Alfonso Cardenas - Your Brother in the Class of ‘59 6/26/2019
HIGHLIGHTS OF 60TH REUNION 1959 SAINTS CLASS
What a wonderful 60th reunion of the class of 1959 at St. Augustine High School on June 8 and 9, 2019!! Very emotional, touching, fun, eye-opening reunion including the spouses of a good number of classmates.
The Saints gatherings were at the beautiful and impressive new Saints Commons complex just west of the football field.
Friday evening was our happy hour with good heavy hors d’oeuvres at one of the Commons reception rooms.
Saturday was the full day at the Commons starting with breakfast at the underground social room followed by our emotional two-hour session sharing our individual stories. We opened with news of a significant number of our brothers not able to attend due to health or physical ailments.
We then took a minute of silence and memories for each of our seven brothers who passed away since our last 55th Year reunion. Tears and heart-touching memories of them flowed.
Next each one of us shared 5-6 minutes of memories and appreciations and life highlights. The highs and lows shared brought joy and laughter and sadness, and great pride for our brothers. So much in common of what Saints means to us and how it has molded our Catholic morals and values and lives and families. Our brotherhood and love for each other flowed throughout our moving session. A fantastic feeling. A highlight in our lives!
Next decided that we should have more frequent reunions as our advancing age is taking its toll in our living ranks and ability to travel. Several brothers are now very sadly in advanced illness stages and others with advancing ailments. Our next reunion in likely 3 years should coincide with the fun Saints homecoming weekend usually in October and see the dynamic Saints students/faculty/staff and football game.
After lunch, Saints President Ed Hearn provided an overview of Saints impressive academic and facility development and status, and then a tour of the new Commons and old basketball gym area developments. Over the last 10 years of so Saints has spent around 55 Million dollars on its development:
The brand new Commons including its impressive underground basketball arena, wrestling practice room, locker rooms for sports teams, coaches and team meeting rooms, health and first aid room, etc.
The redoing of the old basketball gym to include a weight and lifting room for sports teams and the majority for the impressive Performing Arts Center and its beautiful theater.
All the new facilities have latest state of the art and high technology, beyond any high school any us have seen and comparable to a top modern private college complex.
President Ed closed with an overview of the impressive academic development and increasing excellence of Saints students. He invited us to contribute to Saints $ Endowment that is so important to finance Saints development and assist financially disadvantaged students wanting to get a Saints education, and to consider this in our wills.
Father Harry Neely unfortunately broke a leg and could not officiate our traditional mass on Saturday afternoon, so two of our classmates visited him at his convalescence facility in our reunion representation. Father Neely is one of the very few surviving ’59 Saints teachers.
We had a fun and really good dinner including our spouses. Several spouses mentioned how impressed they were with our ’59 Saints brotherhood and love and fun with each other.
Vito Roccoforte prepared and showed a great slide show of our 50th Reunion. How time has taken its toll in our looks and ranks in the last 10 years! But those of us blessed with enough health continue enjoying life so much.
Afterward a good number of classmates gathered at the Executive meeting room in the Handlery Hotel for drinks and goodies and camaraderie.
Grant Wyborney surprised there: he commissioned, with another Saints alumnus, a pretty ceramic plaque in a boxed wooden frame commemorating the reunion to present to President Ed Hearn for display at Saints.
A wonderful wonderful reunion, the smallest we have had in numbers physically present. But with others attending in spirit!
Many thanks to Bob Medlock who kindly agreed to compose the reunion album with photos and videos from the many that Vito and others took.
Much appreciation to our lead organizers Ozzie Gontang, Vincent Salazar and Vito Roccoforte, plus Chris Cashman, Director of Saints Advancement and Alumni Relations, who devoted the time, energy and enthusiasm to make it possible!!