Southern Tier school holds reunion for Class of 1965

By Patti O’Connor-Allen

Seventy-five eighth-grade students graduated from St. John the Evangelist School in Binghamton in June 1965. On Sept. 10, 2021, many came back to attend their first reunion in 56 years. Some classmates traveled from as far away as Florida, Colorado, South Carolina and Virginia.

Helping me to plan this reunion for over two years were my co-chairs, Patty Williams and Nancy Seliga. Even if they couldn’t attend, all the classmates we contacted were so supportive and helpful.

The attendees had a short self-guided tour of the school and a class photo outside the school, and then we headed over to a delicious dinner and social at the House of Reardon in Binghamton.

This night of nostalgia featured a moment of reflection for our nine deceased classmates. Each classmate was given a booklet of memories that sparked discussion and laughter amid lively tunes from the ’50s and ’60s.

Comments from our booklet, “MEMORIES from our SJS Class of 1965,” include the following:

• “I remember Sister St. Cornelius and, of course, Sister Bartholomew. We really had an exceptional education in English, Art and Music.”

• “Remember the 7th and 8th grades when the boys and girls were separated.”

• “Remember when Sister Corinne taught us to sing all the church hymns in Latin? When we learned how to process all around the church over and over again?”

• “I remember trying to perfect The Palmer Method [of penmanship].”

• “You may remember that in our day, girls were not allowed on the altar. On our Confirmation Day, my father took me to the church hours earlier, walked me past the altar rail to the altar so he could take 2 photos of me in my Confirmation gown. I kept looking over my shoulder because I was scared someone would catch us.”

• “Who took over as editor of ‘The Daily Dracula’ from Paul Feheley (the founder) in 6th or 7th grade? Our alternate reality newsletter was filled with concocted stories largely inspired by the Bela Lugosi Dracula movie.”

• “Being hit in the head with a football and going down. Many great friends and teachers.”

Members of the Class of 1965 gather on Sept. 10, 2021, at St. John the Evangelist School in Binghamton. The writer of this article is in the second row, right of middle. (Photos courtesy of P. O’Connor-Allen)

Through individual donations and a 50/50 raffle, $275 was raised to give a gift to St. John’s School. Our classmates were extremely generous, and the monetary gift will be used for  the Principal’s Discretionary Fund during the current school year.

It was exciting to see so many of us renew friendships and share amusing anecdotes. Our classmates all agreed that we had received an excellent education at St. John’s, which encouraged a lifelong quest for learning and provided a solid foundation in our spiritual and moral character. We had such a good time, we may even do it again!

Patti O’Connor-Allen is a retired teacher and lives both in The Villages, Fla., and in her hometown, Binghamton.

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