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Our Happy Reunion

by Tom Kertes

Until just a scant few weeks ago, the "good old days" of school were not much more than distant flashes in the receding corners of our memories for most of us. The high school yearbook was gathering dust on some obscure shelf in the back, the "lifelong" best friend from the football team moved away, way out of your life, into safe obscurity Even that girl you had such a huge crush on is doing who knows what.

But no longer. As of Feb. 16, 2000, the launch of the brand new Internet website OurYearbook. com could be taking care of every single one of these sadly forgotten situations.

"We are the website that will bring all those things, all those days wonderfully alive once again," co-founder Ellie Manko says. "We hope to be the Internet community for high schools, elementary schools, colleges, grad schools, parents, students, and educators. By placing class reunions, yearbooks, clubs, teams, and school newspapers online, we will turn them into a living, breathing, ever-changing, and always-evolving experience once again.", integrated with,, OurSchoolTeam. com, and, is the brainchild of CEO and founder Donald Newman, an artist, computer wizard, and onetime co-founder of SONICNET, a highly successful 1993 website that dealt with independent music. "Creating, Donald wanted to create something artistic, timely, and of lasting human value at the same time," Ms. Manko said. "And I think he succeeded famously."

Basically, and its sister sites aim to recreate and revitalize your school days by digitizing your school yearbook and host it online, for free, for fifty years, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The company works hand-in-hand with schools, faculty, and students to always keep the yearbook up-to-date and full of new content. "It should serve as an amazing base not just to revitalize memories and reconnect old friends but also in networking for current resources and vital services for students, alumni, and their schools," Ms. Manko says. "Friends will have a way to stay in touch, new connections will be networked, and new resources will be created all at the same time, by capturing audio, video, and real-time events. What was once not much more than a dry paper and ink document can now be a living, breathing community of past and present students. And a real home for students of the future." Our, for instance, will host and sponsor class reunions, and allow absent alumni to interact with classmates live online through video or web casting. The site will also provide a permanent online homeroom for all alumni." The young, indeed practically newborn, already has 25 employees, "a very diverse group that's spread all over the country," according to Ms. Manko. "I think we'll be here, very successful, for a long, long time," she says. "

Our brand value-and in a very genuine way it is the thing that really drives us-is our profound belief that 'peoples' lives are important'. So I think we can't help but succeed." To receive a free application kit from or any of its sister sites, call Meredith Weiss at 415-668-1158. #

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