Welcome Valley Grads and Friends of the Akron / Mentone Communities

Two thirds of 8000 alumni of Tippecanoe Valley -- and the schools that created it -- no longer live in the school district. This blog is intended to keep us all connected, to news of our hometowns and of each other.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Twelve Steps to Building the Database

1. Plan a get together with two or three friends, somewhere with a laptop and internet access. It helps to bring a local phone book, and your old yearbooks can be helpful. Hopefully, one of you is a member of Facebook. Oh, and coffee and scones, or your favorite adult beverages come in handy too!

2. Before you meet, I will email you the current contact information I have for your classes, which is essentially two-year-old data from the ValleyAlumni site. Typically I have about 50 addresses for classes before 1990, and maybe 15 for younger classes. I will also email you any other class roster that we’ve been able to collect from reunion organizers, although these might be even older.

3. Go to the online ValleyMaster database here:


and click on the tab at the bottom of the page for your class (or whichever one you want to look at). You will be able to edit this document.

4. Check the partial address lists that I emailed you. Are there obvious errors? (i.e., people who you KNOW have moved or changed email addresses since this list was compiled?) If not, key in the mailing address, phone number, and email address into the ValleyMaster form on Google Docs.

5. Read down the remaining list of classmates that we don’t yet have addresses for. If you know or are fairly certain that someone still lives locally, or in Warsaw or Rochester, just enter the town name into the ValleyMaster document for now. We can set those aside for later. If you don’t have any idea, but know who you would ask (for example, a cousin who still lives locally), put that person’s name in the address field for now and move on.

6. As you go through the list on ValleyMaster (which should be alphabetical), you’ll probably remember classmates who’s name doesn’t appear. Since this list was drawn from the school’s official graduation programs, it misses some people who didn’t go through commencement (families moved, finished graduation requirements after May, didn’t actually graduate, etc.). Please feel free to add any of those names to the list. Try to include maiden names as if they were middle names.

7. Go down the list again from the top, both “locals” and “unknown,” and do a Facebook search for each individual. Common names will generate too many results to check individually, but you will find many this way. Some people actually list their email address on their “info” page. When they do, please enter it into the ValleyMaster spreadsheet.

8. Whether or not you can find their email address on their Facebook page, send these people a friend request. Include a message – “Hi Joe, good to find you. We are working to update our class roster, and the school and community foundation are starting an e-newsletter. Would you PM me with your email address?” And/or, “You should join the Alumni page on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/group.php?gid=9609383241
And/or join the Valley Alumni social networking site at http://valleyalumni.ning.com

9. When you’ve worked your way through your class, you should have two groups of people left – 1) people who live nearby that you didn’t find on Facebook, and 2) people who you don’t know where they live, that you didn’t find on Facebook.

10. Divvy up the first group between yourselves, and simply look them up in the phone book or on Switchboard.com. From home, each of you can enter the mailing addresses and phone numbers into the ValleyMaster document on GoogleDocs. If you are willing to call some of them and ask them if they have an email address or a Facebook account, do that.

11. Send an email to some or all of the friends and classmates for whom you do have email addresses, and share with them the second list (the non-local people who you can’t find on Facebook). Who knows where members of this list are now, or were last?

12. Make an appointment to get back together in two weeks and share with each other what you’ve found from your phone book research and calls.

Ron Newlin

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