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Class Reunions

tips, ideas and advice- Technology

 


Reunions have been part of western culture for many generations. Until now, not much has changed with this popular ritual. Now reunions can be enhanced with easy-to-build websites that are your communications hub before and after the reunion.

Myevent.com allows anyone, even without technical skills, to create a reunion website. Fill in forms online and the information creates beautiful design templates.

Lauren Taylor was thrilled with her Springfield, Pennsylvania, high school's 20th reunion website on Myevent.com. “Incredible features share information and pictures, and lists people who are coming and those who cannot make it to the reunion. It was great to post event details and eliminated a lot of questions we had when we planned our reunion 10 years ago.

“Planning tools allowed us to send email invitations and plan and track all the reunion events. Everyone RSVP’d on the website and were able to pay for tickets with a credit card right on our website — much easier than collecting checks from everyone.”

Lauren's classmates enjoyed the website as much as she for many reasons. “There’s a great poll and quiz we changed every week because we knew people were coming back to see changes. Another thing people really liked was the flashback page with events in pop culture from 20 years ago,” she said.

Lauren said the “Then and Now” was the most popular page on the website. It showed each classmate’s graduation picture as well as one today, along with a blurb about where they are now. Everyone was able to send information and pictures right through the website, so it was easy to get pictures and comments. It encouraged everyone to catch up before the reunion.

“The guest book was extremely popular and signed by almost everyone whether or not they were coming to the reunion. Many could not make the trip and on the website they could feel part of the event. Everyone appreciated seeing pictures and a video clip posted immediately after the reunion.

“When I thought about creating a reunion website I was a nervous because I had no technical skills. But Myevent.com was easy and needed no special computer skills. I just filled in our information, clicked on submit buttons and the system handled the rest. I was able to try the website free for seven days before paying, but after five minutes I knew this was exactly what we needed.”

Lauren’s website is www.springfield.myevent.com. There is a seven-day free trial to see if it is right for you. The cost is a very affordable $9.95 per month with everything included. Go to www.reunions.myevent.com.


Reunion Planner book and software revision
 3rd Edition of The Reunion Planner Book and Software Version 7

 Since 1992, Linda Johnson Hoffman and Neal Barnett, authors of The Reunion Planner book and software, have helped planners with their class, family and military reunions. A revised 3rd edition of the book is available with newly enhanced PC-compatible software, now available on CD.

New and updated Version 7 Software!
This software program will save you hundreds of hours in planning time! Allows you to quickly enter/update alumni data, print, view and export various lists, track expenses and receipts, print mail labels, and much more!

  New Enhancements Include:
  Emailing Functionality
Pre-Designed Forms to be emailed
Handling for Multiple Events for the Reunion Weekend
Photos can be inserted
Additional Information can be collected for each person
Vendor Data Screen and Report
Enhanced Backup/Restore routines
Enhanced Export/Import capabilities
Report sorting by State
New tabbed interface for Data Management
Book and software, standard edition is $59.95; professional edition is $159.95.
Requires Windows 2000/XP/Vista, 256MB RAM, approx. 50MB hard disk space.
Click here to purchase.

 

Alumni web site unites former students
Highland Springs (Virginia) High School's boys basketball team captured the AAA State Championship title this year and that's not all the school has captured. It has captured the attention of more than 1,000 HSHS alumni who stay in touch with all things “Springer” via an alumni-designed website at www.springerconnection.com. Barely one year old, this free site captivates an active community who return day after day to read the message board and continually scan membership for childhood friends. 

This site is different from classmates.com and reunion.com which charge fees to email and post to message boards. “The reason people like this site is its interesting content, message board and ability to email other members, all without a fee,” says Dan Zodun, Creative Engineer and Administrator of springerconnection.com

Additional member benefits at springerconnection.com include photo file sharing, a reunion center (with pictures, updates, and other reunion notes), nostalgic trivia, cafeteria recipes, alumni editorials and local history. School sports coverage is updated weekly and incorporates scores, coaches' interviews, news, articles, photos and video. Chat room features will be added shortly.    

Other schools and groups interested in duplicating the success of springerconnection.com can have the template customized. Contact Denise Reynolds, 866-my-click; clickbyclick@quixnet.com.

Online registration successful
Smartybird on our forum wrote about online reunion registration.

I used paypal for my high school reunion and it worked incredibly well. We were able to process last-minute registrations which was a BIG plus. We had an optional field for a donation to the class fund; much to my amazement we took in an additional $2,500. Initially I thought I had a software error so I had to audit the number and I was almost knocked over when I found it was indeed correct! Google Pay charges 30% less so I'm going to evaluate it for the next reunion.

One of the committee members suggested we add a line item called “Donation of Support” that included three levels named for school colors and mascot:

1) Maroon ($25-$49)

2) Gray ($50-$99)

3) Lion ($100+)

Class members were able to enter their donation amount as part of their registration and charge the balance to their credit card.

The vast majority of donations were for $100, most of the rest were $50. We even received donations from class members who were not able to attend.

We used the funds to have an even better reunion with lots of extras. Also, we banked some for use at our 35th reunion in 2010.

Reported by Fred Nelson, Fayetteville, New York

Blogging the class reunion

Posted by kheyboer November 30, 2007 05:28AM

Who married whom? Who got fat? Who went bald?

You used to have to wait for your high school reunion to catch up with classmates. Now a growing number of classes are using blogs to document their reunions and bring together far-flung classmates.

Prolific blogger Anthony Buccino is spearheading Belleville (New Jersey) High School Class of 72, a new blog that takes a then-and-now look at Essex County natives 35 years after their graduation. There are plenty of before-and-after photos from a recent class reunion. http://bellevillehighclassof1972.blogspot.com/

How do you find out about class reunions?

Kathleen McGuinness, South Pasadena, California, asked how people find out whether their class is having a reunion. Check with the school?

We answered that unless things have changed recently, many schools have no idea what's happening with reunions. Lists online may be better, although some classes may not list their reunions anywhere. All reunion listings depend upon organizers reporting them. Reunionsmag.com features a list of upcoming class reunions and a class reunion archive to preserve contact information during years when there are no reunions. Classmates.com and reunions.com also list upcoming school reunions.

One of the best ways to know about class reunions is to stay in touch with classmates. Wise reunion organizers ask for contact information for someone (often parents or siblings) who will always know where you are.

In an article in the Pasadena Star News, Celebrations Section, McGuinness asked about class reunion numbers. Carol Riley, owner of Reunions Unlimited, offered her guesstimate of average attendance at 20% to 25% for 10-year reunions, 30% or better for 20-year through 40-year reunions and 35% to 40% for 50-year reunions.

A veteran professional reunion planner, Riley has interesting observations. “Ten-year reunions are more into ‘look at me, see what I’ve done.’ Or class members are still living at home, and haven’t reached any goals yet. Often they feel bad because they haven’t ‘made it.’

“At the 20-year reunion, many are married, more settled and entrenched in their communities. By 30 years they’ve experienced life, divorce, death, lost jobs, changed careers and all kinds of disasters. They’re more grounded.

“At the 40-year reunions they’re beginning to feel their age. Many have grandchildren, are retired or preparing for retirement. They’re empty nesters. They’ve become more mellow. They’re not the party people they once were.”

Alumknights on the web

 Alumni of Bishop Kelly High School, Boise, Idaho, have established a web site featuring alumni activities, information about the annual golf tournament and 3 on 3 basketball hoop. The histories of these events are chronicled, as is the BKAA tradition of annual scholarships for incoming freshmen.

The heart of the web site is the message board for "alumknights." Some classes have used the message board extensively. Each class has a separate section including a list of "missing" classmates. Additional features are sections for each graduating class and hyperlinks to web pages featuring BK grads. There are links to famous alumni like actor William Petersen‚ '72, Pulitzer-Prize winning cartoonist Mike Luckovich‚ '78, and Jim Potter‚ '91, who is playing professional basketball in Belgium and to those less than famous.

Sherilyn Orr‚ Class of '87, masterminded development of the site through her company Infofuel Productions in Boise.

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