Today we’d like to introduce you to Angie Riquelmy.
Angie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
GradsReunite started in 2005 after volunteering to help plan my own 20-year reunion. We started with a large, well-intentioned, committee and as time went on, and life happened, the committee dwindled down to a couple of people. At the time I was owner and publisher of a community publication and had strong relationships with my advertisers, many of whom are venues or vendors and still work with me now to make sure our events are personalized and memorable for each class.
We have since organized reunions for several class years from Katy HS, James E. Taylor HS, Mayde Creek HS, Lamar Consolidated HS, Clear Lake HS, Clear Creek HS, Royal HS, Conroe HS, Northbrook HS, Spring Woods HS, and Stratford HS. We also worked with Concordia University to organize an entire weekend of alumni events. One of our most popular reunions was a four day, multi-class reunion cruise to the Mexican Riviera.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Every business goes through bumps in the road, ours is no exception. It’s not easy to track down hundreds of alumni from each class, especially females who may have married or divorced and have changed their surnames. However, the biggest struggle came when I lost my high school sweetheart, husband of 27 years, and business partner due to complications from the flu. We had just started booking two schools per weekend and were booked all summer.
Luckily, friends and family stepped up and helped me every step of the way. I’ve never felt more blessed to be part of such a caring community as Katy. We aren’t just about football; we truly look out for each other and are ready to help someone in need. One of the biggest blessings from that time were the condolences, delivered meals, flowers, cards, and general support from every single class whose reunion we had organized.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with GradsReunite – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I strive to stay connected with my community and the schools whose reunions we organize. We are often contacted to help reach alumni with school or school district news or to reunite a long-lost senior ring or letterman jacket with its owner. These relationships also help to add special touches to each event.
We have had cheerleaders greet reunion goers as they arrive at their event, school mascots make appearances for photo ops, been able to include special guests such as former principals and faculty, and have been able to procure some wonderful memorabilia to display at the reunions. We also give the opportunity to senior high school photography students the chance to get real-world experience by photographing our events. We choose from the photography teacher’s nominations, pay the student for their time, and give them a letter of recommendation.
One of my goals, since I started GradsReunite, was to award a scholarship to a graduating senior each year. We finally reached that goal in 2013. My late husband was able to be at the first presentation. Since then, I have renamed the GradsReunite Scholarship to the GradsReunite Alan Riquelmy Memorial Scholarship which is currently awarded to a student from our alma mater, Katy High School. However, as the company continues to grow, so will the scholarship opportunities.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Future plans include, but are not limited to, adding more schools and universities to our list, definitely more reunion cruises, and exploring new ways to benefit the schools we serve through alumni support. We are also hopeful the GradsReunite Alan Riquelmy Memorial Scholarship will evolve to include awards at more schools.
- Depending on the committee’s choices, tickets run $55-$80. This is far below the national average of $100 pp for a class reunion ticket.