Thursday, September 10, 2009

Facebook Killed High School Reunions

I’m sure this is going to sound very Andy Rooney of me and all, but I can’t help but wondering if high school reunions are becoming a thing of the past. I don’t think it has anything to do with people being busier or classes being less close than they used to; I put 100% of the blame of this phenomenon on “The Facebook”. (Note: I don’t typically call it “The Facebook”, but I sure hear it referred to that it’s a living creature.)

Now let me first explain that I love me some Facebook. I have a profile full of tests like “Which Friend Are You” or “80’s Movie Trivia” and other important information of that nature; pictures of my family, random gifts, like a Michael Myers facemask (just what every girl needs, right) and a wall full of quippy comments from my 200-plus friends. It’s that last little “200-plus friends” part that I feel proves today’s blog title.

Of those 200-plus friends, a vast majority of them are friends from high school. These are people that I ran the halls with, marched in band with, ate with at lunch and joked with at pep rallies. They are people who I formed life-long bonds with and others who helped me build some of my most precious memories. See, I’m one of those people who absolutely dug high school! In fact, there is an urban legend out there that claims that at the conclusion of my first day of my freshman year, I marched into my Mother’s office (she was a principal on my campus), flung my backpack on her desk and said joyfully, “High school was made for me!”

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not sitting here urgently wishing to return to those days. The memories of those days are a very precious and cherished treasure of mine. I learned so much and grew as a person through four years of trials and coming of age tribulations. I wouldn’t change one single thing that occurred during those blessed days, as I love my memories just as they are.

But it dawned on me the other day as I watched the umpteenth email from my reunion committee come in...with Facebook in the mix of life these days, what’s the purpose of a reunion? I mean look, here is this group of people, working tirelessly to get the Stratford High School Class of 1989 together in October, and alas, the turn out is well...bleak! Why? We all got along. It was a GREAT class made of up 546 of Houston’s most awesome and eclectic group of kids. Why wouldn’t we all want to hang out again to see what everyone’s been up to for the past 20 years? Oh wait, I know...because we already know!

Yes, Facebook has taken away the opportunity to wonder “What ever happened to the class stud?”...”Did our class artist ever make it big?”...”Is the guy/girl voted most beautiful still most beautiful?” See with Facebook, we’ve all stumbled upon one another already. We’ve swapped baby pictures and shared stories of our lives. We’ve connected for play-dates and lunches; some have had family weekends together. We’ve even started business networking with each other. Heck, our class has even pulled together to create a foundation for one of our favorite teachers who has fallen on very hard times, due to heath issues. Our class was able to coordinate a couple of charity fundraising events, such as the recent golf tournament, for his foundation.

High school reunions used to hold such possibilities...such wonder. I guess as change goes, we grow as individuals, life continues to move forward and evolve, and so must our expectations.

So what will the new high school “reunion” look like? When the Millennial kids get together in 2038, what will it be like? Odds are it won’t be a true “reunion” as they will have grown-up with Facebook and Twitter, so they probably won’t ever have a chance to loose those childhood connections. Will their changing of the guards as one class leaves to head to college and another class positions themselves to take-over the school as the new senior class mean as much? Will they return to football games to “remember how it was” 10, 15 or 20 years later?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I do know one thing – I loved my high school experience and memories the class of 1989 gave me. And even though I feel it has tampered with the age-old tradition and mystic of a high school reunion, I still embrace Facebook and am thankful for the return it has brought me of those connections which were many years lost due to college, families and life in general. Just being able to see some of those smiling faces on a daily basis again has truly filled my heart.

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