Former AHS student starts networking site

Published 12:13 am Saturday, October 18, 2008

A former Andalusia High School student has started a Web site to allow former classmates to keep in touch with each other, even if they graduated decades ago.

Rhett Barbaree, who was a freshman at AHS in 1975 before finishing his schooling at Chilton County High School in Clanton, started the Web site as a way to help make class reunions easier to organize. His original Web site launched in late August, and recently he finished adding entries for all six county high schools, including AHS.

“I got the idea from another web site that was already in place in Andalusia,” Barbaree said. “I talked to the people who run that site and asked if they’d be offended if I started my own, and they told me it was OK.”

Barbaree, who currently lives in Tuscaloosa and sells advertising for a living, developed his Web site as a free alternative to other alumni sites like

“I sell advertising and that’s what helps keep the site free,” he said. “I want to stress that it is free and you only have to create a log-in name if you’re going to upload something to the site. If you just want to visit the site and look around, you can do that without having to register.”

Users who register with Barbaree’s site are asked to provide a working and legitimate e-mail address, then have the option of filling in a small text profile and uploading a picture to go with that profile. Alumni sites like require electronic communications among alumni to go through the Web site itself, but on Barbaree’s site alumni can simply click on an alumnus’s e-mail address and correspond with friends directly.

“A lot of the younger kids go for Facebook and other internet sites like that,” Barbaree said. “There are security measures in place to make sure that the profiles created are legitimate and the e-mail addresses work. The people who host the Web site have assured me there’s more than enough bandwidth to handle the activity.”

Barbaree said his ultimate goal is to make the Web site eventually statewide and nationwide.

“Right now I’ve just been adding groups of schools at a time,” he said. “There’s a few schools in Georgia that have started coming to the site.”