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20 Year Class Reunion

Updated: Jun 23

To the Akron Class of 2004:

20 year class reunion. I bet you didn’t know that those four words could stir up so many emotions and memories until you read them and heard ours was coming up! As it nears, I would imagine some of those feelings are intensifying. Excitement, fear, pride, anger, pain, shame. The list goes on, right? And they couldn’t be helped because your thoughts went back to those days.

I have had the pleasure of reaching out to just about every single one of you. Some, I had to settle on a second party, but I was determined to connect with all of you to make sure you knew about this reunion. For those that weren’t afraid to be honest with me or respond, the responses have been all over the place. As it nears, I felt led by God to share these thoughts and encouragements with you.

First off, you are not who you were twenty years ago. For some of you a, “Hallelujah” may have come out of your mouths immediately. For others, you may believe these were your best years and wish you could go back. Maybe you are indifferent to all of it.

Whether you realize it or not, we spent more time with each other for 13 straight years than some of us even spent with our own families. We were together five days a week, seven hours a day, nine months out of the year, and did this for about thirteen years. THAT’S why you have all of those emotions when you hear the words, “20 year class reunion.”

Secondly, we ALL said and did foolish things to each other in middle and high school. We ALL STILL say and do foolish things as adults because we are human. Do we have to let these moments define us for the rest of our lives? Our answer should be a resounding, “no.” This ALSO means that we shouldn’t be allowing the things that OTHER people did to US define them, too. ;)

We were sick together and often were generous in passing our viruses along. We celebrated birthdays, vacations, births of babies, and other events together. We fought and made up. Maybe some of us never recovered from the fight. We cried together and comforted one another when we lost loved ones, our parents separated, someone moved away, or we were called a name we never forgot. We partied together, made some choices that maybe we don’t even remember, and maybe some had lasting consequences.

Thirdly, the invite was extended to students who had moved away, dropped out, failed, were held back, or expelled, but were at some point in our graduating class of 2004. If you are one of those that fall under this category, I hate even having to write those words. Most of you didn’t choose any of those things. Your parents, guardian, or the school did. Sure, you played a part in some of them in perhaps not doing the work the teachers assigned or not making the wisest of choices, but you were a teenager. For some of you, you were trapped in a life that you didn’t ask for, or even want.

Fourthly, social media came around just as we hit our adult years and has completely changed this world. Can I remind you that what everyone posts on there is only a glimpse of time? Please do not let what you have seen on classmate's profiles dictate your final opinion about them, be your reason for why you won’t go to the reunion, or interact with them when you come. We are all on this journey together of seeking the same thing: love, truth, and purpose.

Fifthly, something that happened to you, or that you did, shouldn’t keep you away. I can guarantee that we ALL have something that we regret or were hurt by that happened in our school years or later. It is a beautiful thing to come together despite what we are going through now, and what happened then. To those who think they don’t "have it all together” and are scared to come, I say in response, that’s a lie straight from the enemy. Come anyway.

It is also tempting to want to appear to be more put together, in our prime years, and successful than we are. There is, of course nothing wrong with success. This is what Akron tried to teach us and we all have strived to reach it. It just looks different for all of us and comes at different times.

So, I encourage you at the exact same time to SHARE your successes so we can celebrate with you! Be proud of what you have accomplished or learned in the last twenty years. Share your wisdom and knowledge in that area! Network!!!

I hope you hear my heart in all of this. I long to see most of us together again at this reunion, but I know that’s not realistic for even logistical reasons. Regardless, I believe that this is a wonderful opportunity to reunite with those who were a big part of our formative years. You never know what God could do through this reunion.

Over the years, I have described our class as special. No, not special ed.  ;) Truly special. We were in groups and had closer friends, but I remember seeing a constant cross over. We ALL interacted with each other. We didn’t let those invisible lines separate us. In a world where there is so much division, what a beautiful thing to pause and remember about our class!

I am SO excited to walk through the halls wearing my Backstreet Boys tee shirt at the school, hike with your families at Akron Falls Park, and hang out with you and our favorite teachers at Arrowhead till after the sun goes down. Let this day not only be one full of fond reminiscing, joy, and laughter, but also one of healing and restoration. I know that I have some apologies to make.

Anyone else wanna break out in the song, “Kum ba yah “ now? HA!! For real, this is gonna be amazing and memorable!!

Go Tigers!

Courtney Campbell (McFadden)

P.S. If you haven’t heard the song, “People Need People” by CAIN, I recommend you listen! :)

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