Steps to Setting Up a Class Reunion
A. Contact classmates in the local area to see if they are interested in being part of a reunion committee.
- Select people who will go the extra mile to ensure the reunion is a success. One member of the committee might be interested in being the ‘host’ and meetings could be held in his or her home.
- Classmates who live in other parts of the state or country could attend the meetings by way of Facetime, or telephone conferences.
- Once the committee is formed and the first meeting takes place, the committee host should ask for volunteers to head committees such as meeting agendas and the financial sector of the reunion.
B. The reunion committee should be initiated at least 2 years before the actual reunion so that there is adequate time to find and contact classmates.
- Meetings could take place every 2 months and held every month as reunion plans progress.
- The closer you get to the reunion the more the meetings.
- A good place to start is the yearbook and set up a spreadsheet with every member of the graduating class.
- There may be some folks who have also spent several years at Lourdes but did not graduate with your class and might be interested in attending.
C. Naturally, it will take more time to find classmates after 20, 30, 40, and especially 50 years. In the case where classes have held previous reunions, use the old lists to help find people.
- Many people have been married, remarried, moved many times, or unfortunately have passed away. There will be some classmates that are not the least bit interested in attending. You can find classmates by networking…some classmates have kept in touch with each other.
- Computer searches on White Pages is another great tool to use. As classmates are found, a spreadsheet should be compiled with name, maiden name, present last name, phone number, and address, email address, and interest.
- Also, Our Lady of Lourdes School should be contacted for help in using their directory of alumni. You can contact Jeannie Wells, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at OLL at 845-463-0400, ext. 1009.
- The committee should assign several members to contact each classmate by phone to verify that you have the correct person and to see if they are interested in attending. Most will welcome a phone call.
D. After classmates are found, a discussion must follow as to what events need to be planned for the day or weekend of the event and workgroups formed. Things to think about include:
- Where the event should be held e.g. hotel, event hall, small restaurant, club
- Other events that might be fun for a weekend reunion. Most event locations need to be booked about a year ahead and folks from out of town need to plan for this ahead of time.
- The committee will need to make decisions on how much to charge to cover expenses on various items…..e.g. invitations (stamps), events, music, dinners for invited guests such as teachers or school faculty, etc.
- Committee members can contribute a small fee to cover the cost of the stamps and mailings and whatever else is required before the actual reunion and work this cost into the reunion fee.
E. Once the event is booked and plans are made a Save the Date should be mailed to Classmates….a good time is about a year before the event….see attached example.
- A good way to save money is to print addresses and Save the Date cards on a home computer.
- If the committee has a great technical person….a newsletter could be sent by email to classmates updating them on progress for a reunion every now and then to keep the interest going.
F. Plan your class reunion on a weekend, specifically on a Friday or Saturday, and do it in late summer or early fall.
- Reunion invitations should be sent out well ahead of the reunion e.g. if the reunion will take place in August the invites could be mailed in March with a response date of the end of May. This will give the committee the funds to use for reunion expenses, for example down payment for restaurant or DJ. There are also last-minute people who may need a phone call or email to remind them that their response is needed.
G. The finance committee member or members should open a business checking account to deposit the monies as they come in and can withdraw funds as necessary.
- There should be checks and balances set up for this so that not just one person is responsible. For instance, one person could have the reunion payments sent to them, and two or more people could be on the checking account in the event that someone cannot continue to do the deposits, etc. due to illness or family responsibilities.
Some Extra Ideas
- Plan activities that can have an impact on your reunion. It might be a good idea to plan a few speeches and/or do a tribute to classmates that have passed away over the years but allocate most of the reunion to free socializing. Another great attraction is a slideshow of high school photos and memories in one corner of the room. If you want dancing at your reunion, play music that is relative to your generation.
- Consider things that might make the reunion attractive to classmates so that they will want to attend. For example, when invitations go out include a student update form so that classmates can include a bibliography as well as any contact info that they might want to share. This information could be given out in the form of a DVD or booklet to those who attend the reunion. A technical person on the committee would be able to head this up. A novel badge to wear at the reunion main event is also a good idea and it is even better if it includes a high school picture.
- Speakers at the event to highlight high school memories are important. Also, this might be a good time to honor someone e.g. an old faculty member or someone in the class that has worked particularly hard on the event to make it successful. Consider giving a gift to OLL when you make decisions on how much to charge to cover reunion expenses. An event held at OLL could be key to the success of the reunion weekend. A mass at school or a tour of the school, especially if your class did not attend the new school on Boardman Rd, would encourage the old school spirit. A weekend reunion event could even be planned so the timing coincides with an OLL ‘homecoming or sports event.
- On the day of the event make sure everyone is properly registered and this would be a good time to give out their ‘badge’ and/or souvenir such as their booklet. Spouses should have some kind of an id badge too.