30th Reunion Recap
(a Webmaster perspective)
Just like our 10th and 20th high school reunions, the WIHS 30th Reunion began in June 2005 with Jimmy Schultheis volunteering once again to be our Reunion Coordinator. Reunions of America (ROA) called and Jimmy stepped up. His courage and strength can't be understated. He not only faced the traditional 30th Reunion curse (poor attendance), but this time he was doing it without the support of his wife (and our classmate) Darlene Carangi-Schultheis who had passed on less than one year prior.
Creating this website to help advertise the 30th Reunion did not begin until after Christmas 2005. The website seemed necessary to spread the word ever since Classmates.com changed their policy allowing free message board posts. The site was "turned on" in Feb 2006 and the quest to reach as many of our classmates began shortly afterwards. Blind e-mails were sent out to the 200 valid addresses on Classmates.com and 50 valid addresses on Reunion.com. At the two weeks until the reunion, only 40% of these e-mails had even been opened by the recipient! Having only reached about 100 (of our 700+) classmates, we needed some serious word-of-mouth advertising. Your e-mails and phone calls to friends not spoken to for ages, spawned even more e-mail and phone calls. Those actions, coupled with some Internet sleuthing by Tom Gardner and I, helped reach even more classmates. By reunion weekend, I would estimate we had reached just under HALF of our classmates.
As expected, the build up to the reunion was great and a lot of energy (even by those who could not attend) was seen on the Message Board posts and in e-mail. By reunion week, there was a call for time to SLOW DOWN so we could enjoy this moment in time just a little bit longer. Jimmy Schultheis added two events (a social hour at Capt Bill's on the Friday prior and a Beach Picnic on the Sunday after) to give us more time together.
The Friday night social at Capt Bill's in Bayshore kicked off the 30th Reunion weekend and brought almost 40 of our classmates together. The camaraderie was wonderful and the chatter about old times was at fever pitch level. We helped each other identify faces and names from long ago and reminisced over drinks. Some of our classmates who attended Friday (but could not attend the 30th Reunion on Saturday) included: Rick Lazio, Bill Wenner, Marsha Fox, Nancy Schmidt and Hermann Luttmann (WIHS '74), Greg Cunningham, Billy LaRocco, Karen Bowden and Pete Montgomery. Unfortunately, we were so engaged in conversation, we didn't take many (if any) pictures. In the end, we closed Capt Bill's at 1:00 and looked forward to the Reunion on Saturday night!
WIHS Class of
1976 - 30th REUNION
The WIHS Class of 1976 - 30th Reunion was held at the Long Island Sheraton in Smithtown, NY. The event started promptly at 8 pm. ROA was busy collecting prepaid tickets, selling tickets to walk-ins, and advertising the sale of the Class Photo. We were ushered into a lounge area where free drinks, conversation and camera flashes flowed! Just under an hour later, we were ushered into a connecting room to pose for the Class Photo. The technology gremlins appeared and the flash on the professional camera just wouldn't cooperate. Luckily, one group photo was taken.
Afterwards, the buffet table was opened and the DJ's spun music from the 70's. Classmates moved back and forth between both rooms and the hours passed like minutes as we tried to reconnect with as many friends as time would allow. Not surprising, many of the conversations talked of classmates that did not attend. "Have you ever heard from .....?" and "Do you have any way to reach.....?" were two frequent questions heard throughout the night. In an instant, it was 1:00 am and we realized that many people had left (it's not possible to say goodbye to everyone). The hard core party-ers stayed up all night and were still there when the cleaning people showed up at 8 am the next morning! I'm not even sure if the Beach Picnic ever materialized. In the end, we had about 100 pre-paid attendees (classmates, spouses, and guests) and about 25 walk-ins, for a total of 125. Pretty good, considering we only reached about half of our class during the 4 months of reunion "advertising".
WHERE TO FROM
The reunion is behind us and the week following the reunion has both attendees and non-attendees viewing the many images posted on this website. Message Board traffic is up and people are sharing their personal reunion stories. So where do we go from here? There has been talk of having a 35th Reunion (not waiting 10 years) and even talk of an event before the 35th. We should spend this interim period trying to find "lost" '76ers and rekindling those relationships refueled by the Reunion. These tasks won't be easy as we digress back to our regular lives, but I believe with all my heart that it is WORTH IT. As we continue to age, strong friendships are as necessary as strong family ties. The WIHS Class of '76 website exists to help us reconnect (and stay in touch) with each other.