In a close-knit community where everybody knows everybody, Kaylin DeDiana thought it would be nice to bring together members of Hastings’ three high school Classes of 2009 for a good cause.

A graduate of St. Cecilia’s eight-grade class of 2005, she attended Hastings High the following school year, leaving behind friendships she had hoped to revisit someday. Having also rubbed elbows with students at Adams Central at athletic events and school dances, she thought it would be a blast to reunite the three classes for one night under one roof for one cause: To raise money and awareness for Crossroads Center Rescue Mission.

Thanks to the collaborative efforts of alums from all three schools, the 10-year reunion event is now set for Saturday.

School tours will be offered at 10 a.m. at Hastings High, 10:30 a.m. at St. Cecilia; and 1 p.m. at Adams Central (1:30 p.m. at Adams Central Elementary), followed by a gathering for the three classes from 5-9 p.m. at C-3 Hotel and Convention Center in Hastings.

Tickets and raffle ticket proceeds will be donated to Crossroads to assist in the agency’s current expansion project. Items up for auction (most donated by area businesses) include: Packages from Custom Pack, Wink Boutique, Mr. Sparkle’s Cleaning Services, Omaha Steaks, passes to Hastings Museum, massage gift certificate, and cash pot. Donations for the raffle can be made by contacting DeDiana by email at classreunions2009@gmail.com. Ticket purchases can also be made through the same email address.

As it is a fundraiser, the event is open to the public. DeDiana said she hopes that distinction will increase attendance by bringing together even more people anxious to reconnect with friends from the three classes while also boosting donation potential.

Joining in the collaborative planning effort from their respective 2009 classes are: Jimmy O’Keefe, president, and Crysta Chalupa, class secretary, St. Cecilia; April (Niederklein) Rostvet and Sara Bohlen, Adams Central; and Caleb Northrop, Hastings High class president.

“I was vice president of my high school, so I knew I needed to plan a reunion this year and was just daunted by the idea of doing it myself,” DeDiana said. “When I started thinking about it, it sounded like it would be a lot of fun to see all my old St. Cecilia classmates and also to have a partner in planning it so it wasn’t just completely on me.

“It’s been great. It’s been really nice to have people to bounce ideas off and keep me accountable. I hope we raise a ton of money for Crossroads to support something good and to shine the light on homelessness in our community.”

Response to the tri-reunion has been enthusiastic, with more than 150 people already committed to attending, DeDiana said. That said, the idea of bringing the three classes together for a single celebration left more than a few of those contacted scratching their heads at first.

“A lot of people were confused why a reunion is a tri-city event,” she said. “I just explained to them how I needed help organizing it. All in all, I think people are really excited. I remember our classes all getting along really well from middle school on.

“The friendships always seemed to stand beyond the schools. We all kind of ran in similar circles. Although it is unusual, I think people are excited to reconnect.”

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