St. Anthony's Class of 1971
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Earlier pictures of the St. Anthony's Class of 1971
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Photo and reunion news
story courtesy of
Loretta Boden Rodgers, Topspin65@aol.com
|Front Row, (left to right)||Back Row, (left to right)|
Kathleen Lauser Gallagher
Francine Orobono Bender
Karen Quattro Trout
Anna Marie Cariello
Donna Cartieri Malloy
Christine Iannucci Fields
Dr. Cecile Pileggi
30th Anniversary Class Reunion
CHESTER - It was a walk down memory lane for the St. Anthony of Padua School Class of 1971 as they recently celebrated their 30th anniversary of graduation from eighth grade.
The class of 71,' which was the final class to graduate from St. Anthony School located at Third and Parker Streets, seemed to delight in rekindling old friendships and sharing stories of their elementary school years.
"There is definitely a bond between us," said John DiSantis. "After all, we shared so much. The whole Catholic School experience during the 1960's and many of us went on to attend St. James and Notre Dame High Schools together. Twelve years is a long time to be together and there are so many funny memories."
St. Anthony of Padua Church was founded in 1908 and in 1912 Rev. Antonio Garritano was named the first pastor of the predominantly Italian Parish. In April 1913, ground was broken for the church on Third Street between Franklin and Concord Roads and in September 1921, Rev. Garritano opened St. Anthony School.
St. Anthony School was in operation for 50 years until it's closing in 1971 and was responsible for the education of literally thousands of area children.
Organized by classmates John Di Santis, Anna Marie Cariello, Loretta Boden Rodgers and Fred Ungarino, the reunion was dedicated to deceased classmates Stephen Kalichak and Donna Stackeni, whose mother Frances was on-hand for the evenings festivities.
Upon entering the reunion, classmates were greeted by an elaborate display of photographs of St. Anthony School as it looks today, a diorama of the Blessed Mother (a Catholic School must during the month of May), musical selections from the popular school minstrel shows, old report cards dating back to 1963, and photographs of events that took place during their eight years in school.
"I really don't know what was more fun- planning the reunion or attending it," said Cariello. "It has been wonderful seeing my old classmates. Everyone looks great."
Highlights of the evening included commentary of life in Catholic School and a report presented on the status of the Missionary Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception who staffed the school. The class delighted in a letter written by their first grade teacher, Sr. Mary Philomena Ann, who is now 65-years old, living in Augusta, Ga. and still teaching the first grade.
Other Sisters located include Sr. Mary Priscilla and beloved music teacher Sr. Mary Cecily who reside in a retired Sisters home in Tenafly, NJ. Sr. Mary Angelina, who taught the class in 6th and 8th grade, is currently living in Newton, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, the Sisters were unable to attend due to failing health or recent illness.
As the evening progressed stories flowed of religious processions down Third Street, playground games, Archdiocesan examinations, Christmas visits by Monsignor John Zazzara, annual minstrel shows and Church picnics, Spaghetti dinners and of course the ever-imbedded memories of the nuns.
Unlike traditional reunion favors, classmates exited with a special memory book and goody-bag packed with novelties including wax lips, soft pretzel, candy cigarettes, Torrone Italian candy and a World's Finest Chocolate Bar, which was sold as a fundraiser at St. Anthony School for years.
"St. Anthony School was a special place and it was very sad when the school and eventually the Church closed," said Ungarino. "I'm certain that thousands of students hold similar memories as myself and my classmates. These memories are truly the ones that do last a lifetime."
Photo & story courtesy of Loretta Boden Rodgers, Topspin65@aol.com
© 2001 John
A. Bullock III.
Graphic Details Publications
This page last updated 08/25/10