The fever of graduation parties is in full tilt and, as grads look forward to college, I wonder how many will ever see their classmates again.
This year is a high school reunion year for me and my class has been meeting every five years, with the exception of five years ago. The last reunion was not well-attended — out of more than 300 classmates, the most we’ve ever had at a reunion was 60.
I read years ago the national average of those who attend high school reunions was about 25 percent — that still holds true today, according to ReunionAnnouncements.com. The site states 20 to 30 percent of the class attend a reunion, with the latter being considered a highly successful event. Unfortunately, my class has never attained those numbers — we average less than 20 percent.
Where are the other 80 percent? Obviously, not everyone is interested in attending a high school reunion, but why?
According to an article on usatoday.com, Facebook is a big reason. Keeping up with classmates through Facebook is a much cheaper alternative to making the effort and spending the money to go to a reunion.
I don’t agree with that. My class has a closed group Facebook page where only 1/3 of my high school chums are members. Thirty of the 315 members of my graduating class from Wyoming Area are deceased.
That may sound like a lot, but it’s actually two classmates less than the national average for my graduation year, according to an article from insure.com.
On the other hand, an article from the Naperville Sun states Facebook has improved chances for larger attended reunions.
I have mixed feelings about that, as well. It’s like the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” Out of the 110 classmates who are members of our class Facebook page, only 40 said they would go to the reunion and, of those, several have not yet submitted a check.
You can always rule out those who won’t attend because of weddings, job changes, births or their favorite college football team is playing that day. All of those are reasons why fellow classmates won’t attend.
Reunions only come around every five years. If you’re lucky enough to have classmates who care enough to put in the time to organize one, why not just go?
There’s always a question of when and where to hold a reunion. As a child, I’d watch my dad gather up his notes and organize his class reunion. He got excited every five years and, as soon as one ended, he started talking about the next one.
ReunionAnnouncements.com states the best time for a reunion is in July. My dad’s reunions were either over Labor Day or Thanksgiving weekend. Those times make sense since both are extended weekend holidays.
The Pittston St. John’s Class of 1973 is different. Their class size was small to begin with, but classmates have gotten together once a month since their last reunion. One classmate told me they had so much fun planning the last one, they decided not to wait for the next and have been meeting monthly ever since at the Red Mill in Pittston.
Another trend I’ve noticed over the years: A lot of classmates are leaving their partners behind and attending alone. This may help when a spouse, partner or date didn’t graduate with the class. Many don’t like to be left at a table while their significant other is enjoying a blast from the past. ReunionAnnouncements.com states, on average, 80 to 90 percent bring a guest.
So, Class of 2016, I hope you took a good look at your classmates at graduation. As close as you may think you were as a class, it may have been the last time you’ll ever see some of them.
As for my own classmates: Laura Antonik, Carl Luchetti, Amanda Pieszala, Amy Taylor, Lisa Zawadski – where are you?
Quote of the week
“You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.” – Teilhard de Chardin, French geologist.
Thought of the week
“The worst sorrows in life are not in its losses and misfortunes, but its fears.” – Arthur Christopher Benson, English writer.
“In love there are two things – bodies and words.” – Joyce Carol Oates, American author.
Tony Callaio’s column My Corner, Your Corner runs weekly in the Sunday Dispatch. He can be reached at [email protected]