It feels like in today’s internet and social media age, that high school reunions are a bit outdated. After all I am Facebook friends with everyone I associated with in high school. I am even friends with people I don’t remember. I guess I accepted them or requested their digital friendship simply because we graduated the same year and had 100 mutual friends.
Because of these connections and my almost daily use of Facebook I have had the ability to see what my high school comrades are doing lately. I see pictures of their kids, spouses and them. Did they get fat, more or less attractive, how successful are they now? These are all questions that can be answered through Facebook. Or can they? More on this later…
There are not many people from my graduating class that I have actually spent time with since High School. My buddy Reed Clarke on the left being one of the few exceptions. We actually founded a company together, (TFN) so we have spent a lot time together in both a business and friendship capacity.
There are a few others that I’ve seen semi-regularly since high school, including my buddy Kyle Kerby and Suzana Diaz who was actually the one who organized the entire reunion.
Earlier in 2012 when the 10 year became more of a reality, Suzana reached out to me in order to help find a venue that would accommodate a diverse crowd. By diverse I mean that a large number of the people in my class, for religious reasons do not drink alcohol. This ruled out having the reunion at a bar or nightclub as is commonly done nowadays. The traditional route would have been a hotel ballroom, but this seemed a little cheesy. Because of these factors, we opted for the Rockin R Ranch, an old style cowboy dude ranch, setup for hosting parties, events and weddings.
The result was a pretty cool ambiance. I’ll won’t take much credit for it because I did nothing more than suggest the venue and provide the owner’s contact information. Still, it felt kinda cool knowing that a portion of the event’s success was due in part to the brainstorming between Suzana and I on where to have it.
So back to the question at hand, can Facebook give you all you need to know about your classmates. Well yes and no. Or in the words of Six Sigma experts…it depends.
For old time party buddies like Kelsey Spellacy and Cameron Tolman on the right, FB gives me all the updates I need. Although we don’t see each other as often as the college days, when we do, catching up is easy and fun. There was no awkwardness, just back into party mode. For other classmates it was a little weird.
This was especially the case when I didn’t remember them yet I was Facebook friends with them. It was like when you can’t remember someone’s name multiplied by one hundred. But don’t let me make it sound like I’m Mr. Popular, I think its more of a function of me being a selfish Facebook user. One tip I would submit, is that if you are getting ready to go to your reunion, study up on your FB friends. It will help you save some face and avoid looking conceited.
So in summary, if you are active on Facebook or other social media and interact with classmates on a regular basis, you might get all you need to know online.
Still there is just something more to the physical reunion. Getting together in person looking someone in the eye, shaking hands and hugging can not be replaced by anything digital. I found it very refreshing to do funny things like compare calves, take silly pictures and reminisce about humorous stories from high school.
Plus, it was a party after all, and I am a sucker for parties with friends.
The thing that really surprised me was the turnout for the reunion. In order to fund the event and make things easier on the reunion committee we sourced the coordination to a 3rd party who specializes in high school reunion coordination. This made the event a little more formal than a meet up at a bar and meant there was an entry price. Even though $30 is not a lot for most people, I knew that many classmates wouldn’t show up because of the ticket cost. Between of entry cost, classmates out of state and people we could not reach, I did not think that more than 50 classmates or so would show up.
There was however over 100 people in attendance. I should note that our graduating class was over 900 and there were a little over 400 in the Facebook group we established to let everyone know about it. It’s amazing that the reunion committee was able to reach nearly half the class, and of that half 25% showed up. I have to attribute a lot of the reach and attendence to Facebook and social media. Without the use of this technology it would have been extremely difficult and cumbersome to reach people.
Was It Worth It?
I’ll admit that I almost did not go. Upon moving to Northern California less than 60 days prior, getting back home was less than convenient. However after persuasion from my mom, who runs her reunion committee for Mesa High, and remembering the commitment I made to Suzana to go, I resolved to make the trip. Honestly I am glad I did because a 10 year reunion is a once in a lifetime experience.
If your 10 year high school reunion is coming up and you are debating on rather or not to go – I implore you to make the event. Look at it this way. It is unlikely that you will regret that you went, and much more probable that you will regret it if you don’t.