| Catholic Schools Week
Maureen Cronin, second from the left, and other members of the Class of 1954 of the former all-girls Notre Dame High School in Alameda, met at the Grange Restaurant inside the Citizen's Hotel in downtown Sacramento, Oct. 5, to celebrate their 60th anniversary reunion.
Courtesy photo by Maureen Cronin
High schools try harder to keep alumni together
Remember the day you graduated from high school? Amid the big smiles and farewell hugs or handshakes you suddenly realize that, after four years of togetherness, you may not be seeing your classmates ever again.
Thirty (or more) years pass. Today you open your mailbox (or email) and find an invitation to your 30th high school reunion! After getting over the shock that it's been 30 years since your high school graduation you start wondering, "Should I or shouldn't I?" "Will so-and-so be there?" "Remember when …?"
For many people the answer is "Yes!" to the reunion invitation. You want to see your high school friends again. And you want to see if that skinny girl — who sat in the desk in front of you sophomore and junior year — has changed.
Maureen Cronin, a member of the class of 1954 from Notre Dame High School in Alameda — then an all-girls school that later merged with all-boys St. Joseph High School — has gone to her share of class reunions.
Cronin has attended her class' 60th reunion last year, the 50th and the 26th (The class decided to bump the 25th reunion back a year because Cronin and another classmate lost their fathers that year.)
Twenty-eight young women made up the Class of 1954, Cronin said. At earlier reunions the event was well attended. But only eight women went to the 60th last year. At least three classmates couldn't be found, most of the other members have died.
"There used to be more of us," she said, sadly. "So many have passed on."
Mollie McFarland, alumni coordinator at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School, notes: "We have a pretty active alumni."
The school hosts one reunion a year, the Golden Reunion, honoring the class that reaches its 50th anniversary. At this milestone anniversary event the school invites the honorees to the Alameda campus. The former students are offered golden diplomas, a tour of the school and lunch.
The school's current students bring the honorees their meal, which usually leads to conversations between the alums and the students. The students get a better understanding of the school and their predecessors while the alums can discover what a school day is like now.
The alumni office offers reunion planning to other classes planning a reunion. Up to eight reunions a year take place off campus. Former students are also invited back for barbecues and playing games of soccer or baseball with the members of these sport's current teams.
At Salesian College Prepatory in Richmond, "Our plan is to work with our alumni to host reunions annually," said Henry Moe, who directs the alumni office. However, "we have found that it can be challenging to plan without involvement from the class committees."
Seeking a different touch to reunions, Salesian recently held its first alumni "meet-up" at The Baltic — a restaurant and pub where alumni living nearby can gather to catch up with fellow Salesian grads over appetizers and happy hour refreshments. That event drew more than 50 local alumni.
Bolstered by the success of that event, the school is planning "to host quarterly meet-up events at different locations around the Bay Area for our large Salesian community," Moe said.
Harold Boscovich, a member of St. Joseph's Class of 1959, recalled a time when neither he nor his fellow classmates had much support or encouragement from the school for such post-graduation activities. As a result, Boscovich, himself, planned that first class reunion with the help of a close friend. He also planned the 50th and 55th reunions for his class with the help of that same friend.
"It's much different now," he said, noting that the school now reaches out more to classes of former students.
"Our time at St. Joe's was a memorable one," he said. "The entire student body in 1959 was probably not more than 180 boys. Our class was very small, about 42 graduated. There was camaraderie among those of us who attended St. Joe's, that ran throughout our four years together and with those from other classes that continued on later in life."
Now that he and his other classmates have reconnected with one another some continue to get together between reunions.
"About 10 or 12 of us, some living in and some out of the Bay Area, get together for lunch about three or four times a year," Boscovich said. "Alums call me when they are in the area who live out of California or in the case of one of our alums, (who lives in Peru) contacts me to get alums together for lunch. We enjoy each other's company and we try to keep up to date on the status of our fellow alums."
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