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Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

Technology works as detective for finding classmates

Thursday, June 23, 2005

SIKESTON -- Thumbing through the old high school yearbook and placing ads via radio and newspaper work just fine, but several people these days, hoping to track down long-lost classmates, have turned to the Internet for help.

Last February when the time came to start locating 273 members of her graduating class, Diane Quertermous Groves of Sikeston visited www.classmates.com -- a Web site consisting of a national high school, military, college graduate database.

For a small fee Groves joined the Web site's membership and received contact information, such as e-mail addresses, for her former classmates who had registered at the site.

"Last time I found quite a few addresses," recalled the 1970 Sikeston High School graduate. "We have quite a few who live within the tri-state area and quite a few that stayed in Sikeston, too, but actually, we have classmates all over the United States."

Groves is one of several committee members planning for her classes upcoming reunion set for Sept. 23-24.

And for members of Sikeston's class of 1995, whose reunion is also Sept. 23

-24, they can register online at their class Web site: www.sikestonclassof1995.webhop.net

Bryan Montgomery, a member of the Sikeston class of 1995, noted one of his classmates who lives in Mississippi contacted a Web designer to put together a Web site that would store a class database.

"They can go in, register, put in their information and leave information about their spouses' names, their kids' names, ages and things like that," Montgomery said about his class' Web site. "And what we do after the reunion is post pictures and it becomes our personal Web site."

So far the Web site has received several hits, Montgomery said.

"And some people may not be comfortable calling me and the Web site helps cut down on personal contact and people are able to go in and do that on the computer," Montgomery pointed out.

But Theetta Owens-Cokley of Bernie, who is helping plan the city's all-school reunion set for July 2, said she still prefers to make her contacts the old-

fashioned way -- with pencil and paper.

"I haven't used the Internet -- I'm one of the old people," she joked. Even though she uses the Internet, Groves agreed it's not the only way to find former classmates.

"To get started, just get a yearbook out and get as many people on a committee as possible ... the more people you have the better chance," Groves recommended.

And once as many people possible have been contacted and the big day arrives, the best thing to do is have a good time, the reunion planners said. "As you get older, you come to realize the cliques, the popular group, the unpopular group, the sporty group and the nerds and geeks -- it's all irrelevant once you've grown up and are in the real world," said Montgomery, who noted this year will be the first reunion for his class.

It was everybody's year to graduate, and everybody should be there, Montgomery said.

For Groves, she's been to a few reunions before and knows what to expect.

"You get a good mix of people -- people you haven't seen in 10 years and people that you maybe didn't pal around with a whole lot in high school, but because of a spouse situation, a work situation, or where you live, you've gotten to know them better," Groves said.

Everybody talks about what they're doing now, but most of the of the conversations are "Remember when...," Groves said.

Reunions can also help people get back to their roots, Groves said.

"To me, in this crazy day and age, everybody's going fast, but you come back to high school when you thought your life was so busy, and you realize it was the best time of your life," Groves said.

Class reunion committee members do their best to contact as many people as they can, and they don't want anyone to feel left out, Groves assured.

And communication works both ways, she said, adding, "You've got to want to keep in touch, too."