Planning in the Age of Corona

With everyone in quarantine, the reunion planning meeting originally scheduled for April 4 2020, was rescheduled to April 11 and changed to an online zoom meeting. We missed sharing the in-person interaction and the refreshing beverages that were promised, but we carried on as best we could. Here is the summary:

Hi 50th Reunion Committee members,

We held a virtual planning meeting yesterday (Saturday, April 11 2020) over the zoom video conference platform.  It was reminiscent of the Brady Bunch on our screens; we had 11 attending:  Betsy Asher, Dave Aschenbeck, Sue Aschenbeck, Linda Coffin, Jeff Dayton,  Poldi Gerard, Ross Kyllo, Brenda Nemastil, Thor Olson,  Kris Rollwagen, Ross Thorfinson.

After the call-in and setup period, we discussed where we were in the planning process:

– Kris considered contacting the school for any resources that they might have for class reunions, but decided this was not a good time to bother them with this topic.  Maybe in a month or so, when the remote teaching challenges have settled down would be better.

– She described some of the online resources that are available, but was unsure about their veracity/security for our purposes (, a class of 1961 password protected site etc).  We are wary of facebook.

– Brenda offered to set up an online group using technology she has access to, rather than facebook.  
– Linda Coffin offered to help via her expert “Handy Andy”. 
– Betsy offered to create a private (invitation only) facebook group.  This provides a secure channel to communicate to classmates (those who are facebook members).
– Thor has created a wordpress site for the purpose of communicating reunion plans and collecting contact info and other submissions.  He hopes to activate it in the next week or so.

– Poldi created a letter soliciting help finding the remaining classmates for whom we have neither email nor street address.  She and Thor created a gmail account and sent the letter to the 66 email addresses we have.  Seven bounced (fewer than expected), but only 15 replied to confirm their address.  The replies provided some more contact info, and uniformly expressed enthusiasm for the reunion effort. 

– The message did not explicitly request a confirming reply, so we will make a second emailing to those still unconfirmed.

–  We decided to postpone any USPS mailing until we collect those responses, and explore our other channels of getting the word out: the facebook group and sms text messaging with instructions to visit the registration site that Brenda will be setting up.

– We are learning of the passings of our classmates.  The obituary committee will be collecting information about them from which we can compose a video tribute, poster board display, and/or pages on our site.  A subsequent discussion suggested that a simple list of names and dates would be best to avoid missing/unbalanced obits.
–  The school evidently offers memorial stones for sale that are placed as pavers in a courtyard.  Kris will ask the school about this, as well as inquire about our past teachers.

–  The idea was proposed of collecting favorite teacher stories and presenting them at the reunion.  We should certainly invite any living teachers.

–  Sue reported on the state of the treasury.  We have a small balance ($184.78) remaining from the 40th reunion.

–  Sue and Linda offered to look into online methods for payment.  Perhaps there can be a donation page for people to make contributions for event expenses, and also to help fund travel expenses for those coming from out of town (discounted hotel rooms etc).

–  Regarding events and venue selection, there was agreement on “keeping it simple”, having several auxiliary activities (boat outings, school tours, etc) and having a main event gathering that allowed mingling and mixing.  An outdoor event at a park pavilion would be nice at the end of August.  Betsy offered to investigate parks that allow alcohol at gatherings.  The Arboretum was suggested.  It is nice but expensive, though we don’t know how expensive.  We should probably get an estimate for reference.

–  The 40th reunion was very inexpensive; we charged $20 and had opportunities to be frugal.  For the 50th, a suggestion of $50 was made.  What can we do for $50 each?

–  Sue followed up to find our attendance numbers for last time.  She counted 23 attending the dinner, with 9 spouses.  I reviewed the photos from the Red Rooster night and found 5 more that did not attend the dinner.  With more advanced notice, we estimate 50-60 guests might attend.  Once we start getting classmates to “register” their contact info, we can inquire their level of interest.

–  We are all quarantined at the moment, but will plan to get together again mid-June.  If we can meet in groups at that time, Thor and Poldi offered their centrally located home as a meeting place.  And whomever can’t make it, well, we now know how to include you via zoom.

  If you have additional items to add to this summary, or corrections to make, please do so via “reply all”.

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