WEST ORANGE, NJ — In 2014, the West Orange Mountain High School Class of 1964 held its 50-year reunion at West Orange High School. Now that a site-based reunion is not possible, a member of that class wondered if it would be possible for his boomer classmates to attend, and enjoy, an online reunion.
So, on July 11, alumni from around the country tested this hypothesis. Their event was creatively branded as a “Senior” Prom. Twenty-eight alumni logged onto a two-hour Zoom party that featured a live DJ with international credentials, a slideshow of photos from their school years, and impromptu and planned chat-room conversations.
Several members brought their dates, and many couples and individuals danced to a 1950s and 1960s music playlist curated by a classmate who had been in the music business for many years.
Nearly everyone signed on a half-hour before the official start to chat, just as if they had arrived early to an in-person reunion to register and pick up their bags of goodies.
Weeks before the event, a Los Angeles–based celebrity makeup artist had uploaded a short video for the prom-goers with tips on how to look your best at an online get-together.
And a planning committee, including a tech wizard, spent many hours rehearsing and practicing and testing the technology and process. A minute-by-minute schedule guided the co-hosts to help ensure the prom itself would flow smoothly.
That night, computer screens were aglow with delighted faces. Post-prom comments included: “Last night was even more fun than I could have imagined.” “Hopefully, we can do a repeat in the not-too-distant future.” “Thanks so much for putting together such a fun and warm evening get-together. I had such a great time catching up with friends that I hadn’t spoken with in 55 years.” “A terrific event and everybody stayed until the end which is testimony to how good it was.” “To those of you who missed it — it was a good thing in bad times.” The event proved the hypothesis a certified success.