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Class Reunion Stories - Teachers

 


Teachers love reunions too

Should you invite teachers?

 The answer to this common question from reunion organizers may have more to do with whether teachers are even still alive than whether or not to invite them. Of course, you should invite them. Teachers were a very significant part of your high school experience and can be an important part of your reunion. Now you can approach them as an adult and probably discover what wonderful adults they are!

In some cases such as Sister Mary Godfrey Huber, the reunion may have to come to them. The occasion was Huber's 100th birthday and dozens of her beloved students whom she'd taught nearly 60 years earlier gathered to celebrate the milestone. Seeing her students whom she taught Latin, math and social science, was the greatest pleasure she said she could have and because it was a surprise, "tripled the joy." Mary Esser Drow, 72, of Arizona, organized her Class of 1945 from St. Mary's Academy in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, 55th reunion to coincide with Huber's 100th birthday. Another student commented that Huber, who was also celebrating her 75 years of service as a School Sister of Notre Dame, hasn't forgotten anyone.

Responses are from professional class reunion organizer members of the National Association of Reunion Managers (NARM).

Q!
We have teachers who want to come to our reunion. Do WE pay for them as our guests? Or do they pay for themselves? Do we charge a lower price? We went to a small private school, and fewer than 60 people will attend, plus about 15 teachers (if they ALL come). Please advise.
A!
Tony Ricketts, Golden State Reunions, Carlsbad, California, recommends inviting teachers to attend these events absolutely free: Friday night icebreaker, Sunday family picnic and a pre-reunion reception hour. Jonathan Miller, Reunited, Inc, Weston, Florida, suggests that the reunion committee might want to invite a truly special faculty member as a guest of the class, covering costs for the teacher and his/her guest.
   Few teachers attend reunions, according to Greg Hollander, Class Encounters, Sacramento, California. "Most want to visit, but don't want to come for dinner. Teachers aren't charged for attending unless they want to eat, in which case they are charged only the cost of the dinner or the committee pays for dinners."
" Frances Farlow, Reunions For U, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said "I would invite teachers (by phone call, personal notes or posted flyers) and offer a price that covers all per-person facility charges but does not include the cost of putting on the event, printing, mailing, searching, entertainment or decorations
Deirdre Marvin, ReunionTeam.com, Houston, Texas, says if you are inviting your "Honored Faculty" to come and reminisce with your class, the class pays for them. For those looking to cut reunion costs, we recommend they invite faculty to the Friday night mixer, if they are having one; hors d'oeuvres or snacks are much less expensive than dinner.
   "Normally we charge teachers half the normal ticket price," said Gina Charrlin, Blast From The Past Reunions, Albuquerque, New Mexico. "Large numbers of faculty are usually charged full price. Otherwise you'll have to cover costs another way; find a business to sponsor the reunion or ask alums to donate to a 'Teachers' Ticket Fund.'"
   Joseph W. Smith, Back to the Future Reunions, Division of Red Jester Enterprises, Inc, Pleasanton, California, says "one option is to incorporate teachers' costs into the overall per-person ticket price. When no special price arrangements are made for teachers, we send an open letter of invitation to faculty and staff wishing to attend. This also informs the school of reunion arrangements in case they receive any inquiries."
   As far as paying for teachers, Linda Wright & Jim O'Gorman, Keep In Touch Reunions LLC, St. Charles Missouri, have seen it all. "Some reunion committees pay out-of-pocket for the teachers' tickets. Some apportion the cost of the anticipated number of teachers to classmates' ticket price. Others ask teachers to pay for tickets at full or reduced price."
   Janice Masciarelli, Reunion Central, Bear, Delaware, reports that most of her clients offer faculty members a lower ticket price, usually limited to the per-person banquet cost. Carolyn Moore, Reunion Planners of Texas, Magnolia, Texas, suggests the charge for teachers be limited to their share of food and facility costs and the reunion committee decides whether to pay or charge the teacher.
If you are going to invite any teachers, you must invite them all and be prepared to talk with them during the event, advise Debby Pattin and Carol Riley, Reunions Unlimited, Olympia, Washington. They feel it's important to send special, personal invitations to teachers - not just the reunion invitation that classmates receive.
   And, finally, from the editor of this magazine ... How much to charge must be decided by each class/committee. Some teachers may have extenuating circumstances, such as cost or being unable to get there. The first is one of many dilemmas, but if they pay or not, arrange transportation for teachers who would like to come but no longer drive or don't drive at night.

St. Martin’s Class of 1987.
St. Martin’s Class of 1987.



Class reunion offers this old teacher chance to meet young adults
by Leslie Criss

Editor’s note: This is from a teacher, which is a definitive answer to the oft asked question: should we invite our teachers to the reunion?

To be a teacher in the right sense is to be a learner. I am not a teacher, only a fellow student.  Soren Kierkegaard

Members of the St. Martin High School Class of 1987 assembled in Biloxi for their 20th reunion. I was invited. And though I've sworn never to attend another class reunion of my own, this one I attended. I was, it seems, the only teacher invited. I could tell you the reasons those former kids gave me for my inclusion; instead, I will hold them in my heart. For weeks before the reunion I wondered if it would be odd to be the only adult in attendance. Then I was reminded: These folks are closing in on 40.

So, I went. And I was touched by excited squeals of “Miss Criss” and bold embraces by handsome young men and beautiful young women. Some of them I recognized immediately. Others took some time. But eventually in their adult features I caught a glimpse of the faces still smiling from the pages of old yearbooks.

This is the class whose members, at least some of them, suffered through my English classes twice--once as 8th graders, and again as sophomores, after I moved to the high school. Bless their hearts. We got to know each other well. And as it must be for all teachers, I hoped to somehow make some difference in their lives, to teach them something they'd find useful in the world. Two Saturday nights ago I received the rare gift of hearing, in my lifetime, the effect my time as a teacher had on my former students. One guy, introducing me to his wife (also an English teacher), said he'd never had me as a teacher, but the word in the hallways all those years ago was, “Miss Criss is the go-to person if you ever have a problem.” Two folks actually thanked me for making them learn to diagram sentences, something that drew deep sighs of disapproval during the long-ago learning process.

My friend Robin told me I was the first teacher who treated them like they were human beings. I had no idea - I was simply being who I am.

I never chose to teach. I wanted to be a writer. I majored in English and landed in a classroom where I stayed six years. There've probably been times when I allowed myself one of those if-only-I'd-not-wasted-those-years moments. No more. Things work out like they are supposed to. I was right where I was supposed to be. To the members of the St. Martin Class of 1987: Thanks for all I've learned from you. And for the opportunity to see what amazing human beings you've become. Originally appeared in and reprinted with permission from the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

About the author
Miss Criss taught 7th and 8th graders English for four years, and later taught 10th, 11th and 12th grades for two and a half years. After graduate school at the University of Mississippi, she started a second career in journalism and has been a columnist, feature writer and editor at several Mississippi newspapers for 18 years.


Class reunion planning dilemma
Can you help?
Gary Hodge helps plan the North Tonawanda (New York) High School, Class of 1980, reunion. He writes ... I am trying to learn what other class reunion committees do in reunion years and NON reunion years to increase their web site traffic. Send your ideas to editor@reunionsmag.com
Our suggestions would be to be active on the web site and think of things to bring people back regularly; discussion forum, provocative posts, add lots of pictures all the time, mining good news all the time. Or maybe, occasionally, a little controversy? Using Facebook and instagram to feed the web site. You need to stand out because there are many ways to distract all of us. What are your ideas?

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