Survivors of High School Share Their Most Dramatic Class Reunion Stories

Christine Tran

In a post-Facebook world, why have a high school reunion? Bragging about our grown-up achievements just feels better in person, I guess. We’re expected to grow from our teenage selves, but how much? And who among us didn’t change at all from high school? From the burnouts to big men on campus going wrong, gossip to these stories about dramatic high school reunions.

1. Time is Money. Spare Me the Time?

As a graduate from high school in a meth-addled city in the south (actually featured on a list, placing #1 for most addicted city in Georgia), I can say that everyone who was successful left and stayed gone. According to the Facebook event page, like ten people went. Possibly related—who pays $60/ticket to hang out in a school gymnasium for their ten-year reunion??



2. A Star Is Graduated

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 someday. 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 into six degrees of Kevin Bacon!


3. The Higher They Are, The Harder They Fall

Not a teacher, but an interesting story nonetheless. The valedictorian of my graduating class lost his full ride to a state college after two quarters because of drinking and drugs. He grew up in a protected and very strict household. Once he left and got exposed to the temptations of life, he didn’t know how to handle it.

Last I heard he’s working odd jobs and is bumming around our hometown.


4. So You Don’t Like Finger Guitar

I was a pretty good kid at school, quiet and hardworking, never any trouble. My English teacher had a soft spot for me I think, almost paternal. Then I went to college, discovered heavy metal and marijuana, basically your typical adolescent rebellion. I went to a high school reunion after that, and my English teacher was there. His model pupil had turned into some 17-year-old parody of a Wayne’s World extra; heavy metal t-shirt and nose piercing.

He made some exasperated comment about my attire, but the look of sad disappointment he gave will remain with me for the rest of my days, as if I had somehow personally betrayed him.


5. Celebrity Cameo Time

I taught the famous guitarist John Mayer. After 10 years, he enters the reunion by busting down the double doors. Everybody was excited and shocked to see him. Then he climbs up on the tables and says, “You will know what all this time was for.” I still don’t know what that means to this day, but it seemed like he rehearsed it.

I was caught off-guard, but I just went with it. Great guy nonetheless!


6. Take a Chance on Yourself

My husband graduated from a fancy prep school. Literally, over 90% of his class are lawyers and doctors now. To his parents’ disdain, my husband became a professional poker player. Whenever he goes to reunions there’s a circle of these super successful doctors and lawyers around him because they’d rather listen to his stories.


7. It Always Comes Back to You

I went to my 10-year reunion. Back in high school, we had a kid who has Asperger’s 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 eighth 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.


8. True Beauty is Only Google Search Deep

In high school, I was pretty good friends with a guy that was a bit overweight, about 6’4″ tall, 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 through 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.


9. A Living Time Capsule

Not really a surprise, but the guy who used to bully me all the time is basically homeless. He refuses to go back to his parents (absolutely nothing wrong with them, he just never got out of the rebel teen phase) and spends his nights either couch surfing at a mate’s or sleeping on the streets if no one can take him in.

Any job he gets he stays at until he has enough money for whatever he wants at the time and then quits. Skates all the time and wants to go pro but spends all his time smoking weed and drinking then crying about how his life doesn’t go anywhere. People at the reunion were astounded that he had just…not changed one bit.

He still used the slang he used back then and even tried to get his old mates to tease me like they used to, but they didn’t because they’re all adults now with jobs and some even have kids. He was kicked out of the venue because he tried to pick a fight with the guy who laughed at him for how he was dressed (30-year-old man dressed as a teenager).

I think it’s important to note that this guy and I used to be close friends before he started bullying me. I know his parents weren’t horrible cause I saw his home life firsthand, and he’d lash out at them for simple things and treat them both like crap. The worst I can say about them is that they were pushovers when it came to punishing him.


10. In My Beginning Is the End

I have a few. One guy was this star pupil. Smart, handsome, athletic everything. Dating the head cheerleader. Some hallmark movie stuff. 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 the reunion and kills himself. Leaving behind two 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.


11. It’s Only Uphill from Here

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 associate’s 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.


12. Losing Yourself

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 eight inches taller than the rest of us.

Anyway, she’s lost like 80 pounds in the last couple of years, found a hairstyle 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 diva 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).


13. He Found a Sexier Calling

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.


14. Last Known Photo

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.


15. You’re Hard to Get a Hold Of…

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 we 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 two 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.


16. Give Me the Dirt

In my high school, they used some of the class reps as volunteers in order to organize this 10-year meeting. My 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 students 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 went to veterinary school was convicted for selling some sort of animal’s 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.


17. Mrs. Got Busy During Break Period

At a reunion, my English teacher told me not to be an English teacher. Then we started pounding wine, and I complimented her on her (then) recent publication of a romance novel. It was actually a great read. I commented that she had clearly been naughtier than I’d previously realized.


18. I Told You Cliques Were Dangerous

I went to my 20th about five years ago. The woman organizing the event had been in my class since third 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, whose email was from the url 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 offshoot of the NXIVM cult that has been all over the news.

The woman I was talking to, that I’d known since eight, was Lauren Salzman, who just this week plead guilty to holding two 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.


19. The Party Does Stop When I Walk In

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.


20. The Beast Found His Beauty

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 weenie 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 “Eff da police” You get the idea.

Come reunion time, which was some five 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.


21. Thank Goodness Your Teacher Reads the Papers

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.

He said he had no self-confidence, an 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. Afterward, 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. Four 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.


22. Best Friends for Never

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 shot and killed 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 on Facebook in random countries and doing things which I would never expect from them as a teen. One in 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.


23. From Ghouls to Gals

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 intelligent women came 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 teacher’s waist length hair and stole teachers’ cellphones only to bury them. They put on the janitor’s uniform to sneak out of school.

They 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, the school decided to lock down the building for nearly five 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 with great jobs abroad, but looking at them you would never think they could pull something off like that in their teens.


24. The Fall of a Queen

The popular girl showed up three hours late, completely zonked out of her mind on pills. She died a year and a half later from multiple organ failure. Seems like washing pills down with liquor for a decade plus is rough on the organs. The sad thing is that her parents continue to be in denial, and now her younger brother is going through the same thing.


25. Does It Always Get Better?

So, I went to a Catholic high school and, as you can imagine, the gay guy in our class was having a difficult time thriving in that environment. I wasn’t close with him but thought of him from time to time because I always felt like he was struggling. I see him at the 10-year reunion, and he seems AWESOME. He is so comfortable with himself, engaged, loving life, and even remembered me. I was like, darn, yes, this guy is a walking “it gets better” ad.

Less than a year later, I hear he committed suicide. Gutpunch.


26. Some Memory Files Can’t Be Recovered

I didn’t remember anyone’s names. No, you don’t understand me: I didn’t remember ANYONE’S FREAKING NAMES. I seriously recognized and remembered <10 people. And I wasn’t some antisocial hermit in high school…I mean yeah, I was kind of goth and hateful, but I certainly knew at least everyone in my graduating class’s first names by the time we all moved on.

But then 10 years passed, and it was like the whole thing was wiped from my memory. One of the women doing sign in, who had apparently been our senior class president, I could have sworn I’d never seen before in my life. I probably VOTED for this chick, but I had absolutely no recollection of her. Memory’s a weird thing.


27. Not All Stories Have a Conclusion

Mine was depressing. All of the people I admired in high school never amounted to anything…I mean absolutely NOTHING. We had one girl who graduated HS but already had her associate’s from the local Junior College. She was still living in our podunk town, not doing anything but breeding…The guys on my football team that I admired were either dead from drinking and driving, drugs, or war.

All of my friends from my circle were not doing well. Most were unemployed and struggling with substance abuse, and one in particular that I was close with, I found out later he was suicidal when he called me at 3 AM a few weeks later, and I had to talk him down and help him get help. I almost feel like I escaped some kind of prison that locks you into death, a substance problem, or just a dead-end life in that town…


28. The Stats Doesn’t Look Good, Buddy

Happy: Several students that either looked terrible in high school or were very awkward, looked fantastic and were very sociable at the reunion. (i.e. the girl with coke bottle glasses who never cut or styled her hair, looked very cute and stylish). Sad: Oh man, the deaths really hit harder because we were only 27 and just several years out of college. My class had something like five suicides, a DUI, and one cancer death.

I knew them all, but only previously heard about half of those deaths.


29. The Best Success Story Is Living Your Best Life

Not my story, but an alumnus from my fraternity at university whom I know quite well (he graduated in 2003). In high school, he was overweight, nerdy, lower class, and his extended family had multiple heroin addicts (more common than you’d think in Ohio). As you can probably guess, he had a rough life. No one seemed to acknowledge him, and he struggled in school because of personal issues holding him back.

When it came to college, he was rejected from everywhere but a community college. So, to community college he went. Because he wasn’t under his parents’ control at that point and he was surrounded by all new people, he got a job and a gym membership. He ended up getting in very good shape, and he aced all of his classes.

He decided to apply to universities so he could see where the journey would take him. He got a full tuition scholarship and a Pell grant, which covered the full cost of attending my school. He graduated in five years with two BS degrees and a Masters (took classes every summer to do that). Now he is a vice president of a very large clothing company.

He is my biggest inspiration and says that “No matter how much people try to hold you back, and even if you have to start from rock bottom, you can always make it to the top. You just need to stay motivated, have full dedication, and seek how to improve yourself every day both as a person and a professional.” His idea of the key to a successful life is to have good mental health, to always try to improve yourself, be proud of what you have, and to help others do the same.


30. Charmed to Survive It All

Not a teacher, but still a story of how my good friend, J, transformed into a better human. I met J in high school. He was 15/16, and I was 18/19. Whilst he was a lot younger than me, 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 three schools, smoked weed all day every day. 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 high school 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 stuff.

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.


31. No Revenge Like Out-Earning Your Roots

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 they 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.


32. Taking the High Road

I have been out of HS (all-girls school) for six years. At our five-year reunion, I caught up with a girl who was severely bullied during HS. She fell off a horse in grade eight while riding competitive and legit snapped her spine and was in a very intense back brace for her entire high school career….and my god, the other girls were so nasty to her.

She would get made fun of for her appearance, and there was an incident where someone filmed her in class without her knowledge and then edited the video to have all these sexual innuendos around her back brace and it was posted on Facebook. Our principal was also a horrible woman, and when the video got reported to the principal, the principal somehow blamed this girl instead of penalizing the bully.

She ended up having to stay back a year because her disability was so bad, and she couldn’t complete her schoolwork and was unable to graduate. She was incredibly religious as well and other girls used to make weird innuendo-laden jokes about her mom having to bathe her (because she couldn’t bathe herself due to her back brace).

Anyway, she’s now doing some fancy medical degree in the United Kingdom and is pain-free and out of the back brace. She looks amazing (healthy, glowing) and rigorously kicks ass at the gym every day to physically rehabilitate her body. The best part of the story is that she has absolutely no ill-will to the girls who bullied her.

It upset her at the time, but she didn’t let it scar her—she knew that her bullies were obviously insecure and dealing with some inner demons if they went out of their way to ruin her life. She felt bad for them more than anything. I run into her at the gym all the time and it’s so nice to see her so confident and thriving!


33. The Heir to Misfortune

A group of nerds—like me—that I hung out with in high school wanted to get back together and play deathmatch 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 heck—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, because 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.


34. School is the Real Scam

I refused to go to my 10-year reunion after our class president and treasurer decided to try and charge $170 a head to book this fancy place in a garden. Needed 100 people to book it of a class size of around 300. She got about 20 people. So instead of returning the money and picking something cheaper so we all could go, she pocketed the money and took her and her “friends” from high school out to an expensive all-day romp around San Francisco, shopping/dinner/drinks included.

To say people were pissed would be an understatement. Unsure if she returned the money. Everyone noped out of the class Facebook page after that stunt.


35. Book Smarts >> Street Smarts

I taught biology and this one student was really smart but hung out with a bunch of bad apples. Like they made fun of him for getting straight As 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 darn 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.”


36. Breaking the Cycle

A student of mine went through a really tough time. His dad was actually convicted of attempted murder on his mother during his time at school, which sent the mom into 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 master’s 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.


37. Not Enough Kisses to Return This Toad Into a Prince

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 relations 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 five years desperately messaging girls from HS, trying to say, “Hey I can have intercourse 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” two 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 intercourse he ever had.

So, at the reunion, he came wearing a white t-shirt with the words “F*** 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 behavior.


38. A Falling Star

I don’t know if this counts, but the hardest thing for me is finding out about the students who die. I’ve lost so many students to gun violence it’s just absolutely insane. I was at the store the other day, and I saw a young man who looked like one of my former students and it took me a few seconds to realize it couldn’t possibly be him because my former student was dead. What a horrible realization, right?

The one that broke me though was a really great kid. Super sweet, star athlete, special ed but was determined to overcome his difficulties and go to college. He wrote this short response about not reading super well, and I had lent him a book telling him it was like being an athlete: he had to practice to get better. He carried it around in his backpack. He was shot in the middle of the school year and it just broke my heart.

I’ve never really cried at school or in front of my students, but I lost my stuff that day. Twice. Once in the main office and once in my classroom after I thought my kids had left. One kid saw me and came and put his arm around me to comfort me. I still think of that. Anyway, I went to the young man’s funeral and couldn’t bring myself to go to the casket.

I think of him every year on the anniversary of his death. Just terrible.


39. Sharing the Hurt

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 hooked up with a student.

I laughed my butt 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 bad 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.


40. A Special Education

My mom used to be a teacher for children with severe learning disabilities. By severe, I mean the majority of students she taught could barely do anything for themselves. Now she’s retired, but one day we were in the supermarket when a lady comes up to my mom and hugs her. She seems a bit surprised at first and asks if they know each other, and it turns out she used to be in her class.

We get in the car and mom instantly breaks down in tears, after a few minutes she explains to me that 20 years ago, that lady had been unable to speak, walk, or even go to the bathroom by herself. And yet there she was, out on her own, talking to us and doing her own grocery shopping. What probably made my mom cry was that after so long and accomplishing so much, this girl actually remembered her old teacher.


41. From Book Smarts to the Streets

I sat beside this girl Joni in grade eight. 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. She 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.


42. Mother Not-So-Dearest

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 of years after graduation: she did have children, who she then suffocated when they were three 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.


43. I Feel Like Biology Was Probably Not Her Top Subject Back in High School…

When I was like six I went to my dad’s small town 30-year reunion. His ex-fiancé (not my mom) was dressed in her prom dress. And kept talking to me saying she should have been my mommy. Even then I knew that was weird. Keep your crazy in, lady.


44. Sometimes, One Guy Can Ruin It For Everyone Else

I went to my wife’s last reunion a few months ago. The day of the reunion she got a call saying that it was canceled. Apparently, five years earlier a classmate got creepy and stalkery with another classmate. The people organizing the reunion invited him, expecting him not to show up. Then the guy posted some vague threats on his social media accounts.

They did actually change the venue and have the reunion, but there were many people that couldn’t be contacted with the updated info.


Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

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