When there’s a will, there’s a way.
Members of the Evergreen High School class of 1965 decided they would have their 55th reunion this year even if it had to be virtual. For class members now in their early 70s, taking on the technology was a bit daunting for some, but they persevered, having a two-hour reunion recently.
The group enjoyed it so much that they will have monthly Zoom chats, so the grads can keep in closer contact.
“We were all having a great time,” said Kathy Kain of Grand Junction, a member of the reunion organizing committee. “We were talking, seeing each other, joking around and remembering things. … There are parts of a Zoom reunion that I like a lot better (than an in-person reunion).”
Brenda Lear of Castle Rock, another organizing committee member, added: “When we realized we couldn’t do an in-person reunion, (Zoom) was a great alternative.”
Another bonus was that classmates who live far away were able to participate, even a grad from New Zealand. In addition, because the group was on Zoom and used the program to create small-group discussions, grads took time to speak with classmates they didn’t hang out with while at EHS.
“Because the Zoom program mixes you into groups of four to five different screens, you don’t know who you are going to get to talk to,” Kain said. “In a personal reunion, (grads) gather in the same cliques they were in in high school. Zoom takes that factor out. We got to see people we didn’t know before.”
Class clowns will be class clowns, organizing committee member Julie McCallister of Durango said, and one attendee suggested everyone stand up to see who was wearing pants.
The class of 1965, with 113 graduates, had 35 participants at the Zoom reunion — quite a success, according to the organizers.
Committee members admit that navigating Zoom took a bit of getting used to at the beginning. They laugh about one of their first meetings in which one person was upside down.
“How green we were,” McCallister said. “One or two of our committee hadn’t been on a Zoom call at that point.”
Marilyn Goodale of Arizona, an organizing committee member, added: “Just the whole experience of trying to do a reunion on Zoom online was a big deal.”
Organizing committee member Brenda Lear served as reunion facilitator, and the committee sent out copious directions on how to function in a Zoom meeting. The reunion included an Evergreen Area Chamber of Commerce video about Evergreen, a video of the 50th class reunion and a video of grads from the class of 1965 who died in the last five years.
The organizing committee had several rehearsals to make sure the technology would cooperate, and most of it worked like a charm. But then, what would a reunion be without a few glitches? they asked.
Kain said the class of 1965 was close-knit even though students lived in a large area from Bergen Park to Pine.
“We were very close as a class because for a lot of us, our classmates were our social world,” Kain said. “That was back in the day where people lived farther apart.”
The organizing committee is planning a reunion next year — hopefully in person — to be called the 55 + 1 reunion. In the meantime, the grads will have a chance to chat monthly to get to know each other better.
“By the time we get together again in person,” Lear said, “we will know each other much better.”
Goodale added: “Like we did in high school.”