Whether it’s the fifth or sixty-fifth anniversary of graduation, many elements of high school reunion planning are certain to be the same. Here’s our formula for success.
Do Your Homework
Put out a call for newly unearthed photos of school events, hangouts and landmarks. With these you can create photo collages and perhaps some life-sized cardboard cutouts of favorite teachers.
Also, send ‘round short questionnaires soliciting fun facts about the individuals in your class. Find out about unusual college degrees, professions, skills, travels and achievements by asking open-ended questions such as, “What is the most unusual job you’ve had?”
The photos and information will come in handy later, as you plan theme, decorations and activities.
Put deadlines on your requests and be ready to make follow up calls, emails or Facebook posts if needed.
Play with the Theme
Once you are looking over stacks of photographs and yearbooks, an entertaining theme may present itself. For example, if you get lots of pictures taken at Fisher Lake and you realize it was a universally popular high school hangout, consider a “Return to Fisher Lake” beach party theme.
A decade retro party of the 50s, 60s, 70s or 80s is, of course, always OK. If you have done this before, know that it is perfectly fine to reuse your decade, but do check out the latest theme party supplies to see about freshening up the décor a bit.
Sometimes we like to delve a bit further so we can expand the pool of theme possibilities. One way to do this is to look up the top 100 songs for the year you graduated and tie one of them to a theme. For example, 1967 had “White Rabbit” (if your class is adventurous, note that Alice in Wonderland decorations are gorgeous) and the lucky ducks from 1987 had “Walk Like an Egyptian!”
Themes can also be based on events that happened to the entire senior class, such as winning a state championship.
Plan Group Activities
Just because you have school days in common does not mean everything will naturally fall into place socially. For any number of reasons it may be advisable to have structured group activities to help things along.
If you just have one activity, make it an icebreaker right at the beginning of the reunion party. Take the most unusual fun facts from your earlier information gathering and list them on sheets of paper. Ask reunion guests to figure out who did what. Include a signature line next to each fact so the participants are actually mingling and collecting facts and signatures “from the horse’s mouth” and not just the grapevine. Reunion party favors can reward guests who are able to match all the facts to the classmates they belong to.
During dinner, one or more class officers will address the group and this is another opportunity for a fun activity. Here, we recommend awards. Certainly there should be at least one award, for the classmate who traveled the farthest to attend the reunion!
After dinner might be a good time to gear activities to the musical entertainment. If you are using a DJ, select period music for a “name that tune” or dance contest, or find a song attached to dance moves that a big group can do (for example, a late 1970s graduating class doing “The Hustle.”)
Unlike your ice breaker, keep after-dinner activities short and afterward ensure that the music isn’t so loud that it overpowers conversation, since many will prefer lots of chat.