This year is the 10th Anniversary of the Gifted Education Program in St. Hilda’s Primary School. Over the weekend, the school held a dinner to celebrate the occasion, with the former and current students all invited.

On our visit back, one of the teachers made a comment that really struck me. She said that our batch goes back to visit more frequently than any other batch. I think the reason behind that is the impact the school had on our lives. At least for me, St. Hilda’s was basically the start of where I developed to be who I am today. Those were the years where I developed my interest in computing, for example.

More importantly, though, they were also the years of the first lasting friendships I made. And those are things that stick with you. To me, that’s the true value of school. It’s not the content. It’s the people and connections. And the opportunities to explore. The things I remember most are not the lessons, it’s the times during recess when we played, and also the different opportunities and projects we got to do.

The teachers, of course, played a huge part in all of that. And for me, that’s why I go back to visit, even though I graduated 5 years ago and have been to 2 other schools since then. It’s not because I learned more there than in any other school. It’s because the teachers there are the ones who truly opened the door for me, and the friendships we made there are really lasting.

Going back on the weekend, the bond within our batch was quite obvious, to me at least. Even after 5 years, we still have a blast when we’re together. We still do a lot of crazy stuff. Any of my former classmates reading this will probably be shocked, because I’ve never been much of a “school spirit” kind of person, but yes, the friendships still matter to me.

What’s my point in all of this? It’s partly to point out that the least important thing about the formal education system is the education – the academic side of it. And it’s great to see that there are companies – like 37signals – who recognize this.

But this post is meant as more than just a dig at the formal education system. It’s to show the importance of relationships. To me, that’s the most important thing in life. The people. They are the ones who make the most impact, and add the most value to life. And they are what makes life worth living, for me at least.

So today, my question to you is this. How are you impacting the lives of others?

(Oh, and yes, this is also one of the few times I’ll be posting a personal photo with myself in it. Not because I don’t want you guys to see me, just because I don’t really like being in photos. But it’s meant to emphasize the point of the importance of relationships.)