Ever wanted to attend your 10th year high school reunion and see how much others have changed over the years, but wasn’t sure about it? In this article, 28 adults share the biggest, and most surprising, transformation they saw at their high school reunion.
[Source can be found at the end of the article]
1. Quiet kid turned famous
One kid was fairly small, quiet and goofy. Nice kid, but nothing too special about him. We hung out a few times at speech/drama tournaments.
I had wondered what happened to him. Turns out he grew quite a lot and became quite popular. His acting career took him far. He’s been in several huge films, including X-Men.
We knew him as Jimmy. Today he goes by a more mature name of James – James Marsden.
I hope he’s still a cool, goofy guy deep down that I remember from the few times we hung out.
2. A tale of twin sisters
One was a straight A student and a perfect angel, who is now 90 pounds, and just finished her 4th stint in rehab for drugs. The one who was a trouble maker and constantly in trouble even arrested a few times for drugs and shop lifting while in high school, is a doctor with a family.
3. The old football buddy
My boyfriend went to his 10 year over the weekend. Saw this overly made up woman he didn’t know. Turned out to be one of his old football buddies… So, I’d say that was a very big transformation.
4. The vampire classmate
On the flip side I know someone who hasn’t aged since high school. No extra fat, no wobbles, no gray hair, nothing. Even his voice is the same at thirty as it was at fourteen. I’m pretty sure he’s a vampire.
5. The happiest person ever
One of my neighbors growing up was that super motivated Type A do everything types. Co-valedictorian, captain of the hockey team, gifted musician just always working.
10 year reunion, went just how we all expected. Full ride to Yale, Harvard MBA, six figure Wall Street job, gorgeous fiance and he seemed utterly miserable.
10 years later, 20th reunion. He got sick of it all, quit his job, sold his house, got divorced, and got out of town. He now owns a pig farm in Upstate New York, spends his days working the farm, brewing beer, and hiking in the forest and I’ve never met a happier, more satisfied person in my life.
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6. Some people change for the better
The kid who was stealing motorcycles and selling them for parts is now a police officer. He was never accused or convicted of course but I knew that for a fact. Let’s hope people sometimes do change.
7. That horrible incident
Went to my 10 year this August. I showed up around 7 in the evening and everyone one was in decent spirits, having a few beers, except for this one guy. He was already fall down, stumble drunk, and people were generally ‘aware’ of him but tolerating him. By 8 he was knocking over tables, and by 9 had completely destroyed the bathroom with vomit. I ask a few friends “hey, what’s up with that guy over there? Had one too many, huh?” Turns out this time last year he’d slept with another mutual high school friend’s girlfriend at the time (I went to middle school with the guy) and he’d killed himself 2 days later. I didn’t make the connection but our 10 year was the 1 year anniversary of our classmate’s suicide and the guy who may have played a role in that wasn’t taking it very well.
I used to pass notes to a guy in Algebra class… mostly song lyrics. I’d write a line pass it to him, he’d write a line, back and forth. He was a quiet kid and friends with some other friends of mine who were big into BMX bikes and skateboards. I took a bunch of photos of these guys for my photography class. At graduation he said he was heading to California to ride BMX. He never came to a reunion… he was too busy playing rhythm guitar in Guns N Roses as Izzy Straddlin.
9. The bully turned successful
This one guy used to be kind a of a bully, seemed not to care about school, had bad grades, skipped class and did some drugs in school. I wasn’t bothered by him and didn’t interact with the guy that much as I wasn’t a target of his antics.
If you asked me how I thought he turned out, I would’ve guess and was now doing some kind of manual work and had no education.
Turns out he co-created one of the most recognizable clothing brand in my country and has multiple brick and mortar locations. His brand is worn by some big names. He’s a successful businessman and he’s probably worth millions.
I think it’s pretty cool he turned out that way!
10. Not recognizing classmates
I went to mine. I hate to burst anyone’s bubble. But the jerks were still jerks and most people declined in their looks. No ugly duckling to swan stories but at least a few people that I simply did not recognize until told who they were because of weight gain, etc.
The tone of the evening was set when I walked in with a friend and the first thing out of the organizers mouth at the sign-in table was “sorry to hear about your divorce” to my friend. We didn’t even have our name tags on yet when this was said.
I didn’t go to my 15th or 20th yet I would probably go to my 25th.
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11. This unbelievable change!
Matthew. He was so small and weighed ~100 pounds when I had last seen him. Barely stood 5’6″. He had joined the army, and somebody gave him the Captain America Serum, and taught him how to sing/dance/play the guitar. When the 6’2″ 230lb muscled model walked in, all the soccer moms gasped for air. When he picked up the guitar and started singing Garth Brooks songs (yes, my 10 year happened when Garth Brooks happened), their panties hit the floor. I still wonder if a country music star, killed, ate, and stole the identity of my little friend.
12. Some shocking changes
It’s surprising how many of the ridiculously smart girls (we had a lot of them!) got pregnant not 2 years out of high school, dropped out of university, and now have 2+ kids, no higher education and are totally stuck in their boring lives.
Some of the “slow learners” actually made it through uni or vocational school and have bright careers, only because they got their lives together.
From the guys, beer bellies and bald spots everywhere! Shocking how many went totally out of shape.
13. Respect to this guy
There was a guy in my class that was known to be a huge bully and womanizer. He is now an easy-going artist that hugs everyone and has a very zen demeanour. At our 10 year reunion, he told me how excited he was to atone and let everyone know that he has changed. I thought it was incredibly touching and my respect for him is fully restored.
14. That high school reputation
A dude that I saw drop acid in class on multiple occasions had become a youth preacher. The girl voted best looking had become a chain-smoking drunk who had somehow aged 30 years in a decade. The goth girl that I would sometimes smoke weed and talk about John Waters movies with had become some kind of Stepford wife.
A lot of people seemed genuinely shocked that I hadn’t been stabbed to death in a back alley somewhere. Never realized I had such a reputation in high school.
15. Talk about a transformation!
There was a girl in my high school class who was near the top for GPA, was going to a prestigious 4-year for pre-med, and was the ASB class president.
10 years later I found out she was an overweight hairdresser and had a kid out of wedlock in this bad city near our hometown.
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16. When everyone turns out pretty much the same
Everyone had a kid or two and almost everyone had at lease one failed marriage. They all looked fat and sad and their faces lacked color. It was really depressing. Most were just angry with life and bitter. I left rather quickly and went to hang out with my current group of friends.
17. This drastic change
My husband and I went to the same high school but met years later. He was the football player all the girls wanted in bed and all the guys wanted to be with. I was the one people threw against lockers and treated like trash. When my reunion came around, one of the girls I had kept in contact with asked me to help with the website, so I said what the hell. When we showed up, quite a few people asked why he was there. He had graduated 2 years earlier. He said he was with his wife and just and took his seat. I walked in and took a seat as they were thanking those who helped with the reunion. When they announced my name, people looked around slightly confused. I stood, like the others and you could hear a pin drop. Apparently I changed quite a bit in that ten years. My husband raised his glass and smiled again. It was awesome.
18. Bullied but turned successful lawyer
Definitely the smelly kid. He wasn’t actually smelly, but the routine beatings and teasing definitely took the toll on this guy. He was just non-functionally weird.
He apparently blossomed in college and ended up in law school. He became a lawyer for abused women, doing orders of protection and whatnot. He said his motivation was to stand up to bullies, so that no one had to endure what he did.
The next year I got laid off due to budget cuts and opened up my own law firm, which failed. My life’s back to being in the gutter, but the reunion stands out as my high water mark.
19. Three favourite memories
1) the super smart, but unmotivated class clown – sitting at the bar telling everyone that he worked for a NASA subcontractor as a human space waste engineer and everyone believing him. Poop freezes instantly in space.” Completely hilarious. He actually worked in a lumber yard.
2) the most beautiful, popular girl in our class sitting on a bench with literally – I kid you not – a line of guys waiting to talk to her and tell her how well they were each doing. She was still as gorgeous and perfect as ever.
3) The fact that educational and occupational attainment really didn’t matter at all. It was high school cliques all over again. That changed at the 20th, but the 10th was still very much high school-ish. (If you are trying to finish a degree or get a promotion before you go to your 10th reunion, relax. No-one cares. But if it’s your 20th and you care about such things – hurry.)
20. Almost the same people with a few exceptions
My ten year was a year ago, the organizers were these four girls who just happened to have all gotten married in the last year which I personally thought was funny.
However, the person who had the biggest change? One person who was a girl in my grade had a sex change over the last ten years. “He” was on the lookout to avoid an ex boyfriend, because it would be awkward.
Another big change was one of the women in my year who was almost a ball in terms of body size when I was in school slimmed down a lot.
Other than that, the people that showed up were pretty what I expected. I was on the lookout to avoid an ex of mine that I had gotten back together with after college but broken up with a few years earlier. Luckily she didn’t show up.
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21. Some people dont want to be reminded of who they were in high school
Knew a kid who was kind of a jerk in high school, bullied kids, treated girls badly, thought he was hilarious and pissed off the teachers in class. I knew him well enough to know that there was a decent guy underneath the crappy attitude, but that side didn’t come out very often. At our 10 year he was not just entirely gray-haired and more than a few pounds heavier, but he was also as soft-spoken and sweet as a person could be. I can think of a couple of things in his life that may have precipitated the change, but didn’t bring up the guy he had been in high school. I wonder if maybe he didn’t want to be reminded of that kid anymore. I know I don’t want to be reminded of who I was in high school, either.
22. Extreme success!
10 year reunion last year. A nerdy, quiet kid that was barely remembered, shows up in a Lamborghini with two models, 4 inches taller and 30+ lbs of muscle. Everybody is figuring out who he is and why he rented the car and women. Come to find out his name is plastered all over the city on those developers signs on skyscrapers/expensive condos and subsequently owns a good portion of the city’s real estate. Through conversation he informs me he is opening another branch in Tokyo this coming winter. Ends up being a super nice guy. The faces of everybody as they sat at their tables and they got their google results back on his name was hilarious.
23. The late bloomer
One girl who sat next to me in english class in junior and senior year. Thick coke bottle glasses, a bird’s nest of thick curly hair. She was always very nice and very smart, but super quiet and introverted.
I was an extroverted and outgoing, so I used to ask her to read parts when we studied shakespeare, invited her into my group for group projects and made her take speaking roles, that kind of thing. She was never really comfortable talking about herself and we never hung out outside of class, so I left school not knowing much about her except that she was smart, quick to grin at a joke, and had strong feelings about “The Crucible”.
Ten years later, this gorgeous woman shows up to our reunion. Smoking hot redhead, sparkling blue eyes. That goofy teenage grin had turned into a confident, knowing smile. She knew how to dress and make herself up to emphasize her assets and minimize her flaws. She was stunning.
We talked for a good hour. She was just a late bloomer. I apologized for always volunteering her for public speaking and she said it was one of the things that made her start to confront her shyness. She ended up going to an ivy league school and became a journalist, of all things.
We still chat from time to time.
24. This uncomfortable situation
I was friendly with this guy in freshman/sophomore year, I think. He was super quiet, shy, incredibly studious, chubby kid. Even some teachers would be like ‘lighten up, relax.’ He came out of his shell senior year and we kind of stopped being friends because he was hanging out with the ‘cool’ kids and having parties where people could drink, etc, and I was super square and uninterested.
So at my reunion, he was this x20. He is now a ‘hotshot’ kind of guy in DC working for a ‘strategies’ company. (Just googled it, no idea what they do). Anyway, at the reunion he was mostly okay UNTIL he chugged a ton of beers. Some folks had left, but the rest of us at the reunion had gathered around while he picked up a yearbook. He proceeded to ridicule EVERY PERSON in our year whether they were there to defend themselves or not. This was a super uncool kid freshman year (who nobody really disliked or made fun of, actually) just bashing everyone for weight, being weird, being uncool, being too cool, etc. My boyfriend was with me (he did not go to HS with me) and was so uncomfortable the entire time.
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25. Didnt really serve time in prison
My 10-year was after e-mail was invented, but before social media.
So I got an e-mail out of the blue one day from a girl I’d gone to High School with. She was organizing the 10-year reunion and wanted to know if I could come. I told her I wouldn’t be able to make it, so she wrote again asking for my address, because she wanted to put together a directory and hand it out at the reunion. As a joke, I e-mailed her back with the address of a cell block in a North Carolina prison.
I intended to e-mail her back the next day with an explanation and my actual address. I completely forgot to do this.
I had pretty much completely forgotten about this until years later on a weekend trip to my hometown, I noticed a few furtive glances, and someone finally said they were glad to see I’d gotten out of prison and that I didn’t seem to have been harmed by the experience. They wanted to know how long I’d been in. They were polite enough not to ask what I’d done to deserve being locked up. It took me 20 minutes and a prolonged question-and-answer period to figure out what they were talking about.
All of this was 15 years ago. To this day, someone will occasionally post a comment on my Facebook page about how my current success is just such an inspiration, because it shows how someone can serve time in prison and then turn their life around.
26. Physical and mental transformation
This girl, let’s call her Jane, was always very quiet. She was never picked on, but that’s because she was mostly ignored. She wrote lots of poetry and read lots of books and I never heard her talk in school outside of English class. She started smoking cigarettes and drinking when she was a teen, but she didn’t like parties with lots of people. The few times I talked to her it was always about how terrible parents were or how terrible the government is. She was thin and pretty too, and my friend dated her briefly, but he said he couldn’t deal with her anger.
Flash forward I see her again. She put on a ton of weight. Like a ton. I thought “oh great now she has body issues on top of her other issues. Poor girl.” But I talked to her and she was so happy.
She got a job writing for a travel blog and she gets to go all over the country. She came out as a lesbian and I saw pictures of her and her partner’s travels. She quit drinking and she’s been sober for a few years now. She’s very open about her struggles with her identity, alcohol, and depression that date all the way back to high school.
So physical and mental state she had a huge transformation. And I’m glad she found a happy ending.
27. Stuck in their old lives
My 10 year was sad. I played football in High School, marginally popular. The rest of the guys I looked up to that I played football with in High School just kind of… Stayed in that moment. Most of them still lived in the same town, grew pot bellies, and never let the football part of their lives go. They spend every night at the same dive bar by the lake, and they all wore their letterman jackets to the reunion. Now, I’ve put on some weight (losing it faithfully as of late), but theyre just… Stuck in their old lives. Most are working construction, aren’t working, on assistance, etc. It was depressing.
The saddest part was that up until I graduated from college, I longed to be like them still. To still be buddies, go out all the time and party. Then I got married, had my daughter, got divorced, found the love of my life and moved onto a career.
They’re just still stuck in that perpetual spiral, trying to relive the best days of their lives. Some of them gave up scholarships or dropped out because they didn’t get the same validation they did in High School.
28. Some highlights of the 10 year reunion
One girl showed up who had lost a ton of weight, like… she weight 1/3 of what she did in high school (morbidly obese).
A friend of mine from back in the day showed up and in the first 10 minutes told me a sob story of alcohol and drug abuse. He apparently had been 8 months sober at the time of the reunion.
A moron I played soccer with for years had a smoking hot wife and a good job as a manager at a accounting firm. He posts self-help style business advice to LinkedIn all the time: “5 tricks to get your boss’ job, the third one will blow your mind!” I forward them to my dad for a laugh (my dad used to coach us in soccer).
Perhaps the weirdest one was the class president himself. This guy was super gregarious and smug know-it-all in HS, well spoken and generally well liked. At the reunion? He didn’t seem to want to talk with anyone, almost dismissive of thanks for organizing of the event. He slurred his speech hung out in the corner with his wife the entire night. I made an effort to go chat with him, and while his wife was really friendly he was really curt and acted almost… stoned. Not a smoker, but I don’t think getting stoned lasts 6 hours?
In summary two sorts of people showed up. 1) townies 2) people with a success story. Also a low percentage of people showed up, maybe like 40/550 kids. I think with facebook people don’t feel the need as much. Who knows?!