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August 23, 2013

NASH: Class reunions 101

— Last week I wrote about my pending 25-year high school class reunion. I had been nervous about the event and had been on the fence about whether or not I would be attending. I decided about a week ahead of it that I would go and I am very glad I did.  Instead of boring readers about things I saw and did I thought I would give a little advice on what I think worked well and things that can make the evening more enjoyable.

The first piece of advice is easily the most important: Go. None of the rest of the advice even works if you don’t go. I understand the lives are busy and things come up but these things are planned well in advance and you should do what you can to fit it in to your schedule. Most of these only happen every five years so you should make every attempt to go.  

There has been one constant in the comments from the people that didn’t make it to the reunion as they view the pictures from that night. They say they wish they could have been there and say they will not miss the next one. I now regret having missed prior reunions, a mistake I will not make again, particularly as we get more years away from graduation.

The second most important piece of advice I can give is wear your name tag. I know this seems a little bit awkward and maybe a little juvenile, but it is important. Some people I recognized quickly as people I graduated high school with while others I was not sure.  Name tags help to trigger your memory and make approaching people a little less dubious. Don’t assume that people will remember you especially if it has been a number of years since they have seen you.

For the ladies a name tag may not fit into their fashion plans. They look weird attached to a nice dress and their positioning may be anatomically problematic. Plan ahead so that your name can be easily read. You must also include your maiden name. We know that you are proud of your husband and maybe have had his name for a number of years, but we knew you as someone else in high school, and that’s how we will remember you.

The next piece of advice I can give is say hello to everybody when you get a chance. If you have a very large class and a lot of people attend, there is a chance that you will not run into them again. You may see them standing in line getting into the venue or you may run into them on your way to the bathroom. Just remember the night goes by quickly and there are many people you want to see, when you get the opportunity to talk to someone, take it.

There were two types of people at my reunion, those who picked a spot and let people come to them and those who spent the whole night mingling. Both strategies have their advantages and I couldn’t tell if one plan worked better than the other in getting to meet the most people efficiently.

The next piece of advice I wish someone would have told me in advance. I was too caught up in the moment and I didn’t take any pictures. Now I see pictures posted on the Internet and I regret not taking any myself.  

These days everyone has a camera as part of their phone and it easily fits into your pocket. It doesn’t cost anything to get developed and you can share them easier than ever. It was great to see the pictures that others posted.  

The last piece of advice I can give to anyone that wants to make the most of their class reunion is stay connected. It is important that your classmates can find you when it is time to plan the next gathering. The more efficiently they can do that the easier that will be.

There were more than 400 people in my class when we graduated and I think the official count of those that attended this reunion was 177. This was a pretty good showing from our class, but it could have been better. There were still quite a few people that nobody knew their whereabouts and we can’t be sure if they even knew about the reunion.  

A lot of time and energy goes in to planning an event of this size. The night seemed to go by flawlessly. If there were problems that did occur during the night, I don’t think anyone even noticed.  

I cannot begin to thank the people individually who worked on my class reunion committee. To anyone that had anything to do with New Albany High School’s class of 1988 25th reunion, your hard work and dedication to making this event come to fruition is much appreciated and I thank you very much.

— Matthew Nash can be reached at dmatthewnash@gmail.com



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