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The Harrison High School All Class Reunion committee recently hosted the first ever All Class Reunion and it was an incredible success! Classmates from the 1950s up through the class of 2008 came to this year's event and they came from all over the United States including an alumnus who came from Guam and another from Germany.
This was the first All Class Reunion that the school has ever had and it turned out to be a great opportunity to celebrate the District's history and to promote positive school spirit in our community. The number of those in attendance at this reunion exceeded 900, which topped the original goal that had been set at 600. Immediately upon the doors opening, alumni quickly began greeting and meeting one another and catching up on old times. It wasn't long before the room was filled with chatter and laughter. It was an amazing event. Solo artist Mr. Mo, Comedian Ted Gipson and local band Coyote, provided entertainment for the event.
The reunion was a lot of fun, but the adventure of creating this event was equally as enjoyable. I became involved in the early stages of planning and I've learned a few things about the value of a reunion and the dynamics that go along with it. We decided early on in the decision-making process that we wanted a reunion that included several decades and we did not want cost to be a factor, so we did everything possible to keep the prices low. We decided to begin by including the first accredited graduating class and invite everyone that has ever attended the school up to the year 2008.
Beginning with only a limited number of e-mails and alumni contacts, our numbers quickly grew. We got the word out by and attending school functions, getting to know our alumni and encouraging everyone to help us spread the word.
We created a Web site to host reunion information and alumni events. As alumni began logging onto our site, they quickly responded by sharing their high school stories with us. As we began reading these e-mails, we realized we had something.
Prior to the reunion, some might have thought that the farther away from high school we get, the dimmer our memories often become. In assisting with the planning of this reunion we discovered that is not the case. In fact, within minutes of these classmates greeting one another, the memories came rushing back and the stories started being shared.
With the site up and running and the stories being shared, we learned early on that those who graduated from the late 50's and those more recent graduates all actually had a lot more in common then they could have ever realized. It became an explosion of new friendships and excitement. Talking with the earlier graduates we learned of some of our school's history and discovered that teenagers, no matter the decade, are an awful lot a like.
The alumni turnout was astonishing and the classmates were very gracious and flexible as we had to make some adjustments to the agenda to accommodate the overflow of guests. It turned out to be an amazing bonding experience and event that will be remembered for years to come. The All Class Reunion Committee plans on keeping up the Web site to encourage the communication and we've established an All Class Reunion Scholarship fund for future alumni.
We all had a great time over this past year in planning this event and I think that had to do with our motto that was established from the beginning, "lets keep it fun." We plan to host one of these all-year reunions every four to five years and to include and invite the newest graduation classes onto our reunion Web site every year.