Even if you loved your four years of high school, receiving an invitation to your class reunion can be stressful — and that’s to say the least! The whole event usually runs the gamut from exciting to nerve-wracking, tempting even the most successful people to skip all the uncomfortable emotions that bubble to the surface. You know, the sadness of aging, the longing for those rebellious days of your youth, and the tremendous worry of facing the old you.
But out of morbid curiosity or a craving for drama that happens at these spectacles, many of us inevitably attend. Then feel extremely surprised by just how much things have changed. So several Reddit users invited the Ask Reddit community to open up about the most amazing and completely shocking transformations they’ve witnessed at their high school reunions.
Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.
Former classmates and teachers immediately jumped to the comments section to chime in with their stories. From people turning out exactly how others expected to folks proudly shedding their poor reputations, we’ve gathered some of the best responses to share with you. So continue scrolling to read these entertaining stories, as well as find our interview with social psychologist Dr. Laura Martocci. Then be sure to upvote your favorite ones and let us know how your recent reunions went in the comments below!
Psst! If you’re interested in even more spicy changes people saw in their ex-classmates, take a look at our previous piece right here.
In high school I was pretty good friends with a guy that was a bit overweight, about 6’4″, really smart and a bit nerdy. Lost track of him after high school but saw him at our ten year reunion. He was the talk of the reunion. Still tall, lost all the weight and was in great shape, had long hair like Fabio and was a doctor. He showed up with a beautiful wife. He gave us his contact info and invited us to Atlanta to stay with him in his huge house.
After the reunion I tried to get in touch. Contact info didn’t work, and thru some sleuthing I found out he was neither married nor a doctor. He was still in good shape, can’t fake that, but faked everything else.
Image credits: KevWill
Not a teacher, but there was a guy who was the stereotypical jock in high school. Very unemotional, stoic, etc.
Then he went into the military and got PTSD. Now he is a hippy and psychotherapist.
Image credits: Five_Decades
The whole purpose of high school reunions is to have a good time, give former classmates a chance to reconnect, and reminisce about the days they spent together. But even if they are planned with the best intentions, attending them often goes hand in hand with a myriad of different challenges. Aside from the financial and logistical problems that arise for people who spread their wings and move away to bigger adventures, there are also psychological issues.
To find out more about what’s going through our minds when we ruminate on whether or not to attend our high school reunion, we reached out to social psychologist Dr. Laura Martocci. She is a renowned author of Bullying: The Social Destruction of Self and the founder of The Emotion Spa. This project aims to address the stresses and emotional suffering lodged in our bodies by offering personalized emotion-health services, including meditations, expressive writing prompts, and strategizing work with victims of bullying.
After 20 years of working with bullying, she often meets people feeling anxious about attending their reunion, so she happily shared some insights about the worries we feel when we think about attending this event. According to Dr. Laura, anxiety is a trigger response to the question: “Am I good enough?”
A student of mine went through a really tough time. His dad was actually convicted [criminal] during his time at school, which sent the mom in to a sort of apathetic depression. I walked him to trial, I testified, I was in close contact with his therapist and social services.
He’s now a year from taking his masters in software engineering and he has a baby on the way. He’s really happy and his wife is the sweetest you’ll ever meet.
He told me that I was his role model for parenting. Made me cry. Like ugly, snot, can’t breathe-crying. I wish him all the luck in the world. He’s gonna be a great dad 🙂
Image credits: regnstorm90
A kid from my high school started a facebook group and began organizing our 10 year reunion. He booked a venue, sent out RSVPs, and started collecting $25 for tickets to the event. About two weeks before it was supposed to go down we found out that he never booked anything and was pocketing everyone’s money. Also found out he had a warrant out for his arrest in another state. Pretty epic.
Image credits: oculardrip
I was a victim of bullying throughout my school years and I did go to the reunion. I had to. I was curious. I’m 40+ now. It was oddly satisfying to see some of the most popular girls and most prominent enemies of mine having turned into fat, ugly, divorced single moms. On the other hand, no one recognized me. I turned into an attractive, slim, fit, glasses free, career oriented, childfree woman enjoying dating life and lots of travel. ? F**k you all.
Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.
Image credits: flabinella
This spectacle undoubtedly makes us worried about leaving the wrong impression or worse, embarrassing ourselves in front of our high school friends and foes. “Reunions bring together classmates who have (and we expect will, once again) judge us,” Dr. Laura told Bored Panda. Some of the questions we often ask ourselves include “Will others (finally) see me whole, for whom I am (and who I always had the potential to be)?” and “Will they see that I belong?”
The psychologist pointed out that “they” can usually be named. “‘Others’ are often an individual whose opinion mattered (and embarrassingly, still matters) to us. Or a group we feel the need to redeem ourselves to,” she explained. “Recognize that deciding to ‘go for it,’ then not having the opportunity to confront the source of your anxiety, may make the whole reunion-thing feel anticlimactic. Armed with this knowledge, why not pro-actively engage former classmates you didn’t really know, and turn the tables on your nervous dis-ease?”
A former student of mine grew up in an ultra-conservative Christian home. He and his siblings were never allowed to socialize with other students during lunch and recess. Whenever they had free time at school they had to read their Bibles. In science class they were forbidden to learn about evolution. Every essay, short story, personal narrative, and poem he wrote for me involved some kind of Christian theme. When he graduated, he immediately enrolled in a big seminary in our area and that was the last I heard of him until his class invited me to their 10 year reunion. This same kid showed up with sleeve tattoos, piercings everywhere, slamming beer after beer after beer and smoking like a locomotive! When I asked what he was doing now, he responded he currently was a bouncer at a strip club.
Image credits: JediTaz
Not a teacher, but…
Was at school with one girl, very geeky, very exuberant, she was in all the school drama productions, and she would tell everyone that she was going to be a famous actress some day. We were like, yeah, whatever, no-one from little old New Zealand ever cracks that level of fame these days.
She’s been the female lead in a number of movies now, alongside people like Woody Harrelson, Ewan McGregor, Courtney B Vance, Mark Rylance, to name a few. I actually got to be on stage with her in a school production, so she is my ticket in to six degrees of Kevin Bacon!
Image credits: Matelot67
Not a teacher, but I went to my ten year reunion. Back in highschool we had a kid who has aspergers and was a little weird. He was, however, amazing at the yo-yo, having picked one up during middle school when we had that yo-yo trick assembly. After everyone else had stopped walking the dog in 8th grade, this guy was doing more and more elaborate tricks every day during lunch. He was bullied and teased but he continued doing what he loved.
So, at our ten year reunion, people from every strata of high school popularity was there, including this guy. He was his same old self, but more confident. I asked him if he still yo-yos, and he busted out his custom made titanium yo-yo that he said he made on a CNC lathe. He then starts to do some tricks and a large crowd gathered around. It was quite the show, he had gotten very good. When he finished, people clapped and cheered, and even the jockiest dudes from back in the day fist bumped him and told him how badass he was.
The most amazing transformation was everyone else. Nobody teased him for being who he was anymore, they now admired him for being so passionate about something.
Image credits: specialdialingwand
This does beg the question, however, why do we care about impressing people we knew years ago in the first place? Dr. Laura explained that this stems from the fact that the real challenge we face in high school is defining ourselves in the social arena. “Our primary identity is no longer ‘Keisha and Marc’s child,’ but ‘Jordie’s friend.’ Or ‘member of the skate club.'”
“The need to belong, to be included and have a social identity, is hardwired into our brain,” she added. “We are social animals. Social failure—not being ‘good enough’—threatens our psychological well-being, and imprints us physically and neurologically.”
My mother’s latest high school reunion had a woman arrive who was in the yearbook as “Michael”. Apparently at middle age, when his 17 year old son came out as gay he told his wife he wanted to be a woman because the timing seemed right. Divorced. Transitioned. She seemed happy though!
Image credits: rugbybackliner
I’m friends with a lot of teachers (my mom is a teacher, so it just happens). So this isn’t my story, but a friend’s.
The story that always got me was of a autistic boy that dropped out of high school. He was miserable, depressed, and lonely.
Fast forward a few years and he got a job in a factory, working in an assembly line, doing the exact same thing all day every day.
And you know what? He loved it. He told my friend that he was happy to finally be doing something with his life, that he’d finally found something he could do, no matter how small, and he felt like he was a part of something that was bigger than him.
I have never met him personally, but I think of him often.
Image credits: SunflowerSupreme
I have a few. One guy was this star pupil. Smart handsome athletic everything. Dating the head cheerleader. Some hallmark movie s**t. They leave go off to college and nobody thinks it’ll go wrong. Come 10 years later, she divorced him, was given the House his late grandfather built in the divorce, and lived there with her new lover while he was in a hotel. 10 year reunion happens, he’s deathly skinny and depressed. Sees the school, remembers the memories he had, goes home after reunion and [and takes his own life]. Leaving behind 2 little girls. His ex got chased out of the community last year. Death threats against her and her lover. She’s trying to get in contact with people now because the lover took her money and fled back to the Philippines and she’s homeless now
Image credits: anon
Dr. Laura continued to explain that our overwhelming desire to belong and fear of facing exclusion affects us in three different ways. “Psychologically, belittling labels and rejection become integrated into our self-story (‘they are probably right, I am…’). Exclusion shrivels our soul, and affects how we act in the world.”
“Physically, the shameful feelings brought on by invisibility or social humiliation are unresolved, and remain alive and well in our bodies,” she said, asking you to wonder about the reason anxiety around attending instantly floods you. Lastly, it affects us neurologically. “We experience rejection (social pain) in the same way we experience physical pain. Pain lays down pathways in our brain, and in high school, our brains are still developing. Because we are impressionable, many more pathways get laid down.”
I didn’t go to my 20th, but saw the list of dead people. I tried to look them up in my yearbook, but shockingly, every single one of the 7-8 people were in the “no picture” section, which was maybe 5% of the class. So either the yearbook cast a curse, or there’s some correlation between not being able/not wanting to take a yearbook picture and dying young.
Image credits: powabiatch
Had a student with a very depressing home life who just listened to conservative talk radio and was angry all the time. He had mobility issues and was so frustrated with everything, like he could just explode at any minute. Honestly, he would around school shouting about Obama was the “Great Deceiver” and once gave a Nazi salute at lunch.
You could tell by talking to him that he was an amazing, caring, brilliant kid. It was trapped under all this b******t. The kid I knew would have loved Trump just to trigger the libtards.
He moved across the country, works at a camp helping troubled teens, and does stand-up comedy where he takes all of the ideas he heard over thousands of hours of right wing radio hate and flips the concepts on their heads.
Image credits: AleredEgo
Not a teacher, but I’ve noticed at my reunions that most of the cool kids peaked in high school.
Sadly, they’re still reliving those glory days many years later, while those (OK, like me) who were nerds in school have continued to grow since. And not just around the waist.
Image credits: KingNosmo
Another key aspect that makes us hesitate to attend our reunion is how much we have changed as a person since our teenage years. “We want to finally rid ourselves of uncomfortable feelings by returning in triumph, as a success, and be recognized as such,” the psychologist explained. “Sadly, achievements that go unnoticed call out feelings of rejection and not being good enough all over again.”
I’d probably fall in to this category.
I entered high school with a positive outlook and love for the school my mom and grandma went to, but that quickly turned to a c**p shoot. They dropped all the classes I wanted to take (shop, auto… etc) had 40+ kids per class that were unmanageable and we were entering the entitled kid era of everyone gets away with everything. At the same time I was diagnosed with ADHD, moderate to severe depression and anxiety. After freshman year I failed every class but journalism my sophomore year. Somehow my journalism teacher thought I should be recognized for my writing potential (and this had to be backed with support by at least 2 other faculty??) But other than that I was failing everything. In the middle of my junior year I was passing Japanese class with 100% and that’s it. I went to the advisors to ask about modifications for attention deficit and they told me they would put me in special ed. I told them hell no because the content was too easy. (Anyone familiar with ADHD knows that uninteresting content makes it *harder* to focus, which is why I was doing very well in the classes I enjoyed and failing the rest.) So mid-junior year my depression got the best of me and I skipped school to sleep all day. I dropped out and went to an ALC where it only got worse. 1/4 way through what would have been my senior year I caught a huge bout of depression and quit altogether, as I was only awake then for ~4 hours each day. After a few months I began an adult learning program for my GED, and other than math (which I had repeatedly failed and so never made it passed geometry in high school) I scored in the top 10%. In other words, I basically fell off the face of the earth and just skated by with the minimum. Lost my social life in the process.
Now, almost 10 years later I’ll be graduating in may with an A.A.S. and technical certificate in CNC machining. I stand at the top of my program, serve as the student representative on my program’s advisory committee, have an honors GPA with an invitation to Phi Theta Kappa and run the school’s machine tool club. I also currently have 100% in my applications of quantitative reasoning (math) class. And I have guest-taught some of the programs CAD/CAM class. I’ll be only the second person in my paternal family to hold an associates degree. And I’m the first and only female machinist at my company.
Image credits: sasroxxy
I went to an all girl’s boarding school. This one particular hostel supervisor had been working there since she was 22 and has been there for nearly 40 years so she has definitely seen a lot.
Our school’s foundation day each year is attended by over 500 alumni. Some friends and I were chatting with her when this group of incredibly smart and intelligent women come up to her. After they greeted her, she told us that she never thought they would get anywhere in life.
These girls were the most notorious of all the kids that she had to deal with, they chopped off a teachers waist length hair and stole teachers cellphones only to bury them. Put on the janitor’s uniform to sneak out of school. Got fake blood and put up handprints outside the rooms of 9 and 10 year olds. Decided to summon spirits in a hostel building right after a visiting academic died of a heart attack, the rest of the girls in the hostel building were so scared that the school decided to lock down the building for nearly 5 years. They also took turns to stand on top of one of the buildings with a white sheet and showed it to kids in the farthest building, that’s how we got our infamous resident school ghost.
They all are in their late 20s now, great jobs abroad but looking at them you would never think they could pull something off like that in their teens.
Image credits: anon
So my high school reunion is actually coming up in a few months (10 yr), and while I now live about six hundred miles away and have no interest in going back home to “check up on the hometown homies”, I still have a few friends around there. I also got invited to the event on Facebook, so it’s also very interesting to see what’s going on.
Highlights of those attending: Our class president is the only one who didn’t develop a serious drug problem and/or rack up a triple digit body count among the women who are involved. Of the men… well, they’re has-beens trying to relive the glory days. As for where they are in life, think like the “inspiring stories of millennial homeowners” who actually had their parents buy the house in their kid’s name. They also tend to go on rants about hard work and dedication… the irony is always rich with them.
Highlights of those not going: We have jobs, we actually take care of our kids, and as a bonus a few of our formerly nerdy classmates got in shape but kept their proclivity for CS. I don’t believe our valedictorian is attending, because he’s off doing groundbreaking stuff with his biotech degree from MIT. A few of those not attending are practicing MDs, two are surgeons.
As for me, I’m still a little salty all this time later that everybody saw fit to prescribe Jesus for schizophrenia (the Bible belt) and discouraged me from seeking formal treatment until I had a complete breakdown in college. Then again, in the face of all the adversity I have faced (there’s more), I have written books, made some great friends, worked some very fulfilling jobs, gone back to college, gotten married and got two stepdaughters out of the deal who consider me more of a Dad than their own biological fathers ever were. Maybe not a shining example of success, but I think I’m doing pretty damn good considering the handicap.
I had enough of high school when I was there. I’m perfectly content to be passively petty and internally laugh at those who failed despite all the advantages given to them.
Image credits: Empty_Insight
Interestingly, being surrounded by people from school can even make us act like our old selves again. “When others position us in their stories, we are assigned our old roles. And when there is no reason for them to reposition and redefine us, we slip into the same old emotion-dances.” However, Dr. Laura stressed that we hate ourselves for doing it. “Old patterns not only renew feelings of shame, but they also compound them: we should not be feeling or acting this way. But because we are, we turn on ourselves, and negative self-judgments ooze into our psyche.”
“Before beating ourselves up too badly, we should recall that neural pathways and ‘stimulus-response patterns’ have a lot to do with how easily we slip back into old emotion-dances.” Luckily for us, the good news is that by putting in the work, we can create alternative pathways, Dr. Laura said.
Used to have this one kid in my art class in senior high who treated it like one of those “easy to pass” classes.
He was a big guy, much bigger than the other students, and he’d use his size and strength to bully other kids. The smaller ones, he was a little b***h underneath it all.
He would draw guns and crosses in his art book with pseudo-gangster sayings like “live by da gun, die by da gun”, and “F**k da police”. You get the idea.
Come reunion time, which was some 5 years later, he’s found a girl who really reined him in and, kind of like a hunter taming a wolf, really turned him into a good man.
They had a baby boy, and he’s a responsible father and does yoga on the rocks by the beach. Complete 180. I do think he was a good guy underneath it all, he just needed direction from someone who could break down his walls.
Image credits: lifesnotperfect
One kid grew up to be “that” guy, treading the line between jolly neckbeard and somewhat scary incel. I saw him after a full 12 years had passed.
The worst part is, he was one of the most popular and socially adjusted kids in school. Always invited to parties, girls always trying to spend time with him, he’d always get away with absurd things in school because even the teachers liked him. He was just really funny and naturally charismatic. Not to mention fit and handsome.
However, he was strictly religious so he never had s*x with any girls. A few years after graduation, he became an atheist (or just agnostic?), but by this time he had a dead-end job at a supermarket, had gained weight and was obsessed with Dragon Ball Z because he related to “unleashing his true power”.
So he spent like 5 years desperately messaging girls from HS, trying to say “hey I can have s*x now”, but he was just not that attractive anymore and his social skills had deteriorated tremendously. He was rejected by every single girl that was pining over him just a few years ago, in high school.
He ended up publicly coming out as a “proud incel” 2 years before the reunion, in a post where he “declared war” on women and socially adjusted men. He often posted about being a virgin and how Christianity basically made him an incel because he missed out every chance for s*x he ever had.
So at the reunion, he came wearing a white t-shirt with the words “F**k you”. He’d walk up to now-married women that he had previously solicited and just smirked silently, waiting for them to read the shirt. He was thrown out by the venue after about 40 minutes since so many people complained of his creepy behaviour.
Image credits: DookieSpeak
Not a teacher, but I went to my twentieth about five years ago. The woman organizing the event was in my class since 3rd grade, and was always bright, intelligent, charming and pretty. She was very active in high school and by all counts had a very bright future. Speaking to her at the reunion, it seemed that had happened for her. We talked about her self help/life coaching company and how they are growing and doing great. I asked her to send me more information when I got home (which is on the other side of the country). I got an email from her introducing me to her west coast partner who’s email was from the url esplosangeles.com which I thought sounded very contrary to what I was expecting. A quick look at their web site had me immediately worried and a short google later I saw that they are an off shoot of the NXIVM cult that has been all over the news. The woman I was talking to, that I knew since age 8 was Lauren Salzman, who just this week plead guilty to holding two s*x slaves locked in a room for two years. She was trying to recruit me and basically everyone at the reunion into NXIVM! I noped right out of that email conversation and have been watching everything unfold for the last five years. They are all looking at some serious jail time now.
Image credits: Curleysound
If you want to better prepare yourself for meeting your old classmates, Dr. Laura mentioned in her blog post on Psychology Today that it’s important to stay honest with yourself about the occasion. “Expect that old cliques will re-cohere; that the in-crowd will hang out together and catch up with each other,” she wrote. “Having reconnected, some former classmates might peel off, mingle, and move beyond the old crowd. Might. Are you open to however this might play out?”
Moreover, you should recognize that you may find yourself in the middle of an emotional flashback. This can make it challenging to connect with former peers, although they may experience similar feelings as well. After all, only a few people have breezily moved through high school without any uncomfortable memories. “Remember that high school was, at that time, your whole world, and any negative experience rocked it. After the reunion, you will go home to a different world, a world in which these memories are only a part of your self-story. Keep this in mind. It will help keep any rising emotions in perspective. (And remember to breathe!)”
I went to elementary school with a boy that bullied me and several others mercilessly. I’ve repressed (I think that’s the correct word) several of the memories but I still have one of him rolling pickles in the dirt outside and throwing them at me. He broke my glasses a few times too. He didn’t seem to have the best home life, never did his homework, and could barely read in fifth grade. I moved after sixth grade so that was the last I heard of him.
Nowadays he’s engaged to a girl we grew up with (who is the daughter of one of my father’s friends) and from the outside, they seem to have the purest love for each other. I remember him always having a crush on her, and she’s in love with him. He graduated from a good college early and is in a very reputable law school. It truly looks like he turned his life around and I’m honestly quite happy for him. A lot of people think I’m crazy for being happy for him given what hell he put me through as a child, but I know he had to work hard to get to where he is now and had to gain the insight to do that work.
Image credits: major_bummer
Going to post my Mom’s story because she doesn’t have an account. She was a home economics teacher and specifically she had one class called “Relationship Psychology” where every day to start the class she would read through that cheesy “Dear Abby” newspaper advice column to talk with the class on how they would respond to the problem. One day ahead of class she noticed that a letter published talked about a kid who sounded a lot like a student in her class and was located in our hometown (they always end the letter with a name and city and my Mom was always very involved with her students and their personal lives). The letter talked about a kid who was terrified of going to college and how he got rejected from all the school’s he wanted to go to, had no self-confidence, abusive father, money problems, that he would lose all his close friends, couldn’t stand the idea of leaving his disabled Mother, and that he felt enormous pressure as a 1st gen college student and had ultimately decided not to go to college at all. She read it to the class and they discussed and she could tell the boy in her class was very uncomfortable.
After class she asked him about it and it was in fact a letter written by him. He never thought it would get published and responded to by the Dear Abby column and was super embarrassed. He (like most students) never even knew what the Dear Abby column was until they took her class. Afterwards she talked through everything with him and talked with his Mother and evaluated his options on how best to approach college. She taught him finances, loans, scholarship options, his Mom’s condition, and everything and got him to a place where he felt better about his future.
4 years later the kid ended up being the speaker at his college graduation of over 7,000 kids, met his wife at college, all of his groomsmen, and got a killer job through his career fair on campus before graduating. She flew out and attended as he invited her.
Was always blown away by that.
Image credits: doctorfeelgood33
Not a teacher, but a girl I used to be interested in since elementary school, we were really close friends. I’d even “work” for her dad when I was a kid, stuffing envelopes for him to send out to his clients, just basic stuff that he offered us 10 cents per envelope to be a nice guy. In high school, we drifted a little bit apart, and she started dating another friend of mine who shortly after noped out of that relationship because she wanted him to make her pregnant.
Fast forward a couple years after graduation, she did have children, who she then suffocated when they were 3 years old and 22 months old. Sentenced to over 40 years in jail. She was smart, pretty, and charming, and now she might never see the outside world again. Needless to say she didn’t make it to the 10 year reunion
Image credits: MischaTheJudoMan
The psychologist stressed that whatever you feel is legitimate. “It is simply a reflection of how social dynamics have affected you. As knee-jerk as they feel, your responses can, with work, be interrupted. You can make choices about how you go forward. Saying ‘no—I was unhappy in those hallways and I don’t want to revisit them’ is a healthy response, perhaps even a first step, and you should not feel guilty about making it,” Dr. Laura concluded.
Real good friend of mine in high school was really smart but liked drugs a bit too much. Nothing major, just weed, but back then it was considered a Big Deal.
After high school I went into the military and he joined his dad’s biker “club” and started running drugs and other unsavory things. He did a short stint in prison (not jail) and when he got out he moved, disowned his dad, and tried to fly straight. But it just didn’t take. He fell off the wagon and even though he didn’t turn back to crime, he couldn’t keep a job and became homeless.
How do I know all of this? When we had to put my mom into a nursing home we had an estate sale. Tony’s (yes, that’s his real name) mom was there. I asked about him and she broke down in tears. Apparently it had been almost a decade since anyone had asked about him or cared enough to see how he was doing. She said he’s still homeless and living (as far as she knew) in the same city I live in. I tried to find him even though I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to help or what kind of trouble I was setting myself up for, but I couldn’t locate him.
Image credits: Edrondol
Currently a student in this situation. Had all the former graduates from the year prior come home. One kid, who used to drive me to school started his own company out of his dorm and hit it big (household name within a year). Guy ended up dropping out soon after. One of the nicest guys I know. Shoutout to you Nick.
Image credits: LevinZa20
Not a teacher, but here’s a story: I avoided my high school reunion but because I didn’t attend, I was contacted by an old friend who had hoped to see me there. While catching up, he asked if I had heard what happened to my old bully and gave me a few minutes to google the lady.
The first google hit was about her being arrested for having sex with a student. I laughed my a*s off until I read that she was employed at a middle school. I stopped laughing and started calling my family. My sister told me that when she was a sophomore, my bully’s brother confided in her that the kids in their family were routinely sexually abused by their extremely “religious” father.
Basically, in twenty minutes I went from not remembering that this girl existed, to remembering how shitty she treated me, to feeling schadenfreude at her failures, then utter repulsion and disgust, then heartbreak and sadness at the cycle of abuse. I would have rather just carried on not remembering that she existed.
Image credits: anon
Not a teacher, but someone in my high school class did a complete 360. I’m from a small a*s country town where you either worked at Walmart or drive a truck. Either way you were hooked on something.
When I graduated I got the hell out via the military. Kept in touch with some family and 1-2 friends. Couple years later and I run across this guy from my school in the middle of Iraq. He had also signed up and was doing really well for himself. Swapped info and kept in touch for a few years. I got tired of Facebook and deleted my account so I lost contact with him.
About 10 years later, my parents are visiting me and catching me up on local happenings. Ask my mom if she remembers this guy, and her gossip went to an 11. Apparently after he got out he had PTSD and turned to drinking and it wrecked his life. Had a few DUI’s, couple baby momas, and I think a meth problem (mother tends to embellish so not sure how accurate).
Always felt bad for him because we both did the same thing to get outta our home town. He really got the short end.
Image credits: panjier
I’m a middle school teacher of over ten years so some of my students are high school and college graduates at this point. I’m happy to say that a good number of them have reached out to me to share life stories and updates.
The one student that comes to mind was confidentially suicidal from a broken home with identity issues. She came to me for help and we found spoken word poetry as an outlet for her emotions, anxiety and discovery of self-worth. She is currently returning to school to finish her associates degree and she was the first in her family to graduate HS. I get updates from her on my birthday each year. She still writes and performs spoken word poetry in her spare time.
Image credits: Dsgorman
At my 20th reunion: All the “hot girls” had NOT aged well. Most had been smokers and they looked at least 20 years older than they were. Also had a few people [pass away] in that time which was sad.
Image credits: mantrap2
A previous student of mine grew up in a horrible home situation. This individual was really smart and I did my best to help them apply/receive many scholarships and grants, and eventually went to an ivy league school to get away from their abusive home life. They made it big and I mean BIG – big time millionaire. Made their family jealous but in the end their hard work paid off. It was great to see and I was so proud of what they’d become.
Edit: The best thing was seeing them break the chain. The family had problems going back numerous generations and to see this generation change was all worth it.
Image credits: developingwaver
Not a teacher who gets invited to reunions, but one of the more popular kids in my graduating class ended up bypassing college and getting hooked pretty bad on hard drugs (probably heroin, given the stories.) Seemed to have gotten a little better, and we thought he was clean and then one day a few years ago his heart gave out. He was only 33.
Image credits: PopeliusJones
Had my 10 year in the past year. Lots of people came into town. During the actual reunion there was a lot of bragging and obvious flexing.
Fast forward to the end of the night and people are planning an after party. I end up going to it and the buzz that everyone had had at the primary event is replaced with sloppy drunkenness, and the previous boastfulness is replaced with them all confessing their insecurities: their health problems, their loveless marriages, that they hate their jobs and bosses. Was a bit awkward.
Image credits: Isiildur
Not a teacher, but just wanted to give a shout out to the girl that’s gonna “win” our high school reunion next year.
In HS, she was super quiet and… well, she was a bigger girl. She was tall too so it all compounded together. She’d try to shy away from any limelight but that was hard when she was like 8 inches taller than the rest of us.
Anyway, she’s lost like 80 pounds in the last couple of years, found a hair style that suits her so well (she would wear it long) and has just really hit her stride.
I want to say something, but I’m trying to maintain my total b***h status from HS so I’m not going to. (Kidding… I just don’t want to be that person that comments on weight even though I know she worked hard for it and probably wants people to say something.)
Image credits: jurassicpark4life
A frustrating thing as a teacher is not being able to remember all the kids you’ve taught. I’ve taught roughly 150 kids a year for 15 years, so it becomes hard to remember specific things about every student. I feel like a d-bag when a kid who really enjoyed my class comes up and asks me questions about life or the class he/she was in and I can’t remember much about it. I’ve found that I usually remember high achieving/creative students or kids who were badly behaved (as I have a soft spot for these kids). Since I usually remember the badly behaved kids I have noticed that most of them figured it out by the time they reach 30. Most have great jobs and are well adjusted. Conversely, many of the high achieving students end up dropping out of college and are working low-wage jobs. I don’t believe that high school is much of an indicator of future success. As long as you graduate high school and attempt college, how you performed in high school will not be that important.
Image credits: Thechosendick
Our genuis IQ class valedictorian became an alcoholic bank teller.
Image credits: SharpenedChopsticks
I taught biology and this one student who was really smart but hung out with a bunch of bad apples. Like they made fun of him for getting straight A’s so much that he would purposely try to score lower so he would fit in more. I pulled him aside and laid it out to him like WTF are you doing! Your so called friends are all jealous of your skills and intellect so don’t waste it to impress people who don’t give a f**k about you! Yes broke professionalism by cursing and gave him the raw details because this guy was just that smart! He waved me down at his reunion and told me he was accepted into the Sophie Davis Duo BS/MD program! I wasn’t the only one to yell at him but I like to think I helped push him to not be a burnout like his “friends”
Image credits: Foxlust
I sat beside this girl Joni in grade 8. She was so smart and really pretty. She would always finish the year with like 95 averages even as high as 98 in some subjects. I was a hooligan that’s why I was seated next to her. She would help me with stuff always let me copy her homework peek at tests. There’s no way I would have passed without her. The teacher would always say you’ll never get anywhere if you just copy Joni all the time. She works the drive thru at a&w now. has a herd of children with some skeezy looking dude who’s in and out of jail. Breaks my heart when I see her..so much potential to end up flipping burgers I always wonder where it went wrong for her.
Image credits: Canofsplode
Two girls I thought would go nowhere ended up inventing post-it notes.
Image credits: rocktogether
Not a teacher, but still a story of how my good friend, J, transformed into a better human.
I met J in highschool. He was 15/16 i was 18/19. Whilst he was a lot younger then, he behaved a lot older than he was so it never bothered me. He was a mess of a human though. By 15 he was kicked out of 3 schools, smoked weed all day everyday. I believe he had run ins with the police, but I’m not 100% sure. This went on until after I left our hometown for university.
He had this gift though, the gift of the gab (for those who don’t understand, he’s a fantastic conversationalist). He was incredibly outgoing, handsome (think tall Danish blonde dude) and could connect with just about anyone. If we went to a party, I would send him in first for 10 minutes, then join and meet the people he met.
I can’t recall how much education he actually completed. I think he just finished his highschool, but dropped out of college. Despite this, he managed to land a job as a business rep (or something, business makes little sense to me) by literally walking into his interview, telling the interviewer his education didn’t matter because he knew exactly how to sell s**t. He got the job, and now he travels around the world for work selling his company’s product.
He still is a mess of a human to my own definition, but at least he seems to have found a purpose, and I am so proud of him.
Image credits: acidsh0t
Again, I am not a teacher but a 35 year old. I went to high school in Venezuela, I left the country when I was 17 and never saw any of them until what you might call a “virtual reunion” on facebook a few years back. The reason I got to even know they had a group? The guy everyone knew bullied me was [hit] and [unalived] by his best friend at the time. Apparently he kept being a bastard after graduating and thus that was the end result. Besides that, most of my classmates moved from the country due to the crisis. Those who stayed are having a bad time, like everyone else in the country. It is weird seeing them in facebook in random countries and doing things which I would never expect from them as a teen. One is a cook in Sweden, other is an MMA fighter in California, one is an accountant in Australia, plenty have middle class lives in other South American countries. Simply interesting
Image credits: mundotaku
In my highschool they used some of the class reps as volunteers in order to organize this 10 year meeting. My at that time class master told me that a super good looking woman(she was 29 back then, I was 17 and damn she was top 3 woman I’ve ever seen in my life) was one of the dirtiest student she ever had. She would not shower for days and at some point she was out of school for a week or so because she got a really bad infection from her period and lack of showers.
Also one of the smartest guys from that generation, who went to veterinary school was convicted for selling some sort of animals drugs to people and used some on himself. He seemed super normal, but when he spoke you could tell that there were some clicks in his brains that were not connecting at all. Losing the idea in the middle of the sentence, couldn’t keep the voice at the same tone for more than 10 seconds, going from whispering to shouting and stuff.
Image credits: Nope6621
I’m late to the party and will get buried, but here goes nothing. Not a teacher (well technically I am, but this is a story from my reunion) but at my school reunion everyone from my class was doing as well as or better than could be expected, except for one guy, let’s call him John.
At school John was a smart kid, well mannered, pretty quiet and taller than anyone else. We were actually pretty good friends at the time, but lost touch after a while (this was before social networks). I know he went to University to study Computer science, and the last thing I heard about him was that he had gotten married and had 2 kids.
Anyways, I was looking forward to seeing him and finding out what he was up to for the past 15 years, but he didn’t show up. Later the teacher told us that she tried to contact him, but no one knows where he is. He left one day to go to work and never came back. No bodies have been found, he hasn’t contacted his wife or sister, he simply vanished into thin air. I tried finding him online numerous times, but to no avail. I still try from time to time.
I just hope he is safe and well.
Image credits: lopaticaa
Not the teacher, and not the full “school reunion” either – I’m not sure if those even still happen since facebook is a thing?
But a group I hung out with of nerds like me in high school wanted to get back together and play death match Quake – LAN party style like we did as kids. I’m effectively a loser with no social life and I’m scared of people, but this I thought I could handle, so I went.
They ask me to pick up “Joe” on the way to the party. And I do.
Joe was out of shape when we were kids, like a pudgy kid, that was all that was really ‘wrong’ with him. He was smart, well kept, and rich as f**k – like dad owned a restaurant franchise rich. Not like one of the locations, like, the entire company.
We always had the parties at his house.
We didn’t bring our own computers, cause he just had basically a lab we all played at.
So I was a bit curious why we weren’t repeating something like that. Not that I cared, I have my own lab (not rich though) so we could have all had a computer. But we went to another dude’s house, and who cares, everyone brings a laptop now anyhow…
Anyways, pick up “Joe” from a really sketchy looking house. Really surprised.
Dude comes out of the place really really big and really really dirty looking. Clothes were dirty and tattered. Looked like he had dirt in his greasy hair, and he had to be 300 or 350 pounds. He was big. Hardly fit in my car.
Almost immediately he tells me his dad died. Then he ran the company into the ground, gambled away most of the money, invested it in stupid things, etc. And basically he tells me inside of a car ride how he blew something ridiculous like 100 million bucks. Whole thing made me sick and sad.
Image credits: billbapapa
I was a huge a*****e in highschool to all of my teachers and was a regular in detention. I even pissed one teacher off so bad that he exploded and told me I would never amount to anything in life. He was also my volleyball coach so I got on his nerves often. After high school I was planning on joining the military to try to find direction in life but applied for college instead since my grades were half decent. Got into Penn State and joined ROTC and am now a graduate of an aerospace engineering degree and attending pilot training as a 2lt. Went back to visit and that teacher was shocked.
Image credits: anon
Mine is next year and honestly the reason I really want to go is so I can show my classmates how much nicer I am now. I was really arrogant and mean in high school and pretty much devoid of empathy, but life since then has really turned me around.
Image credits: sssasssafrasss
Not a teacher but I’m still in contact with most of my highschool class. One girl was deemed to be a famous actress someday because she was “such a great actor.” I think she’s a nanny right now, or works in a restaurant, never did get a role outside of college.
She’s the only one that somewhat failed after school. All the teachers doted on her and built her up to be something big, which really made her ego awful to be around, and now she doesn’t really do anything.
Edit: being a nanny or waitress is a great job and both can be very difficult. I posted this because she was a jerk to people because she thought she already had it made and then after college never got anywhere with it. With the “somewhat failed” part was bad wording on my part, everyone else seemed to follow what they wanted to do with their life after school except for her.
Image credits: LindseyLee5
Not a teacher but we just had our reunion.
There was this one dude who was just… not even geeky… but just odd. Always trying to fit in and never quite managing it. He had a couple popular friends though so most times he could use that as a way in. I remember at graduation he was just approaching random groups of people trying to start conversations and was just super unsuccessful at it. And I was a huge geek myself… so if this dude appeared socially inept to ME of all people, he was super socially inept. Because I was too inept myself to notice stuff like this unless it was bad.
Anyways he’s on all the bus benches around me now because he’s the MLA for an area close to me now. The first time I saw it I was like WTF?!?!? Like there’s no way this kid could have gotten people to vote for him. I guess even the most socially inept can grow up and thrive.
But here I am still as socially inept as I was in high school lol.
Image credits: Gogogadgetskates
Not my story but my mother’s.
Back in elementary school or something my mom had a best friend. They were friends for years. Turns out, this girls mom would always say “you should be more like (moms name). She’s so polite”. This made my moms friend very angry and jealous of my mom. She had stopped hanging out with my mom. all of a sudden, my moms ex-friend told everyone to beat my mom up. They all agreed but my mom got a teacher. At their 50 year reunion, the woman who did that to my mom saw her. She ran up to my mom sobbing her eyes out telling her how sorry she was for what she did and hugged her. My mom forgave her right away.
Image credits: anon
We had one dude show up at our 20 year reunion and shock everyone!!!
He was ripped and really charming but in high school he was hella overweight and not popular at all.
He was really well off and had girls frothing after him everywhere he went. I think he had a job with the FBI or CIA or something.
He was even now best friends with our old high school prom king – Calvin Joiner, or as we called him back in the day “the golden jet”!
Image credits: stirringlion
Not a teacher but my class valedictorian is an unemployed, broke alcoholic who has returned to my hometown and lives in his deceased mother’s home. We were friends and I knew all along that he was masking some pretty deep insecurities. All he can talk about are high school “glory days”. It’s heartbreaking
Image credits: turkeyman4
Not a teacher, but a semester after we graduated, my valedictorian and class president kinda s**t it. He dropped out of a full-ride to the tier 1 university we both went to, started drinking and doing drugs heavily, and got arrested. It was very sad, especially because he was the kid who never drank or smoked and went to parties just to hang out with people. Really sweet dude.
I personally believe it was because of the kinda farm-life-beer-and-bonfire lifestyle we all had and the friends he made in our senior year. The first homecoming we all went to was the first time I had ever seen him wasted, and he was drinking with all the high schoolers that whole weekend. It just made me a little sad to see him get dragged out of the life that he almost had.
Image credits: SneakyShooty