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Class Reunions 6

Class reunions Q and A's
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How to make a power point presentation
Bruce Mewbourne asked: Do you have any recommendations for hiring someone to create a media presentation for a reunion? I’m interested in showing “before and after” photos in Powerpoint.

We turned to members of the National Association of Reunion Managers (NARM). These are their answers.

Nancy Shirey at A+ Reunion, LLC, Ellicott City, Maryland, recommends contacting a high school or college for a suggestion and perhaps your need could be made into a class project.  If not, they may be able to suggest a student and/or instructor willing to help out for a few dollars.

Carol Riley, Reunions Unlimited, Olympia, Washington, says budget is the biggest factor in multimedia presentations. If money is no issue, hire a local, regional or national media professional who can coordinate details from production to presentation, using the latest technology. If, on the other hand, you’re on a budget, ask classmates. You will be amazed at their talents. Carol says, “We’ve always found a volunteer to create the presentation. Many times they even have access to equipment to save money on rental fees.” 

Carol’s final word of advice is that getting the old stuff for your presentation is easy. Collecting new pictures from classmates is a little harder. Be patient and prepared to send a few reminders and include instructions for how to send, when and where.

Janice Masciarelli, Reunion Central, Inc, Bear, Delaware, says they don’t do many Powerpoint presentations at reunions because they are costly and time-consuming to prepare. Committees who do use them usually have a professional graphics person willing to donate a lot of time and talent.

Committees who want a show but are unfamiliar with Powerpoint, scan or photograph yearbook pictures and make them into slides. They need a projector and screen at the reunion. Photos can be shown in constant rotation or made into a “presentation” and shown all at once. A presentation should not last more than about four to five minutes, as reunion attention spans are extremely short!

Finally, Jonathan C. Miller, Reunited, Inc, Weston, Florida, says while it is tempting to hire someone to produce a presentation, the technology exists for even the most novice user to achieve professional results. Most newer computers are equipped with software to produce a multimedia presentation with minimal effort. Macintosh has a well-known reputation for its ability to easily create these shows. Windows-based PCs usually have excellent utilities that are surprisingly simple. A trip to an office supply or computer store will reveal several off-the-shelf programs which can help you produce incredible shows. MyDVD Studio by Sonic has earned widespread accolades for ease of use and final results.

Miller cautions that, if you produce a show (either yourself or professionally), plan for the cost of projection equipment. If your show is on a DVD, you will need a DVD player, digital projector and screen. This equipment may usually be rented from your reunion venue, purchased at a local store or borrowed from a classmate or reunion member.

Or maybe, Miller suggests, you should work with a professional reunion planner who includes production work among their services. Miller’s company, Reunited, Inc., produces a digital slide show for all their reunions. They include photos from alumni, images from the yearbook as well as video footage from previous reunions and other related events.


What programs are presented at reunions?

Keep it simple and fun and totally volunteer. The most popular is awards where you ask questions to get to know alumni better (i.e., who traveled farthest? who has the most children? grandchildren? etc.). Give fun awards—for example, ask the local newspaper to donate a one-year subscription to the person who traveled the farthest.

Present a slide show from old photos (in your yearbook or that you and the committee have between you).

Ask a prominent alum to speak. Suggest a round table/round robin discussion. Or ask questions from your class year (i.e., who can sing our class song? what was the principal's name?). Give awards appropriate to the question or answer.

Ask a classmate to speak about trivia from the graduation year (i.e., commercials, foods and clothing, favorite hang-outs, sports or history events, etc.).

Welcome attendees and guests, announce the agenda and invite them to participate on the next reunion committee. Nice and simple.

Need 20 minutes of comedy
Jim Mace, Sacramento, California, wrote “I’m looking for a short skit about teenagers and high school life in the 1950s and ’60s. A semi-comedy to last between 10 and 20 minutes.”

My inclination was to suggest he write his own, but thought I'd check first to see if any of the experts at the National Association of Reunion Managers (NARM) knows of or has an answer.

Kandy Davidson, 1st Class Reunions, Loganville, Georgia, also suggested Mace write his own skit after talking to people in that age group about their funny experiences.

Carol Riley, Reunions Unlimited, Olympia, Washington, agreed that he write his own based on his class. Another approach is to watch old TV shows for ideas, or at least jog his memory! Riley had one class that did a skit of announcements over the school’s public address system. This year they hosted a 40-year reunion and brought in the current HS Band and Cheerleaders!

Reunion Specialists, Carlsbad, California, suggested any of the songs from Grease would be cute and could easily be adapted.

Class reunions Q and A's
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