The prospect of planning the Holmes Junior High School (Flint, Michigan, 1963-2003) reunion was a challenge I was up for. I contacted possible committee members to help and chose Cherished Memories as a theme since most of our best times were there. I wanted to stray from a traditional black tie affair and do something different, yet fun.
We decided to have a luau, and visited several locations to find Bubba’s Roadside Inn with a tropical atmosphere perfect for a luau dinner. Then I learned about a luau cocktail cruise from 10:30 PM to midnight aboard the Genesee Belle Riverboat. Perfect after a luau dinner, a luau cocktail cruise. We wanted to include children of alumni in weekend activities and also planned a family skate – more fun than a traditional picnic.
For a laugh I bought a Holmes gym uniform we used to wear; I also visited the library for old yearbooks, but discovered they don’t have junior high yearbooks. I went to Flint Community Schools Administration to obtain a history, mementos and yearbooks, and Craig Carter let me copy all the available history.
By the end of January calls were coming in from people who went to Holmes over 20, 30, 40 years ago! I was especially humbled by conversations with older alumni who attended Holmes in the 1960s during segregation. Sharon (Rice) Jurdon recalled the dismal day Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated. She said, “They let students go home and it was very sad.” Martin Gall said, “Some of my best times were at Holmes; I still have my school pledge card from 1963.”
For publicity, I contacted newspapers and cable stations, used word of mouth and welcomed help from the committee, family and friends. I registered at classmates.com and sent time is running out post cards. I contacted WDZZ 92.7FM and Jerald “Action” Jackson invited me to talk about reunion events on the air. I also used the old-fashioned approach and called everyone interested. Response was better than expected.
I purchased everything from leis and parasol umbrellas for beverages to Hawaiian music to set the luau mood. If people couldn’t get to Hawaii anytime soon I wanted them to feel like they had just been there. I was very excited about the reunion and seeing old faces and reminiscing about old times.
Two weeks before the reunion I ordered t-shirts and confirmed reservations.
Four days before the reunion I picked up t-shirts and assembled registration packets with t-shirts, health information, pens, coupons and Genesee County calendar of events.
As each person arrived, they were greeted with a lei and an Aloha. We ate, laughed and took many pictures. One of the best moments was seeing our former principal, Mr. Miller, and my favorite teacher Ms. White.
As I anticipated, kids had more fun skating and laughing at some parents who hadn’t been skating in years.
We celebrated a weekend full of fun to cherish for years. With a little imagination, creativity and commitment this was a class reunion that is sure to be talked about.
About the author
Francia Malone owns Francia’s Home Care Service in Flint, Michigan. She says the Holmes Junior High Reunion has been her heart’s desire for many years. In an autobiography, she reminisced about junior high experiences, life-long friends and the transition from girlhood to adolescence, and wanted to plan the reunion. She’s also very involved in the Malone Family Reunion.