The Copperas Cove High School class of 1998 held a two-day reunion in Killeen and Copperas Cove last weekend.
Attendees from near and far rekindled friendships and watched a virtual tour of their high school narrated by Paula Dowdy.
The reunion was also open to other CCHS classes.
“One of the cool things about Cove is you don’t have to graduate together to hang out together. ... We had people from ’95, ’96, ’97 and ’99 that came and hung out with us too,” said April Harris.
On July 6, the crew had its adult-night at Galaxy Bar & Grill in Killeen. Saturday afternoon, family and friends gathered at the Fester House stage area in Copperas Cove City Park for a barbecue.
“You don’t go to classes just with your grade. So, it’s silly to do parties just for your grade,” Harris said.
Dieter Gayfield and Harris decorated the park pavilion located near the basketball court and co-hosted the event. Alumni paid $20 to attend and $5 per person. Funds covered food and city pool admission.
“Some people stayed in Texas, but a lot of us left. I think it’s important to remember where you come from and to maintain those friendships and relationships,” said Blush and Whimsy founder and CEO Micaela Brown, the jet setter of her class.
The three main reunion coordinators live in different states.
Dowdy stayed in Texas, Harris moved to Georgia and Gayfield lives in Colorado. They used Facebook to plan the reunion with their class.
“Thankfully, Facebook allows people that are long distances to stay in touch, because we’ve done all of our planning on Facebook,” Harris said.
Harris said all their phone numbers aren’t shared among all the alumni.
“Thank goodness we know how to respond to each other’s messages,” Gayfield said.
During the planning process, the class wanted to support local businesses started by those who graduated in their class.
“Everybody wanted the food to be by somebody from our class. We wanted to make sure that the classmates are getting recognition and props for their success,” Harris said. “If they can live here and have a business, more power to them.”
Dieter added to that sentiment, praising them for being local and “still holding down and representing the city.”
Jamie Myers owns Galaxy Bar & Grill, a Star Wars-themed restaurant.
Robert McDowell’s Big Dog BBQ food truck catered the family function. Both graduated from Cove High in 1998.
“When I graduated high school, I thought I was going to work in construction,” said Robert McDowell. “I learned the restaurant business from my family.”
The reunion gave local alumni a chance to see their out-of-state classmates and rekindle relationships.
“The Facebook generation hit right after we graduated, but we were young enough to embrace technology. We stalk each other a lot on Facebook, but seeing each other in person is a lot better than just the digital world,” Brown said.
For some attendees, the reunion did not create new bonds. They enjoyed reconnecting with friends from that era.
“Since I stayed in the area, I’ve made more friends that I didn’t know I went to high school with through work or through volunteering,” said Raymond Payne.
Jessica Poirier is a 1998 graduate who moved to Colorado. She does not have family in Copperas Cove.
The class reunion gave her a reason to visit.
“You create a lot of memories as a kid. I wanted to see what it was like. Copperas Cove still looks like a small town,” Poirier said. “A lot of people go back to their hometowns, and it looks completely different.”