They didn’t want us to have a high school reunion, so we had a high school reunion.
10 years ago, I graduated from one of the dopest schools in the world: Charleston County School of the Arts (SOA). Despite the insane amount of creativity that lingered in those halls, and how unbelievably close the students appeared to be, our high school reunion game isn’t one to brag about. SOA was founded in 1995, so we’re still new to this reunion stuff. I guess… I made it my mission to change that.
The goal wasn’t to have an event worthy of a reality TV special, but to host something the SOA Class of 2006 (OHH-SIX ) could be proud of! Believe it or not, I began my high school reunion brainstorming 2 years ago. I created a private Facebook group to get my classmates together, and to announce that a reunion would definitely happen. The actual planning started about a year ago, and despite a few bumps, it was an AMAZING weekend.
Regardless if it’s 10 years or 50 years, every reunion should be one to remember. Here are 7 tips to help you plan a high school reunion.
- Stay in touch. Facebook can help and harm your reunion planning. Social media makes it easy to invite and connect with everyone, but it also makes some people feel like a reunion isn’t a big deal. The classmates who actually showed up to my reunion are the ones I haven’t seen since graduation, or at least in the last few years. Take the time to personally reach out to people, including those who weren’t in your squad 10 years ago.
- Don’t take the uninterested personally. High school was great at the time, but a lot of drama can unfold in 10 years. Statistics show about 20%-30% of classmates will attend their high school reunion. Some people really hated school, some eventually hated all their high school friends and some still have reputations they’re still trying to fix. On a lighter note, some people live too far away, or will have other events and expenses around the time of your reunion.
- Keep it real. Conduct a survey or have an interest meeting to learn how many to expect, and which activities your classmates want to do. Examples: If 40 people say they will attend, there’s no need to search for a venue or caterer to accommodate 100+ guests. If most of your classmates have kids, it might be nice to include a family friendly event.
- Be positive. No one wants to turn up with Debbie Downer. Keep your classmates up to date and in good spirits when discussing your reunion. I’m convinced some people only showed up to not hurt my feelings. #AndThatsFine
- Utilize your talents and resources to help cut costs. Is your former classmate a party planner? Do you have a t-shirt printing connect? Hit ’em up! Example: Facebook events and e-vites can be used to dodge postage and printing fees.
- Keep the planning committee small. At the beginning, everyone will agree to help. Life happens, so that number will shrink. However, that can work in your favor…especially for a small class. Don’t ignore your former classmates’ suggestions and concerns, but don’t stress out trying to please everyone.
- Collect dues. This is major. Money has to be spent no matter how big or small the event. Ask your classmates to pay non-refundable dues to help cover some reunion costs. Note: this is a great job for someone with accounting and/or money handling experience.
Things you might need
Souvenirs: A little something, something for your classmates to hold on to the good times until the next reunion.
Class gift: A little something, something for your alma mater to remember you. (We created a scholarship in memory of our classmate who passed a few months before the reunion.)
Patience: A little something, something to help you push through the event planning process.
Did you go to your 10-year high school reunion? What do (or don’t) you remember the most?