High school seniors all over the Ohio Valley are preparing to take their next big step in life by becoming high school graduates. Before too much longer, the days of classes, athletics and other activities will be a memory as you move on to college, join the workforce or maybe the military and begin finding your place in life.
It doesn't always seem like it, but it was 15 years ago I was in that same place, preparing to leave the halls of Brooke High School and set down my own path. The days and memories weren't always good, but it was a place of friendships and fun. It is a time approximately 300 members of the Class of 1997 shared in one way or another.
Now, a small group from that class is in the process of planning our 15-year reunion. It will be at the end of June, and by now pretty much everyone should have gotten their invitation, either through the mail or by a Facebook group we've had set up.
Keeping with the idea of memories, one of the projects being put together for the reunion is a kind of digital photo album. At the moment, we're working on obtaining photos of members of our class from our high school years. It can be anything from that time: school athletics or clubs, going to a dance, maybe even just hanging out in the halls. It can even be something from outside of school, like maybe a trip some members of our class took together or just relaxing at home. As long as it is a member of the class during our high school years, it will work.
Part of the reasoning behind this is several people have asked about the possibility of having yearbooks available at the reunion. Not everyone was able to get one back then and I'm sure they would like something to help them look back on those more care-free days of our youth. It's impossible to get a yearbook for everyone, but I figured this could be the next best thing available to us.
So, in the event you are reading this and have some photos of the Brooke High School Class of 1997, and you would be willing to share, let me know. There are only a few more weeks to get everything finished for the June 30 reunion.
Those of us on the committee are hoping everyone has a good time this year. It will be an opportunity for us to look back at old times, catch up with old friends and even make some new ones.
Five years ago, when we had our first reunion, I wasn't sure how it would end up. I wasn't close with very many people in the class, but I had a great time helping to plan the event and seeing everyone there. I probably spent more time talking with people I had never spoken a word to in high school.
This time around, we're hoping for a great turnout and for everyone to have fun.
So, to all those high school seniors out there right now: Although I'm sure you're all incredibly eager to break away from these years, try to take some time to enjoy what days you have left together. All too often these days, our younger residents go off to college, and then don't return to the Ohio Valley. Make a few good memories together now, because it could be another 10 or 15 years before you see each other again.
Oh, and remember to take lots of pictures.
(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)