The St. Anthony of Padua Alumni Association, founded in 1988, marks its 25th anniversary this year. The organization was founded “as a way of remembering and fundraising to support the school,” said founder and President Jim Wright, class of 1970, at the association’s annual Mass offered for deceased alumni and friends at St. Anthony’s Church in Syracuse Oct. 27.
St. Anthony’s High School graduated 40 classes before closing in 1974; the grammar school closed in 1993. Though the school has closed, the alumni association continues to raise funds to support the parish’s mission on the south side of Syracuse and to keep alums connected, Wright said. Wright authors a newsletter sent to about 1,600 alums and friends each year; the association also organizes an annual pancake breakfast, a spring golf tournament and a class reunion in addition to the Mass, Wright said. Funds raised through the group’s efforts, along with donations and dues, allow the association to make charitable gifts to support the parish, local ministries and scholarships.
In recognition of the association’s silver anniversary, St. Anthony’s pastor Father Robert Chryst arranged a surprise for Wright and his wife Anne: Following Mass, the Wrights were presented with a statue of the school’s namesake (pictured above). Noting the unfortunate realities that “institutions run their course” and that the youngest St. Anthony’s graduate would be about 57 years old today — “and we all know how old the rest of us are,” Wright joked — Wright thanked the many alums in the pews for their continued support of the association. For more information about the St. Anthony of Padua Alumni Association, visit www.stasyracuse.com.