Dressed in their 80’s costumes, the not-so-professional dancers, some of whom never danced on stage their entire life, waited anxiously at the backstage to perform for a crowd of almost 400 people. They memorized and practiced the steps one week prior to homecoming night and this was their moment of glory, so to speak. As the huge LED screen parted to reveal the performers, the audience roused in excitement as they cheered for the girls who got their grooves on to Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Footloose and I’m So Excited.
The program was filled to the brim with production numbers from other batches including batch 1970, 1979, the Golden Jubilarians and other guest performers. The school gymnasium which was gloriously decorated in black, red, gray and white was packed with gorgeous Paulinians who shrieked in delight as the saw their former classmates, old friends and their beloved teachers after a very long time. It was not only a night of reminiscing old songs but of renewing of old ties and creating new connections. So, the St. Paul College of Paranaque Alumni Homecoming 2015 was aptly themed “Top Hits Silver Redvival”.
As the silvery program came to a close, congratulatory hugs and positive feedback hyped the organizers’ energy even more. That energy was seen on the dance floor as they all danced the night away to their favorite 80’s hits played by the Una Band. That one night they all prepared for concluded with much enthusiasm that the batch organized another get together they called the “Homecoming Hangover”.
Coming up with an event like this needs strategic planning, a kind that will enable each member of the team to pitch in their skills, talents and connections.
You may ask, “Why all the fuss about a simple get together of old high school friends?” Well, this was not a simple high school batch get together. This was a once in a lifetime event for our batch because we will be hosting our school’s alumni homecoming for 2015 as the Silver Jubilarians. Our senior contemporaries, the Golden Jubilarians, were all agog in their preparations as well and have been checking up on us once in a while. Were we pressured? Of course! All eyes will be on us for one night!
So, here are some tips or say, reminders you might want to consider as you plan your high school homecoming.
First, you have to tap batch mates who were leaders or class presidents in high school. Set up a small gathering to catch up on things and talk about your plans for the batch. Don’t forget to take photos always! This will be part of your documentation later.
Second, create a Facebook page exclusively for your batch homecoming. Assign as many administrators so that the work will not fall on the shoulders of one person. Make sure to include all batch mates living in Manila, the provinces and living abroad. Those living abroad will be very willing to help in any way they can, trust me! We’ve seen that in our batch especially from those who could not make it that night. By the way, we had a handful of batch mates who came home in time for the reunion. And that’s what we call “For the Love of the Batch”.
Third, appoint committee heads from your organizers. Choose one chairman or head of the organizing committee. Committees may include budget/sponsorship, program,production, food, secretariat, security, and promotion and marketing. Assign heads who are skilled in each area or have connections so that they will know what to do and would need minimal supervision.
Fourth, since this is going to be a big event, your batch definitely needs a budget for that. Do you have a budget already? If not, you need to set up a fund-raiser for your event. You can do a Block Screening, Fun Run, Weekend Bazaars, Concert for a Cause, Raffle draw or other social events that may help bring in money. Again, you may ask assistance from other batch mates who may want to assist financially. Also, talk about whether your batch can donate to your alma mater from the funds or support a foundation? Transparency is very important especially with regards to handling of the money. Make an accounting of all expenses and have it countersigned by the Chairman or the committee head. It would be better if you can set up a bank account for the batch or open a new account with your chairman and another committee head as your signatories.
*On a side note, we were blessed to have a head of our sponsorship committee who went out of her way (literally) to get great sponsors and advertisers. We were able to have Nestle Philippines, Globe Telecoms, Smart Philippines, Shoebox & Me, friends from the local government of Paranaque and other advertisers to help us raise funds. Incidentally, all their ads were placed in our Souvenir Program which was also distributed that night.
Fifth, create a poll in your Facebook account where you can do an initial headcount of the number of attendees. I don’t know with you but with our batch, we had difficulty convincing the other batch mates to join. Mind you were seven sections in high school and each class had around 50 students, do that Math! Though some despite our coaxing still ignored our invitations. You can’t do anything about that. Move on to the next person. But one thing surprised us that night, those who were quiet and seem to be snobbing our invitations and promotions, were present that night! What a surprise indeed!
Sixth, as soon as your funds are ready, you can now plan your homecoming program. Make sure your program committee head can handle such an event. In our experience, we were blessed to have a batch mate who is an Events Specialist. So she was able to create a fantastic program, give awesome ideas and lead us to other suppliers. She also brought with her the entire Fit 2be Tied team to help us before and during homecoming night.
Those were some major items you and your batch mates may want to consider as you plan our own homecoming night. There will be times when you will have differing opinions or ideas but it’s important that every voice is heard. Don’t let anyone monopolize the meetings or the planning. Take a vote if needed. Respect each other’s preferences, beliefs, values and be considerate in your comments. Think first before you speak as some MAY take things personally.
As part of the homecoming organizing committee, I would like to attribute the overall success of the event to our gracious God. He orchestrated everything that night from the attendance to the program. It was all His doing.Though we were not spared from some raise-my-eyebrow-moments but we just had to shake it off. I’ve shared this with the other members of the committee, that God has given each of us innate gifts and skills in order to come up with a fantastic homecoming night. We worked together as a team with God as our overseer.
Here are some photos of our alumni homecoming. Photos are owned by another batchmate, Joji Villanueva of Not of this World (N.O.W.) Photography.
Lastly, I’ve shared six tips that worked in our committee. You and your batch mates will have a fun time brainstorming ideas for your own batch homecoming. As our committee chairman said, “The reunion not only rekindled old friendships but it also formed new ones.” So what are you waiting for? Call in the troops and meet for coffee. As the weeks go by and you get busier by the day, don’t forget the most important thing and that is to have fun! And as we always say when we are tasked to do something for the team, “Yes, for the love of the batch!” Cheers to you all!
* Here’s a list of the people who helped us during our homecoming night. You might want to check out their services too to have an equally fabulous event!
Events Specialist — Fit 2 be Tied Events c/o Ms. Ces Perez-Ong
Food/Catering- Julo’s Cuisine c/o Mr. Jopel Santos 710-0377
Photography – Now of this World Photography c/o Ms. Joji Villaneuva at 0908 887 9052
Balloons/Stage Decor – Wiggle N Giggle c/o Ms. Myla Cabrera
Lights and Sound- BlueHive Lights and Sounds c/o Mr. Jason Carpio 09178636288
Band- Una Band c/o Ms. Trish 09163005747
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