Miscellaneous class reunion tips, ideas and advice

Six classes plan reunion

Are you a Southeast High School (Bradenton, Florida) alum from classes of 1975 through 1980? What started as the Class of 1978’s 30th reunion evolved into a much bigger bash. When they started planning, someone from one class talked to another, and then another, and they said they would like to be included. They thought it would be fun to include classes from preceding and subsequent years because they had all been friends. The committee had at least one person from each class represented. Southeast alums from 1975 through 1980 can contact [email protected].

From a story by Vin Mannix in the Bradenton Herald, Bradenton, Florida.

The Contact Contest

The Cornell University Class of 1998 committee came up with this very clever way to find classmates. It is a contest, which we expect to be copied! This was their message.

Want to come to Reunion “on the house?” We are looking for the classmate who can provide current contact information for the greatest number of our classmates. The winner will receive complimentary reunion registration for one (meals, registration fee, University fee, etc., not including accommodations).

Participating classmates were to gather as many contacts as they could and send the information via email (to include as much up-to-date information as possible: name, undergraduate major, married name, email, phone address, employer, etc.). A deadline date and email address to which the list should be sent were included.

In support of decade reunions

Decade reunions are pretty cool. That way, brothers and sisters can all come home at the same time. We get to see the siblings of our friends or kids who were older than us. We may have had older kids as mentors or find out that we had been admired by younger kids. These decade reunions are even better for the older crowds with numbers diminishing due to age.

We found this comment posted by plainjane on the Daily Advertiser (Lafayette, Louisiana) website.

Ideas for the program

Ask the disc jockey/master of ceremonies/band about ideas from other class reunions where they’ve provided music. One said she dismissed tables for the buffet by asking trivia questions unique to the school and class. For example, “Who got caught for t.p.’ing the school senior year?” “Who got booted out of McKowen’s English class and sent to the principal’s for writing notes too many times?” “What was our class prom song/theme?”

Have your DJ play songs from your era.

Have a caricature artist come and do portraits during your main evening event.

Plan a tour of your alma mater. It’s amazing what memories and stories come back and are shared!

For classmates too ill to attend, create giant “get well” cards that everyone at the reunion can sign. Try new awards that are more fun: First and Last to Register, Most Body Piercings/Tattoos, Person with the Oddest Experience, Humanitarian Awards (include all those involved in community service personally and professionally), Still Class Clown After All These Years. For those with a good sense of humor, find who has been married the most times and create an award—but avoid embarrassing surprises.

Invite feedback at the end of the reunion. Have feedback cards handed out or mailed (postage pre-paid, if you can). Feedback should always be taken with a grain of salt, but if the majority of people have suggestions on the same issue, it is worth taking note for the next reunion.

Very important: make sure you know time restrictions at your booked location, from the time you can access the location until the time your party must end.

Help is on the way

In an effort to offer our Bell Gardens High School Class of 1986 classmates an affordable price to attend the 20-Year Reunion, the Committee is soliciting advertisements for our evening program and door prizes from sponsors to offset the cost of entertainment, decorations, gifts, postage and printing.

We offer two options.

Option I – Door Prizes. This can be complimentary dinner passes, gift certificates, company products, etc.

Option II – Advertisements. This is an opportunity to obtain publicity for you and your company. The ads will be published in the program, and there will be a verbal appreciation acknowledgement the night of the event. In addition, if your company would like to use advertising space for a “coupon,” it would create just another avenue in which to gain new customers or keep the old ones coming back for more.

Reported by Melissa Gonzalez, Santa Fe Springs, California.

Andy’s tips

Andy Spurlock, Las Vegas, Nevada, is just starting to organize the 25th reunion of the Class of ’81 of Nevada Union High School (Grass Valley, CA). He sent these tips that work for him.

1. Start early and have perpetual communication. We have Yahoo! Groups, which has nearly all the advantages of a free website. We trade messages, maintain databases of students and teachers, lists, photos, chatrooms, etc. The only limitation we found so far is that only 30MB of photos can be stored. It is “reunion central” but doesn’t even come across that way – just a fun forum!

2. It’s never too late to start a “buddy” list. If you have a database or list of classmates, add three columns next to each name and ask each classmate the following: “Please give me three other classmate’s names who, no matter how many years pass, are most likely to know your whereabouts.” This incredibly simple technique is my best-kept secret. Rounding up classmates every five years now is easy because they are cross-linked on this list. Hardly anyone will ever disappear again!

Hint: if you have kids in high school, strongly encourage them to develop this kind of list before they graduate. It’s a great gift to give them.

The card’s in the mail … a very kind remembrance

Bill Williams reports that he took large computer generated get well cards to his 50th class reunion for classmates too ill to attend. Class members signed them and shared some thoughts. The classmates who received the cards wrote comments about how much they enjoyed hearing from everyone and the therapy it provided by looking up those at the reunion in the yearbook.

Class reunion notes

The combined reunion of the 1969 graduating classes of Oelwein (Iowa) Community High School and Sacred Heart High School will be the end of July in Oelwein, Iowa. Organizers have been using the Web and e-mail to good effect: finding “lost” classmates, generating enthusiasm, getting feedback and test-driving what they want to put in print and pay to mail to classmates.

One of the things “the 69ers” did in their newsletter was to ask ‘mates to donate door prizes. The reunion committee solicited coupons from local restaurants and other businesses to include in the reunion packet. “We’ll get them to town; whatever you put in our packet will get them into your business place.” They also invited musically inclined class members to bring instruments and have a jam session, at the reunion site while the decorating committee does their thing, then, give a brief “all-star” performance at the reunion.

The organizers are developing a file to pass along to the next committee including lists of places to get information, what was done in the past, how much it costs and a few notes about why they made certain decisions.

One of the ongoing challenges with this class has been a reluctance to have the reunion at a nice restaurant “because the per-person price always sounds high.” The committee voted (again) to have it at the Knights of Columbus hall, have food catered and do their own decorating. They want to give the next committee some bottom-line data on all the considerations because some believe a restaurant will cost about the same but require much less committee coordination and effort.

Reported by Mary Thiele Fobian and Colleen Roling Brownworth who feel:

“We’re almost 50 years old; it’s time for us to have a meal in a restaurant!”