current student body by providing funding for school programs and events. Each year, the SHSAA helps finance student-organized performances such as SING! and trips for sports teams and clubs. In addition, the organization hosts a variety of annual fundraising events and gatherings, such as the Stuyvesant Benefit in May and alumni reunions. These reunions are hosted over one weekend at both the current Stuyvesant building and the school’s previous location in the Stuyvesant neighborhood of Manhattan. In addition, the Alumni Association organizes class-specific parties that are held at night. The SHSAA’s most recent reunion hosted 18 classes instead of the typical 10 to 12 to compensate for pandemic-era cancellations. 

Diego Segalini (‘98) has been the executive director of the Alumni Association for the past two years. He is responsible for communicating with other alumni organizers to plan each reunion event. “I work with class leaders; similar to the Senior Caucus, each class has a class marshal [...] to get an understanding of what their group would like to do, and how many people we should expect,” Segalini explained. A team of around 40 student volunteers from ARISTA and the Stuyvesant Red Cross assist at these events by checking in alumni and leading them on tours of the Chambers Street building. “It [is] a wonderful way to have the alumni connect with our students,” Segalini said.

Students who volunteer for these events gain valuable experiences through conversations with alumni about current and past student culture. Junior and Red Cross member Ray Xu has volunteered at every alumni reunion since his freshman year. At the most recent reunion, he helped out with sales in the school store and served as a tour guide. During breaks between tours, Xu enjoys finding time to chat casually with alumni. He appreciates the insight graduates have to offer, especially those who have navigated the same career paths he wishes to pursue. “[The alumni are] also usually interested in what I want to do,” Xu explained. “When I say [I want to pursue] business, they give me more specific career advice related to that [because] a lot of them have gone into the business field.” Generally, alumni encourage current students to maintain their schoolwork-life balance and look after their emotional well-being. Xu said, “I can speak for myself and a few of my friends in saying that most alumni give great advice, even when you don't specifically ask for it.”

Junior and ARISTA member Arielle Eber attended an alumni reunion hosted at the former Stuyvesant building. “I think it’s important to maintain contact with alumni because despite our age differences, we still have this common defining trait: being Stuyvesant students. It was really heartwarming to see friends that haven’t seen each other in decades finally meeting up again and clicking just like they did during their time at Stuy[vesant],” Eber said. These moments of class camaraderie give student volunteers glimpses of what the future has to offer: the retention of cherished friendships.

Alumni who live in foreign countries and are unable to return to New York are still given opportunities to connect with their high school classmates. In December, there will be a Hong Kong alumni social organized by an alum currently living in the area, aimed to accommodate the substantial number of alumni living overseas. “[That alum is] going to help organize that and promote it to the folks in that part of the world, many of [whom] may not have been able to come to a reunion,” Segalini said.

The variety of events planned by the Alumni Association isn’t limited to class reunions. This year, the Alumni Association sponsored the Hispanic Heritage Month Dinner and will also be involved in planning the upcoming Diwali celebration. In addition, the SHSAA has arranged for Eric Holder (‘69), former attorney general under President Obama, to speak at a student assembly on November 9. One of the SHSAA’s largest events, the annual Benefit for Stuyvesant fundraiser gala will be held in May. At each benefit, one older alum, one recent alum, and a faculty member are honored. In 2024, the Benefit for Stuyvesant will honor Arthur Blank (‘60), a successful businessman who is the owner of the Atlanta Falcons football team and the co-founder of Home Depot. “We’re going to acknowledge him for all of his achievements, [and] he’s gonna talk a little about what Stuy[vesant] meant for him,” Segalini said. “The idea is that it’s a fundraiser so we can support a lot of the clubs and pubs at school, the teams, and the mentoring program.”

The Alumni Association’s goal is simple yet impactful. By bridging the gap between current and past Stuyvesant students, the organization fosters a mutually beneficial relationship; current students gain advice on their Stuyvesant careers and life after graduation, and alumni get a chance to rekindle old friendships and pass on their wisdom to the next generation of Stuyvesant students. Though every Stuyvesant student will eventually leave the school’s halls, their legacies can live on through their advice to new generations.