Sunday, 23 July 2017

How To Hold A School Reunion

There were five of us sitting in the pizzeria just down the road from the pub where the wake was still under way. The funeral had been held at the crematorium in the northern suburbs of Sydney. "We" are a group of school mates and it was now 29 years since we'd left that esteemed establishment. The discussion moved through shock at our friends death, scandal at the unknown cause and the strange manner of his finding and laughter at our reminiscences. Then someone happened to mention that next year would mark the 30th anniversary of our leaving the institution that had taken us in as precocious pre-teens and spat us out six years later as world-wise budding adults.

We should have a reunion, one of us suggested.

So that's how it started.

Our school was complicated. When we started there, we were the Girls' school and next door was the Boys' school. Five years later, upon completion of another brand spanking new high school a few suburbs away, our two schools split with half our numbers disappearing off and the remainder reforming to form a new co-ed school. This was sensational for all of us 17 year-olds going in to our final year and having been segregated from the opposite sex for the past five years! I know my result in my final exams was a disaster. I can't speak for anyone else...

What this meant was that we were not just having a conventional Class of '76 reunion. We needed to include the other school. Those guys had been our mates for so long and they should be a part of this as well. We also decided to included those who had been with us up until Year 10 and left after completing their School Certificate Exams.

This was going to be a huge undertaking. We'd firstly need to try and track down as many people as we could think of, the boys of course would be easier than the girls. But first we had to identify who was in our year. This would mean tracking down old class lists. How were we going to find people and spread the word?

We then had to think about a venue, music, food, activities, speeches, announcements, prizes?, photos. Pulling it all together and making it work. Making it worthwhile for people to spend money to get there. Some people live inter-state now. Others live overseas. How could we organise an event when we didn't know how many people were going to be there? What sort of venue should it be?

We each took on a role and set about our tasks. We met monthly, at a pub, to compare notes on where we were up to. We mailed and emailed, compiled lists, door-knocked businesses for vouchers and gifts to be given as prizes, we had t-shirts produced. We called on the collective expertise that we knew lay amongst our numbers. We produced newsletters, name tags, tickets and online message boards.

And when it was all over, everyone agreed it had been a huge success. Who's going to take on the 40th? I don't know but I'm happy to hand over the reins. And all the knowledge I've gained.

For a step-by-step guide to Planning A School Reunion see this article.

If you need help locating people for your reunion give PalSeeker a go.

And if you want the best deals on travel arrangements you can't go past ZUJI

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