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American High School Reunions Are Slowly Fading Away

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"e_yourwayup" took this picture.

"e_yourwayup" took this picture.

High school reunions mean different things to all of us. For some of us, they offer an opportunity for us to connect with former classmates that we haven't seen in a long time and to reminisce on precious memories from our adolescence. For others of us, they are gloating arenas to avoid at all costs inasmuch as our teenage years may not have been the best years of our life and we never really had any loyal friends in high school that we would want to see again.

At the end of the day, high school reunions are a moneymaking machine for businesses that organize them and do all the catering to make them seem inviting. Whether or not you should go to one of them is your decision. I cannot tell you one way or the other what you should do. However, I can tell you that this same tradition may become obsolete in the not-too-distant future. Therefore, if you really want to attend one of your high school reunions, don't wait until they're not around anymore.

"oneunitymedia" took this picture.

"oneunitymedia" took this picture.

1. High School Reunions Are Not My Scene

So many years ago, there was this one co-worker of mine named Cathy who was well into her eighties. She was one of those hard-working individuals who simply refused to retire inasmuch as she liked what she did for a living and she did not want to be home all the time with nothing to do. Cathy loved going to her high school reunions despite that the number of her former classmates at them shrank each and every time that she attended one of them. I've even read stories about women in their nineties or even over a 100 years old who attend their high school reunion only to find perhaps 9 or 10 people there inasmuch as all of their other former classmates have died off.

On the other hand, there was this one supervisor of mine in her late fifties who absolutely detested high school reunions. She was a likeable person, and she knew how to get on everyone's best side. However, for reasons I will describe further on herein, she never went to any of her high school reunions. Her name was Chloa.

Chloa was married and had kids, but she had no desire to reconnect with any of her former classmates from high school and let them know where she was in life. I even once heard her talk about not wanting to go to any of her high school reunions after this one woman who worked with us told her that she had recently attended her fortieth-year high school reunion.

Chloa and I talked about this one television advertisement that showed a man in his forties smiling after receiving an invitation to his twenty-fifth-year high school reunion and then there would be this sweet, sappy scene wherein his wife was complimenting his looks after he had dyed his gray hair back to its natural color. The advertisement made it obvious that she was his high-school sweetheart.

Chloa and I both agreed that it was a stupid television advertisement. Chloa was able to see that I was no fan of high school reunions myself. She told me that she did not like them, because she had no desire to reconnect with people that she never really liked in the first place. I got the distinct impression that perhaps her teenage years were not the greatest and that she wanted to leave them in the past. I felt that she was doing the right thing, because nobody should go somewhere where they know they are not going to enjoy themselves. I have never been to any of my high school reunions, and I do not regret it for even one second.

Now, before anyone jumps the gun about what kind of teenage kid I was way back when, first of all, let me clear the air about something. I may not have been in one of the upper-level cliques when I was in high school, but I was not a social outcast and I did have a well-sized circle of friends; and I was active in various after-school activities. I once even cracked a joke with a friend of mine named Wayne back in my senior year of high school that I was 21 years old and that I had liked high school so much that I had decided to repeat the same four years all over again after I had graduated and turned eighteen. Wayne laughed and said, "You're crazy. I'd never do that." Of course, he and my other classmates knew that I was kidding them.

During my senior year of high school, there was this one girl named Kristi whom I had first met in the fourth grade. She and I got along very well, but she could get somewhat nosy at times. For example, in our English class, she would ask me what grade I had gotten on a test, and I would turn around and tell her that I had gotten an F with a very confident and proud look in my eye. Her eyes would get wide and she'd ask, "YOU GOT AN F?!" Then I'd hold my test paper up in my right hand and show the A that I had gotten on it. She'd then turn her head sideways and say, "You got me this time." Somehow I always knew how to catch her off guard whenever she would try to find out what grade I had gotten on my tests.

During my senior year of high school, there was this one couple named Andy and Vicki who were very much in love with each other. They were my friends. Vicki ended up getting pregnant with Andy's baby. I felt bad for both of them. I don't remember what happened with them, because I lost touch with them after I graduated from high school. I did run into Vicki at a local restaurant once when I was 19 years old, but I did not ask her about what happened with her pregnancy and the likes inasmuch as I did not feel that it was my place to do so.

High school was full of good times and fond memories for me, and it had its fair share of bad times. However, overall, I considered my teenage years to be happy ones. When I was in high school, I didn't have the fancy car and the drop-dead beautiful girlfriend as some other boys did; but I wasn't a main target for bullying as some kids were and most people there respected me. At the same time, I realized that there were people at my school who were so mentally unhinged that I had to do everything I could to avoid them as much as possible; and I'm not only referring to students but certain teachers as well.

There was a young man in my senior English class whose arm got slashed while he was trying to break up a fight. His name was Stanley, and he was 18 years old. Some 14-year-old boy had pulled a knife on him and assaulted him. There was another young man in that same English class who stopped attending it after he had attempted suicide, because his girlfriend was treating him like dirt. I do not remember his name, but I remember his face quite clearly.

There was this one girl with whom I was friends all throughout middle school and my freshman year of high school. Her name was Renee. In our sophomore year of high school, she turned really cold on me and was even derisive with me at times. I tried very hard to win back her friendship; but now when I look back at my teenage years, I realize that she was not really worth the time of day in that she had taken such a disappointing attitude with me. I saw her face on the Internet on this one website that described who was attending our high school reunion, and I was even gladder than before that I had decided not to go to it inasmuch as I realized that I would never have to see her again.

Regardless of where each of us fell on the totem pole of popularity and charisma during our formative years, we all had our own problems and we did our best to deal with them. I can proudly attest that I made some very close friends throughout those years. There was even this one girl named Lisa whom I was close to as a friend during my entire four years of high schools, but we never dated or fell in love with each other. We confided personal things in each other, however.

I never disliked my teenage years. I felt that they could have been more fulfilling than they were, but a great number of us probably feel that more could have happened in our teenage years than what did happen. Movies about high-school life usually present romantic images to us of teenagers going to parties, meeting the love of their life and getting accepted into an ivy-league university of their choice. However, the movies usually do not depict reality. It's all Hollywood.

The reason that I have never gone to any high school reunion is because I was a much different person back in high school from what I am now, and somehow I feel that my former classmates would be expecting me to be a certain way if I ever were to see them again at a high school reunion. I am not condemning them for doing so in that event, because, as a teenager, I had expected myself to become a certain way by the time I was an adult in my twenties and beyond and I turned out to be a much different person from what I had anticipated back then.

Anyone who tells you that someone who refuses to go to a high school reunion is a loser has to be stuck-up and full of himself, because there are many reasons that people don't go to high school reunions that have nothing to do with their charisma or their lack thereof. Perhaps their wife is significantly younger than them, and they don't want their former classmates making snide remarks at them or at their wife. Such individuals may have tragedies in their past or other emotional baggage that they don't want to bring with them to such a social gathering with former classmates of theirs.

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You have to figure that whoever came up with the idea that anyone who refuses to go to their high school reunions is a loser must be some prom king with an ego the size of Jupiter. He probably peaked in life when he scored that touchdown on his high-school football team and everyone admired him for it as the star quarterback of his class, and he had a whole harem of girls whose hearts he crushed whenever he felt like it. Also, it could be that perhaps this same buffoon is the reason that people don't want to go to their high school reunion in that there is always one of their kind in every graduating class.

High school reunions are not mandatory. Thank Heaven. You don't have to go to any of them, unless you absolutely want to attend them. It's as simple as that.

I have seen reality shows on television about high school reunions, and what I don't particularly like about them is that they tend to encourage immature behavior among adults no matter how old they are. Also, old wounds get easily opened up at these events.

If you're a girl who became pregnant at 14 or 15 years old, and the boy who got you pregnant turned into a first-class jerk once he found out that you were carrying his child, you may not want to see him again at a high school reunion after all these years. Moreover, if you've gotten married, your husband may not want to be anywhere near him where he might feel inclined to ask him to step outside. Of course, I also discourage anyone from acting out in violence against anyone with whom they're still angry at those events.

Nevertheless, high school reunions can and do get ugly and even violent sometimes. All you have to do is look at the news on television, and periodically a story will surface about a fight, a riot, or even a murder occurring at a high school reunion as shown in the video below.

A Shooting Erupts At A High School Class Reunion In Detroit

Okay. I get it. The incident above involved snipers who were not even invited to the high school reunion. However, there was a Mohammad Darabi who threatened his former classmates with a possible shooting at their high school reunion in Tennessee. The world that we now live in is much different from what it was back in 1959.

Now, getting on a little friendlier note, one time when the above-aforementioned co-worker of mine, Cathy, and I were talking about high school reunions, I cited the lyrics of this one Dionne Warwick song and I said, "A fool will lose tomorrow reaching back for yesterday." We both had a good laugh at that moment, but Cathy insisted that she found it well worthwhile to attend a high school reunion. If you don't know which song I am referring to, here is the song in the video below.

The Song Titled "I'll Never Love This Way Again" By Dionne Warwick

I once looked up information on a website about a high school reunion that my graduating class would be having, and the major problem that I had was that nobody whom I really liked was going to attend that same reunion. There was a whole host of former classmates of mine whose names I was looking for on the list of attendees, and none of their names were on it. However, the people whom I couldn't care less if I ever saw again all appeared on that same list. Therefore, the incentive and the desire for me to attend it simply weren't there.

There was this one woman named Donna whom I had known since I was a newborn baby and she had attended that same high school reunion. I have been out of contact with her for a while, and I would like to have seen her. However, I would have preferred to have met up with her in a more private setting than that.

I remember speaking with Donna on the telephone while I was living in Los Angeles, California. I told her that I probably would not be attending our upcoming high school reunion, because I was living on the opposite side of the country from where my high school was.

Donna was a popular girl in high school, but there was this one clique of girls who didn't like her and did everything to torment her. I asked her if she was going to attend our upcoming high school reunion, and I reminded her that I realized that she probably didn't wish to see any of these girls. She turned around and told me that she had intended to attend the high school reunion and that she wasn't going to let these girls ruin her evening at it. I then told her that she was taking a major risk in being in these girls' presence, because she used to avoid going to the beach in our community so that she would not have to run into them.

I have nothing against high school reunions, but I can understand why they are losing popularity among the Millennial Generation and Generation Z. These social gatherings are so overrated; and if someone feels out of place at one of them, then they should not torture themselves by attending one of them. From what I've heard about them from different sources, these gatherings are usually fashion shows where people boast and posture about themselves.