Thanks to COVID-19, many class reunions from all over the country have been canceled or delayed. But just because you can’t meet up in person, doesn’t mean you should forget all about reconnecting with your old classmates.
In fact, hosting a virtual class reunion might actually be even better than attending one face-to-face.
For starters, a lot of people are no longer living in the town they grew up in. After high school ends, many people leave for college, and after that, they might travel all around the country — and some may even be living in another country.
Because large gatherings are a bad idea during this global pandemic, it might be worth investigating hosting a class reunion via video conference. Apps like FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom make online video conferencing easy and fun. You can host a virtual online class reunion from the comfort of your own home, and invite those who may have lived too far away to attend one in person.
Here are some top tips for finding former classmates and hosting your class reunion online.
Number One: Finding Old Friends And Classmates
First, you’ll need to collect the contact information for all of your old classmates. If you still have your old yearbook, this is a great place to start. If you don’t have an old yearbook, you can actually purchase old yearbooks online to find a list of your former friends. If you don’t have access to this, try searching Facebook pages and groups to see if your former school has a networking page for alumni. You might discover some familiar faces!
With a virtual reunion that you’re hosting yourself, you don’t have to worry about inviting every single person from your graduating class. Instead, you could make your reunion smaller and more intimate. Just make a list of all the friends and classmates that you remember, and start looking them up online.
Facebook is a great resource for finding old friends, but sometimes an old friend may have changed their name when they got married. Using a website like Instant Checkmate can help you search for a friend by using public records. This can help you find someone, even if they’ve gotten married and changed their name.
Number Two: Choose A Platform
Now that you have the contact information for everyone you’d like to invite to your online class reunion, decide how you’d like to host it. If you have a small group of friends, a Skype or FaceTime call might be your best option. If everyone is on Facebook, try Facebook Messenger Rooms. Facebook Messenger Rooms can host up to 50 people at a time on a video conference. You can also use Zoom, but the free version only allows for 40 minutes if more than two people are on the video call.
Number Three: Send Out The Invitations
Just because we’re socially distancing in a pandemic, doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun when planning a class reunion. Consider adding some fun details, like making it a fancy dress party themed to the year you graduated. Will you have your own award ceremony? Think about these details before you send out invitations, so everyone has enough time to plan accordingly. Once you’ve decided on the theme and any activities, send out the invitation. Make sure you include:
- The date, time, and local time if some people live in different time zones
- An invite code to the platform you’ll be using
- Any information about wearing fancy dress or activities
Just because you’re sending out online invitations, doesn’t mean you have to be boring. You can easily create a fun class reunion invite on a free photo editing website. It might be worth going through your sentimental boxes of high school memorabilia to see if it jogs any memories or inspiration. Can you incorporate your high school mascots, sports teams, or colors into the invites?
Number Four: Create A Directory Of Attendees
When you confirm your guests, have them answer a questionnaire about their lives now. Some sample questions might include:
College Or University Attended And Field Of Study
Married, In A Relationship, Or Single?
Type 3 sentences that sum up your life.
Tell me about life since college.
Any idea what comes next for you?
Social Media Profiles
A Current Photograph
Would you like to share your email address with the class?
When you have everyone’s details, you could make a 2020 yearbook in Word or in a PDF that you can share with other attendees so everyone can learn about what each other is doing.
Number Five: Plan Some Ice Breakers
Attending an in-person high school reunion can be daunting for some, and attending a virtual high school reunion is no different. It might even be more awkward at first because you can’t walk around and mingle with old friends, so plan some structured icebreaker activities so everyone feels more comfortable.
For instance, start off the reunion by everyone saying their name, favorite teacher, and favorite song from the year they graduated. It might be fun to add other questions in there, like their funniest high school memory, or what they wore to prom.
You could also ask your attendees to send you a photograph of them in high school. Creating a Facebook event page is a great way to communicate with everyone, and share nostalgic content before your event.
Themes are always an easy way to break the ice. If you graduated in the 90s, research some of the popular songs and tv shows of your graduating class, and share them on the Facebook page. Asking people to share a story about their most embarrassing 90s outfit or hairstyle is another fun way to break the ice before your class reunion — especially if others post funny photographs that can take you all on a trip down memory lane.
Number Six: Have Fun
Once the big day of your high school reunion arrives, just settle down with a beverage and your laptop and try to have fun. Sharing treasured memories is a great way to bond with old friends, and you may even reignite the spark of old friendships. Staying in touch with old friends is one of the best results of a high school reunion.
Likewise, if you had a mortal enemy in high school, someone who bullied you, or even an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend you still think about, a high school reunion is a good place to squash old drama and put the past behind you.