By Blessed Sacrament staff/ SUN contributing writers
SUN photo(s) Chuck Wainwright
While touring the campus, some alumni might have been a bit surprised by the extensive additions made to the school since their departure, such as the new science wing. Renovated in the summer of 2002, the science wing was one of the largest projects in recent years. Technology upgrades in four classrooms and laboratories now allow teachers to use the Internet as an interactive tool in the classroom. Teachers can do things such as visualize a dissection for students via computers. The hope is that the new science wing will allow students to become more engaged and motivated in the study of science.
Despite some changes in its façade, alumni agree that there still remains a “feeling of cohesiveness among the Bishop Ludden community.” This commitment to community has long been a part of the Bishop Ludden tradition. Named after Most Reverend Patrick A. Ludden, first bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse, Ludden opened on Sept. 4, 1963, with the aim of developing the gifts and talents of each student to his or her fullest potential through an environment of learning and faith. During the late 50’s and early 60’s, parish high schools in the Western Region of the diocese began to close due to dwindling student populations and limited finances. To cope with these concerns and maintain a visible institution for quality Catholic education, Bishop Walter A. Forey conducted a campaign for funds for two central high schools in 1961-1962, one being Bishop Ludden High School.
When the school first opened it contained 628 students from grades nine and ten. Today, under Principal Dennis Meehan, 820 students are enrolled in grades seven through twelve at Bishop Ludden. The 2000-2001 school year marks the twelfth consecutive year in which the school has experienced a growth in the student body. With increasingly larger graduating classes each year, remaining in contact with alumni and bringing them together for events becomes more difficult. However, Bishop Ludden takes pride in keeping in close touch with alumni and following their achievements.
“The school publishes an alumni newsletter, The Knightline, three times a year, as well as an alumni directory that allows graduates to keep in touch with one another. We try to give everyone a heads up as to what is going on at Ludden,” said Mary Lou Walker, director of office of advancement at Bishop Ludden.
Walker, who herself has two children currently enrolled in Ludden as well as a daughter who graduated in 2001, assists the school with alumni relations. She, along with over a dozen other school alumni, parents and administrators, helped in the year-long process of organizing the 40th anniversary celebration. She explained how it wasn’t as difficult as she thought it might be to reunite people for the events.
“We put much effort into maintaining contact with alumni at all times so to bring them together for this occasion wasn’t too hard,” Walker said. “We wanted to bring together as many families, friends and alumni of the school to celebrate. It makes people happy to be a part of the Bishop Ludden family. It’s always nice to be invited back.”
Bishop Ludden Jr./Sr. High School certainly has a formula for success. With young men and women who continually set high standards, teachers and administrators are rightfully proud of their students’ achievements. Perhaps more importantly, however, the students of Bishop Ludden are proud of their school.
“There is the same enthusiasm and pride in this school that I saw when I went here. The spirit of Ludden is going strong,” said Margaret McGarvey, class of ’86. “I look forward to sending my kids here.”