Andy Bockelman: What I’ve learned the past 10 years
It was May 2004 when I finished my time at Moffat County High School, and at that point in my life, going out into the great wide open seemed both endlessly thrilling and pleasantly terrifying.
A decade later, I’m back in Craig and working professionally in a capacity that allows me to visit the old alma mater constantly.
Not gonna lie — I miss it. Not the building so much as all that happened there when I was just a dorky teenager and my even dorkier adulthood had yet to start.
I recently celebrated my 10-year reunion, and let me say I have a newfound respect for event planners. Had I known when I ran for the esteemed office of senior class president that putting together a weekend of fun activities would involve so much stress, I doubt I would have bothered to throw my hat in the ring.
Back in those days, homework was enough of a hassle, so prepping myself to coordinate the schedules of 150-plus people 10 years in the future wasn’t exactly part of my thought process.
It wasn’t until last summer that it all became very real that I could either provide a celebration for the ages or blunder through the whole thing and infuriate my former classmates. My wish for the former may not have quite come true, but I did manage to avoid the latter.
The Class of 2004 reunion a couple weeks ago took some time to get going with the planning process, and the onus of that lack of preparation falls squarely on me. Had I not had a crew of people step up to help with most of the work, I don’t think we would have had anything whatsoever happening this summer.
The class president who preceded me gave some wise advice when she said not to rely entirely on Facebook for organization, but to be fair, my class — and those who were in college when the social media giant first rose to power — have been part of the experience longer than almost anyone.
Of course it was the best way to stay in touch, I thought. And, it would have been — if everybody in the world used the site and logged onto it 20 times per day like some of us do.
I’ll spare you some of the more nerve-wracking details of trying to mediate between some folks and the frustration that comes with people being on the fence if they could make it to Craig for the weekend.
My favorite excuse somebody wrote on the wall of our Facebook group: “an acute attack of apathy.”
There were plenty of things involved in the organization that were useful, like a crash course in PowerPoint to make a slideshow full of old yearbook pictures. For something that I had months to work on, my procrastination somehow didn’t ruin this project, although it’s still a work in progress.
I guess you could say the same of the reunion events themselves.
Altogether, I think I saw about 30 former classmates throughout those two days, some I barely recognized and others with whom I had been in close contact for a while. This may seem like a low number, but I was pretty pleased with the turnout since there was always the possibility that it would just be me, a bundle of balloons, some uneaten pizzas and a whole lotta sad.
Reminiscing about the old times, making a few new memories and getting into some shenanigans — this was the class that set new standards for senior pranks, after all — was exactly what I wanted out of the experience, and I hope it was just as fun for everyone who could make it, even whomever it was that did a number on my passenger-side seat belt, and I’m pretty sure they know who they are.
It’s those who weren’t able to come or chose not to that I can’t help thinking about lately.
I’m sure any reunion planner realizes 100 percent attendance is a pipe dream, but something like this doesn’t have to be one solitary date on the calendar leaving you full of regret if you didn’t attend.
This anniversary is good for the rest of 2014, and there’s no reason not to get together this summer, fall or winter if we can do so. Someone even suggested to me that we should write off the 10-year and make the 11-year mark the real party.
We’ll see what happens with those plans, but for now, I hope everyone in MCHS Class of 2004 will heed my words and get in touch with me in some way, all the better if we can meet in person.
Perhaps not everyone sees those years through the rose-colored glasses I do, but even back in the day, I legitimately loved high school. Not every moment was positive, I realize, yet I’m a better person for having those sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes weird encounters, and I hope a lot of you feel that way, too.
Our alumni includes people who have gone on to become world class culinary artists, scientists, titans of industry or have found any number of ways to say to the world, “I’m here!”
Some are happily single, others are well into parenthood and loving it.
Rumor has it there’s even some oddball who writes half-baked movie reviews…
Anyway, whatever your story is regarding the last 10 years, I want to hear from you, catch up on what’s been happening and hopefully stay in each other’s circles. Ideally, I’d like to be able to get a picture of myself with everyone in my class, but I’ll take what I can get.
If you know the significance of the code phrase “Irish potato,” I’m awaiting your contact.
Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.
Some students are choosing to chart their own course after graduation, bucking the conventional path of college or trade school, but with no less ambition than their degree-seeking peers. Moffat County High School senior Tyler Gonzales is one such student, who has chosen to dive into a full-time job at Chaos Ink after graduating and feed his passion for design and entrepreneurialism.