I spent the weekend at my ten year high school reunion. A lot of people that I’ve mentioned this to have been somewhat surprised or responded along the lines of “I wouldn’t go to my high school reunion”. Which I can understand. But Science and Math is different than your typical high school. As a two-year residential magnet school, you end up getting to know people pretty well — it’s basically like going to college a couple of years early, only with a little bit more supervision. And so it’s the same sort of bond and friendships that a lot of people end up getting in college.
Kara and I flew down on Friday morning and then met up with a friend for lunch. We then spent some time just kind of relaxing before meeting up with a group of my friends from high school for dinner. It’s a good group although we don’t get together anywere near as frequently as we used to… for the first few years after high school, we made it a point to get together around New Year’s or at some point over the holidays. This has fallen off as we’ve all moved increasingly far apart distance-wise and have increasingly busy lives. It was good to get together and catch up, though, and especially in a smaller group environment.
Later in the evening was the sort of opening party/reception type thing and my class had a surprisingly good turn-out. The event was held at a bar in Durham (Tyler’s) which was fine. It was a little weird seeing people smoking indoors as that’s something kind of foreign after living in Massachusetts for almost six years. This probably contributed to the scratchy throat feeling I had the rest of the weekend. As I walked around, I was able to see and catch up with a ton more people; both that I had been friends with through high school or people I barely talked with. It was really nice as pretty much everyone is doing something that is kind of interesting now and it was cool to talk with them. None of the usual crap that people complain about with high school.
Saturday was the main day of reunion stuff but my group of friends started earlier with breakfast at Elmo’s on 9th St. As usual, Elmo’s was good and we got there just in time to beat the majority of the rush. Then, it was down to campus and we watched a presentation about some plans to expand the school. I’m not really sure how I feel about it. On the one hand, it looks like a fair bit of work is going into making sure that things are nice and really trying to turn what had been a hospital hastily converted to a residential high school into a very nice residential high school. On the other, more people in the same sized space could be a bad thing. A day later and I’m still not sure where my opinion falls on the expansion. The rest of the day was filled with catching up with more people, walking around campus to see what had changed (both a lot and very little at the same time), our slide show (always fun to watch again) and the like.
Kara and I then skipped the evening’s festivities so that we could grab dinner with my parents as we haven’t seen them in a while and it’s unclear exactly when we’re going to be down again. It was a low-key evening and then rather than attend the late night party, we just watched Valkyrie in the hotel room.
This morning we slept in a bit more and then headed to campus for what had been billed as the faculty brunch. The location stated for it had been a little bit odd, and when we got there, we learned why — it was actually in PFM (the cafeteria). Also, the number of faculty present overall was pretty low at least that we saw.
We skipped out a little, though, so that we could grab lunch at the NC Farmer’s Market Restaurant with another group of friends. This was, as always, tasty and it was good to get to catch up with another group of friends. Then we met up with my sister and her husband and now we’re sitting at the airport waiting on our flight back to Boston. (Well, we were… home now. But I’m a day later posting it)
It was a fun weekend and it was great to catch up with a whole bunch of people. There were some people who I would have liked to have seen who couldn’t make it, but I got to see a lot of people that I hadn’t seen since our 5 year reunion or even longer for some of them. And while most are on Facebook, some aren’t. The event was better organized and a better set up than we had for the five year reunion, but there were a few things which bothered me and can hopefully be better for the next one…
- The cost and especially the way the costs were organized was unclear. As it turns out, very few things were only for those who paid. This may be partially due to complaints over how much some things were, but it still wasn’t at all clear what you were paying for up-front.
- Having the full schedule sooner would be nice — I think the final version was published a week or less ago. That’s just kind of poor for people trying to decide if they want to come or not and especially how to schedule their travel
- Faculty presence was low. I vaguely remember complaining about this five years ago. I know it’s hard to get the faculty to come out, but some of it is communication with former faculty who have retired. They can’t come if they don’t know what’s going on.
- Little interaction with current students. This is one that seems easily fixable but it’d be really nice to get a chance to have more current students around and talk with them and the like. Get the real story about what’s going on at the school; I didn’t trust the administration ten years ago, I don’t trust them now Things like lunch yesterday or brunch today would have been perfect opportunities for them to be around, eating and join some alums. It would also be great for the current students to get to talk to people who have been there, done that, and are maybe doing something cool or interesting now. I would have liked it as a student and I would have liked it now as an alum.
Even with those suggested improvements, it was a fun weekend and I figure I’ll probably be back for the fifteen in five years and look forward to seeing everyone again then. Even if it does make me feel old to see current students wandering around.