Administrator's Blog

 

Lucky Friday the 13th in month of May 2016

Howdy Everyone!

This is my attempt to update the "administrator's blog" which sounds so officially formal. I think anything will be better than 5-year-old entries! Anyway, your all-volunteer, all-credit/no-blame reunion committee hopes that you will find reconnecting with classmates in person at our upcoming reunion in October, yes---this October which is only 5 months away! Or at least reconnect virtually via email or Facebook.

As LaDonna, Brian, Keith, Kim, Fred, Kevin, Lisa, and I have reminisced about our days at Bullard HS while putting together this landmark reunion, we were pleasantly surprised by how very few of us really hung out together while we were in school, but now we've shared some pretty good laughs and have made or renewed friendships! The passage of time has a way of making everyone more humble. No one goes through this Life unscarred and those clique-ish social boundaries that were once so prominent 40 years ago now seem to be very fuzzy. Yeah, we're the original "Breakfast Club"(80's reference). We are the red, white & blue bicentennial class (70's). We are still part of the Baby Boomer generation(50's). We know how to party like it's 1999 (90's). We have survived the Y2K non-apocalypse (2000's). And we are dealing with the on-going Great Recession (2010's). Ain't we just great?

Our reunion is being held at a very striking venue. The Fresno Philharmonic recently held their farewell gala there for the Maestro Conductor of the past 15 years. Yep, classy is the way to go. However, don't fret over what to wear, like Kevin said, we just want you there!

Exciting things are happening downtown as they tear out the old pedestrian mall. All the art sculptures will be relocated to new sites where they can once more be admired and appreciated. Think "K" street/Old Sacramento, or the Gaslamp district of San Diego. That's what they envision to help revitalize the area. The baseball stadium didn't really deliver as promised in that respect. We have highways crossing all over Fresno, 180, 168, 99, 41. Remember when Blackstone was Hwy 41? And 168 didn't even start until way off of Auberry Road?

Enough for now, keep finding our missing "Knights" and send those checks in! We want as many classmates to show up, because sadly, some of us won't be around for the next reunion...

Yours Blue on blue,

Treva D. Lee '76

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Random and not-so-random bloggy-type thoughts from
Fred Lusk, Class of 1976 35th Reunion Committee Chair

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October 07, 2011, 1:00 P.M.

Today's note is based on a post I made on Facebook yesterday about the Class of 1976 35-Year Reunion / Multi-Class Reunion.

*** BUMMER-TYPE REUNION UPDATE ***
This is long and full of important information, so please bear with me… Unfortunately, due to insufficient paid attendance as of October 4, your reunion committee has decided to cancel the planned Class of 1976 35-year Reunion / Multi-Class Reunion, scheduled for October 29, 2011, and replace it and the Friday night pre-reunion events with a smaller no-host gathering at Wassabi – Off The Hook in Fig Garden Village. This new event, which starts at 6:00 p.m., will be more along the lines of a Bullard Babes coed dinner. I will discuss refunds for those who already paid below.

We needed about 200 people minimum to make this work at Copper River. As of October 4, our website showed “yes’s” for at least 51 people (some people didn’t indicate how many, so for now I’m assuming each unknown is just one person). However, we had only received payment for 38 people and this wasn’t nearly enough to continue with the event as planned. On the website, about 70 people had indicated “maybe attending,” which could have added perhaps 110 more people, but we can’t bank “maybe’s”. Even if we could, we would still have been a little short.
 
The low attendance appears to be due to several factors, including the poor economy, Fresno’s general habit of waiting until the last minute to sign up for things, and the lack of even partial mailing lists for the classes of 1975 and 1977. When I cancelled the Class of 1976 Friday night event at The Lime Light, the manager told me that they had just hosted a similar dinner for one of San Joaquin Memorial’s classes. Their committee reported to him that attendance at their reunion the next evening was projected to be about half of what they had planned for and feedback from class members laid most of the blame on the economy.

In addition, we relied heavily on electronic communications to advertise the reunion, primarily Facebook and mass email from the website, plus personal emails from committee members. Unfortunately, it turns out that many people just didn’t respond to this form of communication, including some people I was in frequent contact with about the reunion. At Tuesday’s meeting, several committee members reported some complaints from people who said they did not know
about the reunion until just recently, even those they had talked to previously about it.
 
We still don’t have contact information in our official classmate lists for about 75% of the people in the four classes invited to this reunion, including many who we know are local. This might explain part of the problem. On the other hand, some of the people named at our meeting I know were contacted by email from the website and/or were specifically alerted on Facebook. BTW, out of the 2,269 people currently listed in the four classes on the website, we have physical addresses for about 500 people and email addresses for about 400 people. Taking into account the overlap between the two, we are currently able to contact about 600 people. Obviously, we have a ways to go to reconnect with all our classmates.

A plea for help—if you notice that someone you know is still listed as “missing” on the website, please encourage them to register on the website or send me their contact information and I will add it to their profile. Either method puts them in a position to find out about future events. We have a 10-year subscription to ClassCreator.com for the website and some of us plan to continue searching
for people and adding to the list of “found” classmates. This should improve the odds that the next event will be successful.
 
In any event, we now think that our generation still responds better to something in the mail and it is my fault that we waited too long to do a mailing about the reunion. In the spring, we talked about doing a “save the date” postcard. We held off because the website wasn’t up yet for people to register at (mailing before the website was up would have required a second mailing about the website) and we were still searching for some sort of mailing list for the classes of 1975 and 1977. Then I mistakenly let this drop off the agenda. The postcard we finally did send out generated more registrations on the website, but only a couple of reunion attendees. It was too little, too late. However, given the state of the economy and SJM’s experience, I don’t know if we would have met our attendance target anyway.

We will be sending out a new postcard shortly to alert people to the change in plans, requesting people (again) to register on the website, etc. We will do a similar mass email from the website plus
a personal email to those who actually registered.
We now seek your opinions about what we should do next. Should we postpone this reunion (the big event) until sometime next year, which would give us more time to properly contact people? Should we hold off until each class reaches its 40th? Should we try to plan another multi-class reunion or should we just let each class do its own event? What do you want the next reunion to look like? That sort of thing. I will be posting a formal survey on the website in the next day or so and we would really like your formal opinions there. However, you are welcome to also give us feedback here.

With regard to refunds for the 38 paid tickets, full refunds will be made and Lisa Walker will be handling that. If the survey generates enough serious interest in moving the reunion to next year and the committee decides to do that, you have the option to apply your refund directly to the new event. If you want to wait to see what happens as the result of the survey, please contact Lisa and ask her to hold off on your refund.

Again, I’m sorry this didn’t work out as planned. Please thank the rest of the reunion committee for their hard work and dedication. With the website and the work that has been put into it so far, we have the foundation for future success. We want the next reunion to be at least as good at the 30th.

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September 28, 2011, 6:10 P.M.

In spite of the buzz about the reunion for the past year and the interest expressed by numerous Knights from all four classes, we are WAY behind on signs up.  So far, about 60 people have said "yes", which we estimate represents about 90 people, but only about 30 have paid.  To make this reunion work, we need about 200 people.  We spent most of last night's committee meeting addressing reminder postcards for the 400 or so people for whom we have mailing addresses.  Assuming they haven't moved recently, this mailing will reach quite a few people who haven't registered on the website.  Think good thoughts for increasing the number of attendees. 

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September 12, 2011, 12:40 P.M.

I just uploaded a classmate list for 1978 that includes 554 names.  It was based on their senior yearbook and their 30th reunion directory, which provided addresses, phone numbers, and/or email addresses for more than 250 people.  Thus, it starts out in better shape than the classmate lists for 1975 and 1977, but is not nearly as complete as the classmate list for 1976.  I have already heard from several 78ers who want to come to the reunion.  Now they can sign up.

Well more than 100 Bullard alums have joined our website, but with more than 2,100 names listed for all four classes, we obviously have a ways to go.

Yesterday was a sad day, remembering the terrorist attacks of ten years ago.

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June 29, 2011, 12:50 P.M.

I am pleased to announce that 37 people from the Classes of 1975, 1976, and 1977 have joined this site already.  Only 1600+ more to go.

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June 27, 2011, 6:50 P.M.

First an apology to the Classes of 1975 and 1977.  When I officially launched this website on Friday, via an announcement on Facebook, I had forgotten where the website's administrator tool was located for adding additional classes.  I hate getting old.

In addition, I didn't have electronic classmate lists for your classes and I had set site security to prevent people from adding themselves unless their name was already on the site.  This keeps the riff-raff out.  That's why a bunch of you couldn't register.  No, I wasn't messing with you, I just wasn't quite ready for your classes.  Sorry.

This was followed by a busy weekend that included a fund-raiser dinner for our church college group's upcoming missionary trip to El Salvador, two high school graduation parties, completing a plumbing project at home, and gardening with Round-Up.  Oh, and compiling basic class lists for your classes.  We'll see about 1978, etc.

I am now happy to report that I just uploaded class lists for both 1975 and 1977 and y'all can now register.  However, please note that there are some big differences between the list I compiled for 1976 and the two I just uploaded.  Preparing the 1976 class list took about 100 manhours, while preparing the 1975 and 1977 class lists took about 2 to 3 hours each.

My goal for the 1976 class list was to compile as complete and accurate a list as possible by identifying EVERYONE who should be considered a member of the Class of 1976.  My criteria was documented attendance at Bullard, not just graduation.  My sources included all three yearbooks (photos, index entires, senior activities list, etc), the two school phone directories that I still have, various issues of The Charger (I have about 2/3 of them from my years), our graduation program, past reunion documentation, Classmates.com, Facebook.com, parole records (not really), all the names printed on our 20-year reunion T-shirt, etc.

I started with 557 names from the website Tom Hobbs created for our 30th reunion.  By the time I finished going through the sources I mentioned above, I had nearly 800 names to work with.  After removing obvious duplicates (e.g. use of the first name in one place and the middle name or a variant of the first name somewhere else) and several obviously spurious names, I ended up with 782 names to consider.  Of these, I concluded (with help from the reunion committee) that 65 people were almost certainly NOT classmates (e.g. they show up only in the sophomore phone directory but nowhere else, meaning their contact information was probably passed up from Tenaya and Wawona, but they never actually attended).  An additional 32 people may or may not have attended (e.g. they were listed in the index to a yearbook but show up nowhere else, meaning they may have registered but not actually attended).  Here, I assumed it was most likely that they didn't attend, but I can't be sure.  In the end, I settled on a list of 683 classmates: 520 graduates and 163 who attended at least part of one year.  I'm not 100% certain about this list, but I'm 99.1976% certain.  I also included from the start three guests of this class who have long-time ties.

Oh, and my 1976 class list spreadsheet also includes--where I had the information--addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, birthdays, and whatever else I could glean from the various sources.  A subset of this information was used to create the class list on this website.

For 1975 and 1977, the story is vastly different.  For 1975, I took their senior yearbook, typed all the names from the senior pictures into a spreadsheet and cross-checked these names with the list of senior activites and the index, making changes as seemed appropriate.  I did not attempt anything like the detailed procedures that I used for 1976.  I made no attempt to add contact information, married names, list who was deceased, etc., even when I have the information from other sources.  I handled 1977 in exactly the same manner.  All I uploaded was two certainly incomplete lists of names, but which are a perfect starting point for the upcoming reunion.

To put this into perspective with a couple of statistics:  the 1976 senior yearbook includes 488 senior pictures and 552 names in the index.  My class lists for 1975 and 1977 include 476 and 547 names, respectively.  If someone from either class wants to create a more comprehensive list for their class, please contact me and I can give you some guidance.

That's probably more than you wanted to know about this subject.

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June 27, 2011, 2:00 P.M.'ish

A few comments about the upcoming reunion and your reunion committee's philosophy behind how we have planned this event.  Yes, there is an entire field of study devoted to reunion philosophy.  :-)  This essay reflects the opinion of your reunion committee chair, but not necessarily those of the rest of the committee.

When your Class of 1976 Reunion Committee was planning the 30-year reunion five year ago, the first big question we asked ourselves was this:  "What is the purpose of a reunion?"  It's a simple question with an obvious answer, but I guarantee that many reunion committees don't ask and answer it.  The obvious answer:  "To reconnect with old friends and acquaintences."  The obvious follow up questions were these:  "How is this done?" and "How do we facilitate this?"

The answer to the first follow-up question is simple:  "conversation."  As we tossed around the second follow-up question, we arrived at several key decisions about how the reunion would be structured so that we would facilitate and encourage conversation.

With respect to dinner, we concluded that a formal sit-down dinner would keep people sitting at their dinner tables far too long.  This, and a room full of tables, would hinder mingling and would limit the number of people each of you would get to talk to.  We opted instead for food stations at different locations around the perimeter of the main room and a small number of tables.  We also had chairs set up in "conversation circles."  Overall this worked really well and we will be doing it again.  Unfortunately, we learned later that some of our classmates had complained that there wasn't any food.  I will have to be blunt here:  for the upcoming reunion, leave the bar for a few minutes and venture into the big room.  You will find a nice selection of things to eat, plus you may see a few more old friends.

With respect to music and dancing, we concluded that loud music interfers with conversation and dancing discourages mingling and conversation.  However, it was equally apparent that some sort of low-volume background music would enhance the ambiance.  Thus, we engaged a jazz quartet to provide background music.  For the upcoming reunion, we will have background music provided by either a group or a DJ.  However, please do not tell them to "crank it up" like happened last time.  I like loud music as much as the next person, but a reunion is not the place for it.

Reunion photographer?  No.  It costs money and it keeps people standing in a line far too long.  We are now in the digital age.  Bring your own camera, take all the photos you want, and share them with friends and this website.  The video we tried to do last time didn't work out, so we're not doing that again.

Formal program?  No.  It cuts into conversation time.  We will limit our program to a few minutes, primarily to introduce your reunion committee and offer a moment of silence for our departed classmates.

Changing gears a little....So why are we having a 35-year reunion anyway instead of waiting for the 40th?  Because so many of you mentioned it during our incredibly successful 30th.  And because LaDonna Roy, Lisa Siebert Walker, and I had already decided it was a good idea anyway.