Planning a unique reunion
by Pam Walker
In May 2019, the 45th anniversary of the Class of 1974’s high school graduation was fast approaching. We planned “Reunion by the River” to celebrate. We reserved the pavilion at Heritage Park and organized a potluck picnic. One of our classmates donated a banner to decorate the pavilion. Pictured underneath “Welcome Gladiators!” was our school mascot, the gladiator, wearing his helmet, saber in his hand.
The more the merrier
We knew with more people attending the reunion, there would be more money to fund everything. So we invited the classes from 1971 through 1977 to join us. The only reunion expense was a $125 pavilion rental fee. We did not cater the picnic. Attendees brought everything; chairs, paper goods, coolers, ice, grills, drinks and food. That kept the cost down and there was plenty. Sixty people attended “Reunion By the River” and all seven classes were represented. Everyone had a great time!
The ‘70s decade reunion picnic
Because “Reunion On the River” was such a success, we decided the next reunion should be a ‘70s decade reunion: 1970 through 1979 classes would be invited.
The reunion planning committee was comprised of two class captains from each class. Not surprisingly, the class captains were the “movers and shakers” of each class. They all know how to get things done.
A significant venue
East Rome Junior High School, where we all went to school, is a historic building which now houses a college with an event facility in the old gymnasium. The committee unanimously agreed the junior high would be perfect for this reunion and so we booked it.
The word got out
We started a reunion Facebook group. Word got around about the ‘70s Decade Reunion and excitement was high. When the class of 1980 heard about the plans, they wanted to come. We agreed.
Financing the reunion
To get started we asked classmates to donate $10. Although we are aware of Paypal, and similar ways to collect donations, we asked everybody to write a check and mail it to the treasurer. Checks came pouring in. Within a month, we had enough money to reserve and pay for the venue, the disc jockey, the bartender, and the picnic pavilion rental.
Tickets for the reunion
To keep costs down, we decided not to cater the reunion. We would have heavy appetizers and asked everyone to eat dinner, Saturday evening before the reunion. Tickets to the reunion were $40 per person. The money paid for food and beverages, as everything else was completely covered.
Covid-19 ruined our plans
Our long awaited ‘70’s Decade Reunion was planned for May 2, 2020. However, due to COVID-19, it was postponed until May1, 2021. Although understandably disappointed, everybody was supportive of the decision. The class captains sent a flyer, with the new dates and all the information about the weekend activities, to their classmates. The Facebook page was updated accordingly.
Final reunion plans
Weekend plans for the ‘70s Decade Reunion include a Friday night picnic, and a Saturday morning memorial service. The memorial service will be conducted by a minister, who is a 1972 graduate, at his historic church.
The ‘70s Decade Reunion is scheduled for Saturday, May 1, 2021, from 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM at the junior high we attended. Dress is casual, and there will be a DJ, a photographer, an open bar (beer and wine only) and appetizers.
Our 92-year-old Jr High School math teacher
Miss Frances Raines, 92, was our junior high school math teacher. She lives in her own home and still drives her beloved VW. She absolutely cannot wait to see everybody. I went to visit her one afternoon and took a selfie of us and posted the picture on the Facebook event page. Over 100 people clicked like and it helped create enthusiasm for the reunion.
Well worth waitin’ for
Excitement for the reunion remains high. We are in Georgia and people are coming to our reunion from Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, California, and Wyoming. The committee, as well as all our classmates, adamantly believe East Rome High School’s ‘70s Decade Reunion will be well worth waiting for.
Reported by Pam T Walker, Kingston, Georgia.