They say that school days are the best days of our lives and though some of us may beg to differ, it seems at King’s the maxim rings true for a large number of students who undoubtedly feel that, though there may be better days to come, their time at King’s ranks pretty close to the top.
According to the Group’s Vice-Chairman, Nicholas Fry, who was at the school during the 1990s, the friendships he forged at King’s College Madrid have endured for over 20 years and are still an important element of his social life today.
An even earlier student, Mariano Guirao, says he has been meeting up regularly with a group of King’s alumni for years. “We felt different from other kids, but it wasn’t a problem,” he says of a time back in the late 1970s and early 80s when King’s was an island of progressive thinking in a sea of traditional Catholic education in Spain. “The former pupils I’m in touch with feel their education was very British and that brings us together. They regard it as positive. It’s enriching to see other ways of thinking and behaving. It encouraged them to travel.”
Since social media arrived on the scene in the early 2000s, it has been much simpler for former students to keep in touch and King’s has made this easier still by holding annual Alumni Summer Reunions, which were first organised by the Group’s Marketing Director Lauren Taylor in July 2013. “We got 70 alumni – I was expecting 10!” she laughs.
The venue for the reunion was The Passenger, chosen by Lauren for its English feel and ‘travelling’ theme. She had no idea it was owned by a former King’s student, Rodrigo Taramona, founder of the on-line publication Rewisor, and could scarcely believe it when he broke into English and filled her in on his credentials. “It was a complete fluke,” says Lauren, who only switched venue in 2016 when the British Ambassador to Spain was among the burgeoning crowd in attendance and a terrace in Colón seemed more appropriate!
This year the Alumni Reunion is to be held at the Club Financiero Génova on June 26th with more than 50 former students coming from far and wide.
The pull of King’s takes different shapes and forms, and while Germany-based alumna Jasmin Roos, who attended King’s College Saintt Michaels, could not make it to the Summer Reunion in Madrid, she did revisit her school days with a recent trip to King’s College Frankfurt.
“Since I live only 35 km from Friedrichsdorf, I was surprised that a King’s College had opened that close to my home,” she says. “I was quite curious about school life in another King’s College and wanted to know what was similar and what was different.”
According to former student, Guillermo Ortega Guitard, who is an enthusiastic fan of the school and one of the many attending the Summer Reunion 2019, “The best thing about King’s College is the international atmosphere. Most people do not get the opportunity of living in such an atmosphere so early in their life. Once you study at King’s, you’re anxious to travel, to discover and work abroad. There are literally no boundaries, no fear of starting from scratch anywhere the opportunities may take you. It helps you to seek an adventurous and fulfilling life, rather than just surviving.”
Meanwhile, actress Liz Lobato explains how back in the 1970s and 1980s, King’s laid the foundations for this very special relationship with its students it still has today. “The atmosphere was very alive,” she says. “It was a special time and the school being shaped by these amazing teachers who created a family atmosphere. They weren’t just good teachers, they were good people. You had to be a little crazy to want to come to Spain at that time and they were people who wanted to do things, change things and change students lives.”
Such is the sense of solidarity among former pupils that when Olympic fencer Marta Baeza Centurión was chosen to represent Spain at the 2016 Games in Rio, she recalls, “I remember that beforehand I had no funding at all and the pupils at King’s helped me out, not just my friends but everyone and all the teachers were so supportive and every time I go to King’s, it’s fantastic. It’s great to see everyone. I’m very close to my friends from school which I don’t think is so common and that was due to the ethos of the school.”