In planning a place to hold the reunion:   


A group of high school classmates gathered to discuss where they should meet for their 20th reunion. They quickly agreed to meet at the Flyway Restaurant because the waitresses there had low cut blouses and the waiters were svelte and handsome.

Ten years later, for their 30th reunion the classmates gathered and again they discussed where they should meet. They agreed that they should meet at the Flyway Restaurant because the food there and wine selection were very good. 

Ten years later, for their 40th reunion the group gathered and again they discussed where they should meet. After some quibbling they agreed that they should meet at the Flyway Restaurant because they could eat there in peace and quiet and the restaurant was smoke free. 

Ten years later, for their 50th reunion the group gathered and once again they discussed where they should meet. It was eventually agreed upon that they should meet at the Flyway Restaurant because the restaurant was wheel chair accessible and even had an elevator. 

Ten years later, for their 60th reunion the group gathered again. After talking about how their numbers had dwindled, they once again they discussed where they should meet. They agreed that they should meet at the Flyway Restaurant because none of them had ever been there before.



Social networking sites transform the high school reunion

By Eric Louie
Contra Costa Times

Posted: 11/30/2009 12:00:00 AM PST

Organizers of the 10-year reunion for Monte Vista High School's class of 1999 used today's most popular people-finder tools to carry on the high school tradition.

The result, said organizer Christine Wu, was that 62 percent of the roughly 500-member class was reached through Facebook or LinkedIn, two popular social networking sites classmates use to catch up with one another.

"It was easiest through Facebook," said Wu, a 29-year-old Manhattan resident from Danville. "If it wasn't through social networking, I definitely think it would have been challenging."

The popularity of the free social networking sites has been a boon to people hoping to reconnect, and those planning high school reunions are also putting the tools to good use -- finding alumni, spreading the word about events and just staying abreast of former classmates' lives.

Professional reunion planners agree the sites have changed the dynamics of the events, though they offer mixed reviews on how well they boost attendance. Some say the sites also have drawbacks.

Kevin Farrell, who put together a 25-year reunion recently for Pleasanton's Amador Valley High, said those who organized the larger and numerically more significant 20-year reunion told him half their mailings were returned because the addressee had moved.

But that was before Facebook, which he said linked 80 members of the 400-member graduating class to the site he created for the event. Through that and people found by extension, the site was responsible for up 90 percent of the classmates they reached.

About 60 people attended the class of 1984's event, held at a restaurant inside the historic Pleasanton Hotel.

"It was really the enabling technology for everyone to get together," said Farrell, 43, who now lives in the Reno area. "I wouldn't have had a plan B."

Farrell also posted the event at another side,www,, although he doesn't think that site drew many, since it charges a fee for many of its services.

Farrell, who develops custom software, was familiar with Facebook, but hadn't used it before.

Lisa Gurule, who recently organized Capuchino High's 30-year reunion, said about 100 of 260 alumni were reached through Facebook, which allowed them to catch up before the event.

"People are keeping more in touch," said Gurule, an Elk Grove resident who was part of the San Bruno school's class of 1979.

Bridget Pelley, a Danville resident who organized Fremont's American High's class of 1984 reunion, used a variety of methods.

Through Facebook, they found about 100 of their more than 300-member class, and also used newspaper and radio announcements to get the word out. She said though only about 50 attended, with many not able to afford the $100 ticket price because of the economy, the effort has led to a lot of connections. They are planning a more affordable, informal meeting this summer.

"Social networking has been great," said Pelley, who has also reconnected with friends from elementary, junior high and other graduating classes.

Those who plan reunions professionally were mixed in how events have been affected by social networking. Some said it is a tool they use, but also cautioned that reunion attendance could be diminished if classmates already feel connected through the sites.

"Until social networking sites came into existence, it was virtually impossible to locate classmates," said Larry Webb, Northern California regional manager of Great Reunions, a Garden Grove-based company that organizes reunions. He said schools these days are more reluctant to give out student lists and address information, which can be outdated, and even records his company uses, such as driver's license information, is becoming increasingly harder to acquire because of privacy concerns.

Webb also sees downsides. A decade ago, 10-, 20- and 50-year reunions used to be the most common. But Webb, who organizes about 50 reunions a year, said attendance for 10-year reunions is half what it was, making them hard to be financially sustainable.

"I didn't do a single one this year," Webb said. "This new generation is shying away from reunions because it's much easier to connect with (classmates)."

Sherri Lokken, executive director of the National Association of Reunion Managers, has also seen attendance drop in 10-year reunions, but said it could also be from the economy. She cautioned against relying on social networking sites for other reasons -- including that not everyone uses them -- and cited numerous benefits of using professional services. Professional organizers are responsible for cost overruns, and boost success rates from 75 to 95 percent in contacting alumni, she said. Joe Smith, owner of National Reunion Services in Brentwood, said Facebook is widely used now, but the popularity could diminish if something else comes along.

He said attendance at high school reunions has been dropping for the past five to 10 years -- before social networking took off -- so he believes other factors could be involved. Professional planners said attendance averaged between 20 to 30 percent of the class at events they planned.

Still, all agree Facebook and other social networking sites have changed the reunions. Many may use them to see what others are up to before the event -- and how they've changed -- which can ease nervousness.

Nancy Tang, who was part of Monte Vista High's 40-year reunion in October, said her group has been holding reunions regularly, so organizers already had good contact information. But using Facebook helped find about 10 percent more of their graduating class.

More importantly they have shared photos afterward, which has allowed those who couldn't make it to share the experience. Comments continue to pop up.

"It was a great tool," said Tang, of Danville. "It's fun to pop in and see what people are doing."




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High School Class Reunions for Dummies 


How to Look Good for Your Class Reunion
As a wise philosopher once said, you can only look as good as you feel. Focus on health, fitness and peace of mind to create a radiant impression at your reunion.
1. Get plenty of rest and exercise prior to the reunion. In addition to feeling less stressed, you will look more refreshed and vibrant.
2. Choose clothes that are youthful but age-appropriate. Wear your most flattering colors and styles.
3. Wait until a few days before the event to color hair, get a manicure or get a pedicure. Because of inevitable post-facial breakouts, have a facial approximately two weeks prior to the reunion.
4. Practice walking and talking with confidence. Take time to meditate and to imagine yourself as the perfected version of the person that you were in school. Confidence begets attractiveness in everyone.
5. Drink lots of water. Water not only hydrates the skin, but also keeps it looking plump and radiant.
6. Invite your husband, wife or significant other to join you at the reunion. A person in love always looks good!
Tip? Forget about trying to fit into that high school prom dress, or your favorite    college outfit. Concentrate on feeling comfortable and confident in an outfit that suits you now.
How to Overcome Your Class Reunion Anxieties
It's normal to experience the class reunion jitters. Don't let your insecurities force you to miss what could be the time of your life.
1. Take an afternoon or evening to jot down all of your positive school memories, look over photos of old friends and listen to music from your school years.
2. Make a mental list of all that you have accomplished and how you have grown through the years.
3. Get in touch with at least two former classmates. Reminiscing with old pals will help you to get in the reunion spirit.
4. Ask to help with the reunion planning. There's always room for one more planning committee member, and it will help awaken your enthusiasm for the event.
5. Arrive in your hometown one day early if you don't live there. Spend quality time visiting your favorite spots, driving around your old neighborhood and dwelling on nostalgia.
6. Look your best. Rather than crash dieting, stepping up your health and fitness program several months prior to the reunion will ensure that you look and feel your best.
Tips? Remember that everyone had the same insecurities and issues that you did in school. Approach the reunion as an opportunity for reconciliation, understanding and fun! Take a hot bath and a long stroll the day before the reunion to unwind and reevaluate your nervousness.
How to Attend Your Class Reunion
Class reunions are a fabulous way to reminisce with old friends and to gauge your own transformation through life. Make a point of attending and you won't be disappointed.
1. Keep in touch with the alumni center and/or reunion committee at your former school via regular address updates. Even if you do not receive update requests, make a point of sending one each time your contact information changes.
2. Start a reunion savings fund. Most likely, attending your reunion will require travel and accommodation expenses, in addition to fees for the reunion itself. Planning and saving ahead of time will make the cost as painless as possible.
3. Reserve time off from work well in advance to ensure that you are covered for any travel time. Although most reunions occur during the weekend, you may need an extra day for travel.
4. Ask the reunion committee about hotel room blocks. You may be able to take advantage of reunion discounts if you stay at the group hotel.
5. Make airline reservations well in advance to ensure the best possible rate.
Tip? Get yourself in the reunion spirit by browsing through old photo albums, school yearbooks and videos.
How to Remember Names at Your Class Reunion
After several years, you can easily go blank when faced with a roomful of former classmates. Relax, focus and use these memory techniques for guaranteed success.
1. Review your senior yearbook prior to the reunion to brush up on long-forgotten faces and names.
2. Use mnemonic devices to remember names. For instance, saying "Patty Devry has bright green eyes" will ensure that you remember Patty's name the next time you run into her.
3. Repeat each person's name right after being introduced. Saying someone's name out loud shows them that you are listening, and helps to solidify the name in your memory.
4. Make a point of introducing the new person to your significant other, or to another friend, immediately after initial contact.
5. Make a list of people as you meet them, with an identifying characteristic following the name. If necessary, refer to this list before you approach anyone that you have already met.
Tips? When being introduced, relax and listen carefully. Many people tense up and become distracted as they anticipate introducing themselves. Always be certain that you know a person's name before you address them. You'll not soon forget the embarrassment of calling a new acquaintance by the wrong name.



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