On 23 June 2014, we met in the B corridor (now the first floor) in the west wing of St Martin’s College. We were six of eighteen students, who were allowed to go along to Cambodia, a trip entirely dedicated to the garment industry in Southeast Asia. Over the following months, we got to know each other better and better through the fundraising activities we undertook and read up together on the situation of the garment factories of major fashion chains in Southeast Asia. We (nowadays were 6 young idealistic students, say children, flying together to the other side of the world to broaden our horizons.
During the trip, we grew closer and closer, and afterwards we kept seeing each other, despite not having classes together. After a few years, we were – finally – all out of school. Apart from being scattered all over the country, we kept in touch and continued our traditions of annually celebrating Sinterklaas, Christmas and New Year’s in one, going away for weekends, playing the same games we played in Cambodia and visiting each other’s birthdays in Groningen, Utrecht and Leiden.
Our studies and new cities formed our new lives and high school was far behind us, but to our great pleasure, Jannes Berghuis, one of us, returned to Maartens College at the end of his bachelor’s to work as a TOA, where he worked with Rémi’s father, Maarten van Koeverden. Funnily enough, this came as no surprise; there had been plenty of talk about Jannes going into teaching. Just as his father – and one of our favourite teachers – Willem Berghuis had done years ago.
Shortly afterwards, a new tradition was born: since 2019, we have also met every year in June, because our dear friend Jannes died suddenly. Words cannot describe how sad we are that he is no longer with us. By now we are adults and high school is far behind us, but the memories of those days will stay with us forever, just as Jannes always will.
Much love from us,
Lars van den Brink, Rémi van Koeverden, Faja Lunshof, Melissa Verhoeven, Fleur Kleinhuis