WAVERLY – The Waverly High School Class of 1970 had planned to get together for their 50-year reunion in Waverly this year to reminisce about old times and catch up with old friends.
But the COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to those plans.
Rather than look to next year or forget about a reunion all together, the members of this class have been reuniting virtually through social media and video conferencing.
Patty Bulling Haggard left Waverly at the age of 20. She now lives in Scottsdale, Ariz. Over the years, she has kept in touch with a handful of classmates, but as their 50-year reunion approached, she wanted to reconnect with more of them.
She created a private Facebook page for the class and began hearing from people that way. As word of mouth spread, more people joined the group, which is now up to 27 members from the original class. There are other classmates who do not use Facebook. Haggard connects with them through email.
Haggard had used the video conference app Zoom for Bible study, so she was familiar with how it worked. She began setting up Zoom meetings between classmates a few months ago. They have been holding them every few weeks.
“A lot of times we just talk about where we are and what we’re doing,” said Haggard.
The Facebook page has also helped other reconnect. Haggard posts requests for photos or memories, or fun questions on the page to prompt discussion.
“Luckily it hasn’t gone into politics,” she joked.
Haggard has also called a few of her former classmates and spent up to an hour on the phone with them. Whichever way she communicates with her fellow Vikings, it is always easy to talk to them.
“You can just go back to being friends again,” she said.
Nancy Mocroft has enjoyed the Zoom reunions with the Class of 1970. Mocroft lives part of the year in Waverly on the family farm, and the rest of the time in Phoenix, Ariz.
Mocroft said some of her classmates had been friends on social media for years. But this has given even more of the former Vikings a chance to reconnect.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” she said. “We have fun getting caught up on where everyone is and what they’re doing.”
One of the topics of discussion is their recollection of some of the highlights of their high school career, including the merger of the Alvo, Eagle and Walton school districts into Waverly their freshman year, Mocroft said, which helped their class grow to 80 graduates.
“That was the big thing that took place in high school,” she said.
In fact, the conversation has focused more on what they are doing now rather than reminiscing about the past, according to Mocroft. Many classmates live in other parts of the country, so they compare notes as to how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting them.
The Zoom meetings and Facebook page have given some former Vikings an easier way to reunite than traveling to Waverly for a banquet or other type of reunion event, Mocroft reflected.
“In some ways, we’re doing a better job of getting reacquainted with each other through Zoom than if we had a class reunion,” she said.
There is some talk about holding a physical reunion next year. But no one is really sure what they want to do yet.
“In the meantime, using this Zoom thing I think has been a really nice way for people that chose to, to connect,” Mocroft said.
Haggard is hoping that more members of the Class of 1970 join Facebook page and the Zoom meetings. Her email address is email@example.com. The Facebook group is named Waverly High School Class of 1970 Vikings and is found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/529215151105761. It is a private group, so you must request to become a member.