They came from as far away as Alaska, California and places south, bringing with them 10 years worth of memories, stories and adventures, gathering around tables and bar stools to look over their lives since graduating from Langley High School in 1995.
The former Saxons had their reunion this weekend, the second time in 10 years they've been together to look back on the four years they proudly wore the green and gold.
Returning from Australia, Colin Caines said he was looking forward to reminiscing about his favorite moment from high school: "Smoking cigars with my boys after graduation in the parking lot."
Caines left Great Falls after graduation to attend The College of William and Mary before taking his current job with Northrop Grumman.
"I want to catch up with people I haven't seen in a while," he said prior to the reunion. "The people I was with in high school made the place."
If given the chance, he would tell the rising senior class "life ain't nothing like high school," something he's learned in the 10 years since graduation.
The fruit fly lab that has haunted Lisa Marriott since her days in Mrs. Dodson's AP biology class has turned into a career, as she now spends her time as a research scientist at the Oregon Health and Science University.
"I spent weeks trying to get my genetic crosses right and phenotyping my flies all the time. I loved it. I turned in my lab report all proud and excited, then the grades came back and I found out I did the genetics totally wrong and failed the lab."
She realized then how important it is to fail at things from time to time. "You become more careful after that and take the time to double check everything, which is an important trait, especially in science."
AFTER LEAVING LANGLEY, she went to the University of Virginia to pursue an interdisciplinary major in neuroscience, then on to the University of Arizona for her doctorate in neuroscience with a minor in pharmacology and toxicology.
However, returning to Langley will not be as much of a homecoming for her as it would have been even a few months ago.
"My parents just moved out of the area two months ago, so it's strange to come back to an area that really isn't home anymore," she said. "My biggest hope about seeing everyone at the reunion is that people will be happy and enjoy themselves."
Since leaving Langley, Marriott has learned the importance of balancing out different aspects of her life.
"Our family used to travel every weekend in winters, so I had to figure out a way to get my work done and still have time to enjoy myself," she said.
Her advice to upcoming seniors is almost strictly academic and practical, with an undertone of adventure. "Get college applications out of the way as soon as possible, it stinks having them hanging over your head. Ooh, and learn Spanish. I think I can count on one hand the times I've had to use French and about a thousand times that I could have used Spanish," she said.
Andy Pruitt and his wife of three years, Andrea, made the trip up from Charleston, S.C., for the reunion, eager to tell his classmates that he had been able to follow his dream of becoming a sports anchor.
"I had so much fun senior year, it's when I really developed a whole bunch of friends and we did so much together," he said.
After graduating from Langley, Pruitt went to Syracuse University to study broadcasting, following the advice of an eighth-grade teacher who encouraged him to do just that.
"I'm currently the weekend sports anchor on WCSC TV in Charleston. I've been here just over a year," he said. "I love it. I get to talk about sports and get paid for it."
Still a Baltimore Orioles fan, Pruitt misses being able to get together with his high school friends more often to go to baseball games, but was happy to have the chance to reconnect with them last weekend.
"John [Horvath Dorlini] has made a DVD of all our old pictures that he's bringing out this weekend when we hang out," he said. "I'm really looking forward to catching up with a lot of people, but especially my freshman year girlfriend. She's coaching in the area now."
For Pruitt, the real lesson of high school was "the importance of being who you are. We need to be the person God created us to be. That's why I had so much fun senior year. I really embraced who I was and stopped worrying about who I was friends with and who other people wanted me to be."
John Dorlini was known as John Horvath in high school but added his mother's maiden name to his a few years ago.
AFTER LEAVING Great Falls to pursue a degree in architecture from Arizona State University in Phoenix, he had an internship in Berlin working for Daniel Libeskind, the architect of the new World Trade Center building in New York City.
"I work as a designer and enthusiast for a nonprofit organization at the Umbau School of Architecture in Staunton now, with my wife," he said.
His wife may look familiar to some Langley grads: Theresa Camp Dorlini attended the school for their sophomore year before moving to Thailand.
"I remember the day my future wife walked into my first period drawing class. She had transferred into Langley from Japan in 10th grade because her father worked for the State Department," he said. "I had the biggest crush on her all year but I was too shy to ask her out. I thought I had two more years to build up the courage, but her family moved away after that year."
Ten years later, in Phoenix, they met again.
"I call it fate, she calls it good stalking," he said. "It's an inspirational story about the chubby kid getting the hot girl."
But the reunion would not have been possible without Matt Spaeder, who took it upon himself to organize the event himself.
"My parents still live in my childhood home in McLean," he said.
Currently living in Cleveland, he has spent the 10 years since hanging up the green and gold shuffling careers; he worked as a train master with the Norfolk Southern Railway, teaching high school math in New Orleans and as a paralegal in Washington.
"I'm halfway done with a four-year JD/MBA dual degree at Case Western Reserve University," he said.
The reunion, for him, is all about catching up, telling stories and seeing old friends.
"I'm excited to see everyone and catch up," he said. "I've stayed in touch with a handful of classmates, but there are a lot more I was fairly good friends with in high school but just didn't manage to stay in touch with. The success of the event is highly dependent on how many people show, and naturally I was a little nervous about seeing faces I haven't seen for five or 10 years, but everyone was in the same boat."
To be exact, 174 people were in that boat with Spaeder. "Attendance was well above what I expected and what it was at the five-year reunion," he said. "So many people seemed to be happy and doing well, so it was a good night of talking to old friends."
If given the chance, Spaeder wants to remind upcoming seniors to enjoy their final year at Langley, because it may be a long time before they see their friends again.
"Don't let the planning for life after high school divert your attention too much from a very important, very memorable and very fun year of your life," he said. "Langley provided an excellent education. The teachers were top-notch, but being around so many other bright kids was a huge help to me. The friends and memories that were formed there will hopefully last a lifetime."