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placeholder June 23, 2014   •   VOL. 52, NO. 12   •   Oakland, CA
Graduations & Schools

Forty-two members of Saint Mary's College High School's Class of 1964 returned to the Berkeley campus and enjoyed a 50-year reunion dinner and weekend. Among the golden graduates is Brother Michael Avila, FSC, fifth from right, front row.
Courtesy photo

Graduation events link generations

Traditions run deep at Saint Mary's College High School. Each student is formed in the tradition of Lasallian Catholic education. Classes begin with the traditional prayer, "Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God," an important prayer that has been lived throughout each school day at Saint Mary's for more than 150 years and by the Christian Brothers for more than three centuries. That one prayer builds community, creates respect among students and teachers and enables friendships to span a lifetime.

One cherished tradition that exemplifies community is the return each year of the class celebrating its 50-year reunion and Golden Graduation. On June 7 and 8, the class of 1964 returned to Peralta Park to join the class of 2014 for Baccalaureate Mass on Saturday evening and to receive Golden Diplomas at graduation the next day. It's a very powerful experience for both alums and current graduates. The newest alums learn they are part of a community much larger than themselves. The "old guys" in turn learn that their investment in today's students has paid huge dividends. Saint Mary's alums are the cornerstone for making excellence in Catholic education available to families of all circumstances.

The Saint Mary's campus has changed dramatically since 1964. De La Salle Hall, a majestic brick building that housed the high school, was razed in the early 1970s. What was an all-male student body is now strengthened by the addition of girls since 1995. The Brothers' presence has declined, but under their direction the charism of Saint John Baptist de La Salle continues to touch the minds and hearts of today' students.

Each year the Golden Grads are amazed at how much Saint Mary's has changed and yet remains the same. They leave the reunion weekend confident and grateful that Saint Mary's High students, for generations to come, will flourish academically, spiritually, and socially while living in the holy presence of God.

(Peter Boero is a member of the Saint Mary's College High School Class of 1964 and served as the school's Director of Advancement for 11 years.)

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