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Letter: Digital class reunions are a suitable pandemic-era substitute

Letter to the Editor Deseret News

In the era of COVID-19, the Kearns High Class of 2000 opted for a Facebook reunion, which — for the past two weeks — has been a far more rewarding experience than anyone expected.

Many wrote of successful careers and families, but some also showed inspiring humility and vulnerability about the challenges of high school and life’s struggles since then — depression, abuse, addictions, loneliness, divorces, infertility, long deployments — and how they’ve conquered them. Some asked forgiveness for things said or done years ago. Many thanked those who helped them through rough times. And perhaps the most poignant posts were the moving tributes to classmates who passed away.

Our class was over 600, so most of us knew only a portion of our classmates, but that didn’t seem to matter. Woven through all the posts and comments is a collective sense of love, encouragement, and kindness.

For many of us, the experience was cathartic. It allowed us to connect in a way that wouldn’t have happened over awkward small talk and drinks at a traditional reunion, and it offered us a second chance at showing the kindness to strangers that we wish we had shown more of in school. With time to gather our thoughts, we have reminisced over fun memories, congratulated each other on accomplishments and mourned together over losses.

In short, the virtual reunion showed us all what remarkable, decent and resilient people were walking the halls of Kearns High 20 years ago, even if we were all too shy, self-conscious or busy to talk with those outside our circles.

Gordon Larsen

Farmington, Utah