High School Reunion Websites, Experiences with creating them and potential costs
June 13, 2005 4:35 PM   Subscribe

I have a 10 year high school reunion in 5 years. I am wanting to create a full service website that'll link everyone up together with information, email, pictures, etc. Has anyone put together a portal together where people can create profiles and share in discussion? What are the costs and technical challenges?

Essentially, I want a website where former high school graduates can create a profile and post their up to date lives and information. I want the site to be secure and for graduates to maintain their profiles. I've researched nuke PHP and such, but I'm note sure if that's the best solution. I'm hoping people can use this a point of reference for the actual high school reunion.

Does anyone have experience with H.S. reunion websites and how'd everyone's 10 year reunion go? Would this be useful for you as an adult? Thanks for the help!
posted by huy_le to Education (5 answers total)
I would think even something like phpBB would do the job (with user profile pages). It's probably a little more than you're looking for (what with private messaging and multiple forums and so on), but short of programming your own backend, I think it'd do the job.
posted by rafter at 4:44 PM on June 13, 2005

phpBB would be good, but keep making backups of the database often and run it off site. It's made of swiss cheese as far as security goes.
posted by shepd at 4:49 PM on June 13, 2005

classmates.com has been doing this for years. I was just served notice of my 20th reunion. Man I feel old.
posted by ldenneau at 5:16 PM on June 13, 2005

Best answer: I built a website for my high school 10 year reunion which sounds like exactly what you're talking about. It's old and busted (in more ways than one) but if you're curious...

It was a real success; I think it made the actual reunion more fun (because most of the bullshit who-are-you-now-what-have-you-been-doing stuff was over and done with by the time the reunion itself started. And it gave people an easy conversation starter, and convinced at least two people that I know of to come to the real reunion who wouldn't have, otherwise.) Useful, not so much, but fun and interesting, sure.

The code supporting it is exactly as efficient and reusable as you'd expect from the whole three days I spent building it, but if you speak perl and want a copy, say the word and it's yours.
posted by ook at 6:57 PM on June 13, 2005

Since I already had a Moodle server set up for other uses, I set up a Moodle "course" for my high school reunion web site. It does allow people to have customized profiles, post discussions, all that sort of thing, and you can make it password-protected if you want. It actually isn't a bad way to do this, as Moodle is designed for online learning communities, and even if your project isn't a learning community, the Moodle features work well for this sort of thing. (And we were a learning community once upon a time, after all.) I also set up a mailing list for class members.

However, there was one issue -- the reunion committee decided to go with a professional reunion organizer (I disagreed, but everyone else seemed to think it was a good idea, so I went along with it), and the professional organizers put up their own page and promoted that exclusively. (Their page didn't really have any content to speak of, but their URL was the one that was being promoted on all the mailings, etc.) So many people did not find our page.

If you put your page up now, though, and get a critical mass of participation, that will help.

Regarding Classmates, you have to have the pay account to get much use out of it. For example, only paid accounts can post on the message boards. Few people will pay $36 to join up. However, it doesn't hurt to pay the $36 when reunion time gets closer, and then sign up to be the "reunion organizer" on Classmates for your class. Otherwise, if your reunion committee hires a pro, that pro will automatically become the online organizer on Classmates, and I think that doesn't work as well as having a real member of your class in that role.
posted by litlnemo at 7:18 PM on June 13, 2005

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