Still going strong

Sept. 28-Oct.4, 2006
Still going strong
By Deacon Tom Picciano/ SUN contributing writer
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
Our Lady of Sorrows-Seton Campus happily celebrates 50 years

Endicott — A special Mass was held on Sept. 14 to mark the Golden Anniversary of Catholic education at one school in Western Broome County. All 145 students at Our Lady of Sorrows-Seton Campus made a two-block trek to St. Ambrose Church for the liturgy.

“The reason we selected the church is that this is the parish that helped get the school started back 50 years ago, so this is kind of bringing things home for us,” said Principal John Seward. “They have the experience in our chapel during Lent and we have our Masses in the gym. But this is something special we’re trying to introduce for the students.”

A half-century ago, the building was opened as Seton Catholic High School. Twenty years later, it became a middle school as the two Catholic high schools in Broome County consolidated in Binghamton. Then, in 1999, it was turned into an elementary and middle school as the OLS-Seton Campus.

During his homily, Father John Putano, Our Lady of Sorrows pastor, welcomed all the new students, teachers and parents. Father Putano also reflected on the history of the school. “Think of all the parents and volunteers who supported this school in many ways. Think of the many teachers, and staff and principals who dedicated their lives to teaching young people. Think of all the wonderful events that happened during those 50 years,” he said.

“We have our school here today because of people in the past who saw the need for a Catholic school in this part of the county.”

One person with a link to the past and present at the school spoke with the students at the end of the Mass. Jennifer Donovan has a child in eighth grade and one who graduated from the OLS-Seton Campus several years ago. She attended Seton High School in the mid 1970s.

“When I was there, the school had about 500 students. Can you imagine? The place was packed and exploding with teenagers. Can you imagine how crowded the halls were when the bells rang? There were over 50 teachers, and at least 10 priests, and 15 sisters,” she said. “I got a great education at Seton. The teachers were very dedicated, caring and creative. They took great care with us students preparing us for life.”

While there have been changes over the years, Donovan is pleased that a Catholic school is still in operation at the location of her former high school. “It’s still alive with the sound of students, learning and building memories just like I did 30 years ago.”

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