Weddings & Celebrations

Should I Go to My Class Reunion?

What is it about high school class reunions? Honestly, you’ve spent only four years of your life with most of these classmates. So, why such a big deal about these events? 

Even Hollywood has themed movies related to the topic, like “Peggy Sue Got Married,” “American Reunion,” and “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.” These movies illustrate the difficulty that almost everyone faces — to go or not go — for we are not the same people we were in high school. 

I’m bringing up the subject because this year is my 50th high school class reunion for a relatively small rural school in Northeast Ohio, and I’m deciding whether I’m going. 

I didn’t even spend four years with my classmates as I moved from the city to the country halfway through my first year. And I never made it back to any other reunions for various reasons. Either the timing didn’t work, or our family lived overseas or across the country. Plus, none of my classmates remained in my adult inner circle. So, is it a big deal if I miss this one too?

But as one of my high school cheerleader friends said to me recently, “This is our 50th; we have to make it back. We’re not getting any younger.” Well, that got me thinking.

Social media has made it easier to stay in touch with classmates over the last several years, and honestly, it is nice to see a friend request from someone you haven’t thought about in years. Or from someone who hasn’t changed at all or someone who has — all for the better.

So ultimately, the real question you need to ask yourself whether you decide to go or not is the “why.”

My husband had his 50th last summer (the first he attended as well). But as class president, he felt an obligation to participate and attend. What started as an obligation was a full three days of fun. 

People change over the years — most for the better and some for the worse. But those who made it back to that reunion did so because they felt curious or nostalgic or just downright thankful for the good health that brought them back with their classmates.  

50th Class Reunion W jpg
Good times with friends

There was a lot of laughing, joking, and reminiscing. It was amazing that everyone connected and enjoyed one another’s company, no matter how ppular, geeky, introverted, or extroverted the classmates were in high school. 

The athletes, cheerleaders, geniuses, class clowns, and yes, even those who were once considered “a little weird” all enjoyed the events.

The lesson is that though you may have only spent a small part of your life with these people, you realize those years were important. They were the transformative years from childhood to adulthood, providing achievement, disappointment, heartbreak, and joy. 

They also taught us how to work together as a team. Whether you were a member of your high school band, the football team, the newspaper staff, the drama club, or in student government, you were part of a group with similar goals — be it winning the big game, placing first in a contest, or changing school policy. 

Though we did not realize it back then, those lessons in teamwork indeed manifested themselves throughout our adult lives. And speaking of adult lives, class reunions, especially the later ones, prove we’ve aged but also show that we have all grown emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. We’ve all blended into a middle-aged melting pot as we’ve matured.

The lessons of high school were about learning to deal with conflict. How do we handle that bully or mean-girl situation or getting a lower grade on an English essay we don’t feel was deserved? Or deciding to participate or not in a school walkout against what we believed were unfair policies? That’s called life. Through our classmate friendships and relationships, we were learning to handle challenges and uncomfortable situations that we would continue to face for the rest of our years.

So, I’m going back to my high school class reunion. Call it curiosity, needing a little taste of home, or reliving some fun times and wanting to reconnect with my cheerleader pals; I will make it back this summer. It just feels right. If you are contemplating not going to yours, I hope you reconsider; you may be pleasantly surprised. 

An unknown author once shared this truth about high school reunions: “It’s an event where everyone shows up older and then grows young again.” And therein lies the magic.


Noreen Kompanik

Noreen Kompanik is a freelance journalist, associate editor, and speaker from San Diego. A retired registered nurse, she now travels the world and writes about her adventures. Her stories have appeared in TravelPulse, Edible San Diego Magazine, Europe Up Close, International Living and more.

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