History of this Website

History of our AC Pasadena Website

Some of you have wondered how this website started - the why, the when and the how.  It is a fascinating journey that we want to share.

The beginnings were in June 2011 when Bill Hughes learned that Joe Bauer, who began our AC band in the fall of 1964, was diagnosed with lung cancer.  Bill, along with Carol Stephenson Taylor, both band members from that era, tried to find band members for a reunion with Joe.  This was difficult since our classmates were spread around the globe and there were no organized lists or sources.  By the time many band members were contacted, Joe took a turn for the worse and died in December 2011.  Joe had worked in Las Vegas for years and wanted this reunion to be at the Orleans Hotel in Las Vegas.  Plans went ahead for a reunion in February 2013 at the Orleans, sadly without Joe.  About 65 attended; many were band members, but others came as well.  At this small reunion, the group eagerly wanted to have another reunion in Pasadena two years from then in 2015.  Bob Gerringer volunteered to spearhead the effort if Carol Stephenson (Taylor) would continue her involvement, which she did.  At this reunion Jean Ehlert (Updegraff) and Cledice Decker volunteered to be on the committee.

It was a daunting task to find as many classmates as possible.  Our committee decided to opt for a reunion with the targeted time frame of the first 30 years 1947-1977, which represented very close to half of the total students to attend AC Pasadena through its closing in 1990.  Jean Ehlert (Updegraff) had most of the Envoys and began the tedious and time-consuming job of compiling a complete student database using all available Envoys and supplemented by other source material. The initial database of about 3,500 AC Pasadena students 1947-1977 was created within two months, sent to Bob in April 2013, and then, with the assistance of many, we began to search for these classmates. (Since then, and partly to help any possible future AC reunion endeavors, Jean compiled databases for all campuses and all years of AC  with over 13,000 students, out of over 14,000 listed as the “official” count.) 

Next, we needed a website.  Carol Stephenson (Taylor) had learned earlier that Big Sandy, through the efforts of Big Sandy student Tom Williams and his wife Nancy, had begun using a website template in April 2011 which they “leased” from a company called Class Creator.  Carol then did the initial Pasadena website set-up on a trial basis through ClassCreator, including our Home Page design, and then she showed it to Bob with a strong recommendation to use it. She appreciated its power, functionality, and flexibility, and Bob agreed. 

After Bob configured and tailored the Class Creator product, our website launched in May 2014, a little over a year after we began our journey to compile our database of classmates.  Our Introductory email was sent February 5, 2014, announcing our plans for a Pasadena Reunion to be held at the Pasadena Hilton February 27- March 2, 2015.  All this was finalized less than a year from our “trainee” reunion in Las Vegas February 2013 to the completion of the database and primary reunion details for the next reunion.

The fruits of the planning and website paid off:  406 attended that 2015 reunion in Pasadena.  Two days after that reunion ended, Bob launched the General Message Forum on March 4, 2015.  That month 97 classmates submitted one or more posts with a total of 191 posts in March.  In the first five years over 330 individuals have submitted over 23,0000 total posts on a variety of topics, and with a variety of viewpoints. 

That is the why and when of our website’s beginnings until now.  But what about the how?

With the decision to go to ClassCreator for its highly reviewed reunion software, Bob Gerringer with his technical expertise customized the software to fit our specific needs and desires.  He is the primary contact with the company and is our design person, handling the Home Page layout and what tabs and content are available.  Jean Ehlert (Updegraff) inputted the database, handles the main database questions, and compiles the statistics.  Cledice Decker handles the In Memory section. (Eileen McKinley was our treasurer since March 2014 handling the finances, including accounting, banking, and payments handled through our website for our reunions (2015 in Pasadena, 2017 in Las Vegas and a one-day reunion in Pasadena in 2019).  

Some may have wondered how we have funded this website.  When we began paying Class Creator to use and tailor their generic website in March 2014, we purchased a subscription for a year at the highest Platinum level with extra features and full support.  We were impressed with their product's power and functions and since we knew that we wanted the website to continue, we extended the subscription for another two years until March 2018.

And then, for one day only, Class Creator offered a fantastic "Black Friday" deal in 2016 for one third off, provided we purchased a ten-year extension, and, shortly thereafter, prices were slated to increase significantly.  We just could not pass up the offer and quickly secured the extra decade. Thus, we now have the highest Platinum level with full support until March 2028.  These purchases were funded through the generous donations of our classmates prior to the two reunions – and we have received tremendous value for our investment.  Big Sandy also took advantage of a special offer at about the same time, and so their website is also endowed for another 10 years.

It was our goal to provide the platform for a continuing "virtual reunion," and that is what has happened.  But be warned, in late 2027 we will be hitting you all up for donations to extend for another ten years*:) happy.

Using ClassCreator was a great choice for us as a multi-use website.  Those who have joined the website can reconnect with other classmates who have joined, learn where life’s journey has taken our classmates, catch up with friendships as well as make new friendships. 

Over 860 of our 1947-1977 Pasadena students have joined our website which represents about 29% of classmates still alive. In addition, about 90 Guests have joined, including some who were Big Sandy and Bricket Wood students.  Over one-third of those who have joined visit the website each month.  We do keep track of those In Memory and sadly we have over 440 in that category.

The General Message Forum, now over five years old, is the most active part of our website with many posts per day on a variety of topics and with differing opinions rendered.   January 2020 was a record month with 911 posts submitted by 69 individuals.  Since the Forum’s inceptionover 330 individuals have submitted at least one post.  As well, many have used the “private message” feature where they can confidentially send an email to someone else who has joined.  Thus, the General Message Forum posts are not the only indicator of how active the website and Forum is. 

If you have already joined the website, make time to tour its many aspects.  If you have not joined and are a classmate of Pasadena through 1977, find your name in the “Classmate Profiles” tab at the top of the Home Page (the names are listed alphabetically by entering year), and follow the prompts in the tab “How to Join this Website.”  If you want to be a guest, please contact us through the “Contact Us” tab.

We hope you enjoy this website and appreciate what the many aspects of what it has to offer.

   -- Jean Ehlert (Updegraff) (P 1964-1968)

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