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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sikeston High School class of '86 goes high-tech to plan its reunion

Thursday, July 13, 2006

SIKESTON -- In 1986 Sikeston High School seniors were living in a material world. Today they're living in a world of technology -- well, at least when they're planning their 20-year class reunion.

"We're all spread apart, and we've pretty much been communicating by e-

mail," class member Jami Satterfield Francescon of Nashville, Tenn., said.

E-mail also made it possible for class members to get in touch with their foreign exchange student, Arnaud DeJardin of Belgium.

Knowing that 20 years since graduation was approaching, DeJardin contacted the high school through e-mail earlier this year. The high school forwarded his information to one of his class officer's, Missy Lindsey Nance.

"We knew he was from Belgium, but we weren't sure that's where he still was, and I really feel like through e-mail that's how we were able to make contact with him," Nance of Kansas City said.

The initial process to contact class members wasn't an easy one, Francescon said.

"We've been trying to gather everyone's e-mail addresses for a little over a year, and we've run ads in the paper," Francescon said.

Nance said in the beginning she and Francescon just started calling people to get contact information.

"Then somebody would e-mail saying, 'I know where this person is and how to contact them.' It just snowballed," Nance said.

When David York contacted his classmates via e-mail about the reunion, he also offered his assistance to create a blog, which is a Web log or Web journal. He said he thought it would be a tough job to handle all of the e-

mails.

"A blog was created to reduce the burden of e-mail, and it allows everybody to go to one place about one topic," said York, who lives in Washington, D.C.

Since the blog's inception a few months ago, former classmates have been posting messages and conversing with each other on the Dawg Blog.

York said blog use by class members is better than he anticipated.

The blog also includes other reunion events slated for the weekend and features a link for classmates to enter information about where they live to help prepare a geographic display being planned for the reunion.

DeJardin even posted a message. He said: "... I am really looking forward to seeing you all next month. ... You were all important to me during my stay. Over the past 20 years, there has not been one day during which I did not think about Sikeston."

Visitors to Dawg Blog can also view a teaser video with actual classmates discussing the upcoming reunion and reliving their high school days. The short video is a snippet of the longer version to be played at the reunion. Francescon, who works as a video editor/visual effects artist in Nashville, compiled the video.

"It's mainly everyone talking about memories of high school -- from a favorite class to where they went cruisin' to their favorite music and movies," Francescon said.

Francescon made several trips to Sikeston to interview 15 classmates who chose to participate in the video. (Francescon sent a mass e-mail to classmates, asking for their participation.) Fellow classmate Julie Heppe, who is a photographer, let Francescon use her studio in Charleston to conduct the interviews.

"It's a 30-minute piece full of action, suspense and laughs... but mostly laughs. Hopefully there's something everyone can relate to and maybe it will spark more memories and more storytelling throughout the evening." Francescon said.

Video highlights include the 100th game versus Charleston during senior year, when President Reagan wrote the class a letter and the football was skydived onto the field. Interviews from classmates and others will also be featured.

"One special surprise faculty member will be featured in the video," Francescon said, adding the person's identity won't be revealed until reunion night.

In addition to Nance, Francescon and York, class president Brent King of Cape Girardeau and several others have contributed to preparing for the reunion. "There has been generous participation from a large number of classmates," York said.

The creativity and devotion of the class to the reunion is amazing, York said. "A lot of our classmates have really been involved with this -- maybe not for the whole year, but they've certainly done a lot of work on it," Nance said. Their only regret is there are people who may not have e-mail addresses or Internet capabilities, the reunion planners said.

"Some classmates told me they're still living in the '80s," Francescon said. "But that's cool. We're all big fans of the '80s."

Visit the Dawg Blog at http://sikeston86.blogspot.com. Additional links and information about the reunion are available at the blog.

When: 7 p.m.-12:30 a.m. July 22

Where: Sikeston Elks Lodge.

Details: Live band, BoogieChyld of St. Louis, will perform. A special party favor will be given to classmates. For more information on the weekend's events or to talk with classmates visit the Dawg Blog: http://

sikeston86.blogspot.com.