Modern technology plus months of work helped the Vilonia High School Class of 1981 track down 90 former classmates for its recent 30-year reunion.
Reunion committee members began working in March to gather information
on classmates and locate
them. The class had 85 members at the start of their senior year, and 81 of those walking at graduation. The committee decided it would attempt to locate each classmate
who had attended at the least one year with them from 9th grade on.
Armed with more than 115 names, the committee began to gather addresses and contact information. It located 54 classmates on Facebook, and from those additional contacts the committee
was able to gather information for a total of 90 classmates. The VHS Class of ’81 has classmates in Kentucky, South Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Virginia, Colorado and Arizona.
After several months of planning the reunion started
with homecoming on Oct. 7. Several classmates met at the game and visited while enjoying the Eagles’ game against Siloam Springs. A meet and greet followed at the Vilonia Church of the Nazarene’s New Life Center. A class picture was on display
for everyone to enjoy. The tables were decorated in traditional red and white and had dice-shaped cubes with classmates’ senior pictures
on them. A few newspaper
clippings (taken from the Log Cabin Democrat) were on the wall from the ‘80-’81 year. Two tables were set up with memorabilia and pictures.
One of the tables was set up in memory of the classmates
that had passed. In their memory, T-shirts were designed by classmate Rick Sell. On the back of the shirt was an eagle and the names: Debbie Lee, Phillip
Martin, Robert Kemper, Keith Thompson, Jimmy Elam and Roxie Hagood. They were all remembered fondly.
Two tables were spread with assortments of desserts,
crackers, dips and chips along with tea, coffee and water. A goodie bag for each classmate was made up of memorabilia and items donated to the class.
On Oct. 8, the class gathered at the school for a tour. For just a while the classmates returned to the “good ol’ days.” Shooting baskets, visiting the library,
sitting in the desk as a class returning, picking up an eraser in one room and signing the board in thanks to the principal we had at that time. In a sense it was the class of the past leaving a message about who we were to class of the future.
(Pictured here are the original class members who joined us for the tour)
These classmates attended
Vilonia schools from elementary
The class tour was followed
by a picnic at the elementary
school playground. Later that evening a banquet
was held at the Country Inn and Suites in Conway. Stuart Holt Photography took pictures of classmates prior to the event. Classmates
enjoyed food, fun and fellowship for the next few short hours. They danced and sang to the music from the ’80s with the help of a hired disc jockey and karaoke
(Pictured here is the group in attendance Saturday
Door prizes were given away each evening. A raffle was also held to help raise money for the class. Tickets
were sold for a ring donated
by Dayer Jewelers and for Spirit Sunglasses donated by Arkansas Eye Care Group. Also a 50/50 raffle was held to raise additional
money along with a savings bond that was donated by First Security Bank. Classmates Tamara Satterfield won the ring and Rick Sell won the sunglasses.
The 50/50 and savings
bond certificate were won by Bob Berry, spouse to classmate Shelia Leslie Berry.
Donations will continue to be accepted until the first of the year in the hope of gathering enough funds to make a donation to the school in memory of the six classmates we have lost.
The class would like to thank the following additional
businesses for the kindness shown in support of the class: The Log Cabin Democrat, ICC Builders, Ye Ole Daisy, Ed’s Bakery, Maggie’s
Cookies, Motorsport Authority, Solutions Day Spa, Miller Lighting, Farris Agency, O’Reillys, Kordsmeier’s
Furniture, Central Arkansas
Filter Service, Zilla Sign & Banners, Dixie Café and Halter’s Body Shop.
Committee members will continue to try to locate additional classmates and hope to have regular meetings
and events. This was the first reunion for many who had not attended previous
reunions held at the five-year mark and the 10-year mark. It had been 20 years since a reunion had been planned and the classmates all seem to agree that it shouldn’t be another 20 … we will see you at the 35th.
For more information about the reunion committee,
to submit information to the class or to help plan an event, you can visit the Reunion Website www.tetracomp.
com/Reunion.htm, or contact Perry Small at 501-733-2037 or Angela Johnson at 501-908-0331. Send written
correspondence to: VHS Class of 1981, P.O. Box 894, Conway, AR 72033.