Nearly 14,000 graduates have gone through Saint Viator High School since it opened in 1961, but only one class claims the right of being first.
The class of 1965 call themselves the “Charter Class” and they gathered this weekend for their 50th reunion.
“The day we started freshman year, was the day the school opened,” says Mark Condon, who helped plan their reunion. “We were the first class to go all four years at the school.”
Members of the planning committee gathered before the festivities began, and they reminisced about the first few days of their freshman year, when they met their new teachers and administrators, most of whom were Viatorian priests and brothers.
They fondly recalled Fr. Paul Gilgallon, who started the school’s chorus, before demonstrating field goals to the football team and throwing batting practice for the baseball team — all while wearing his cassock.
During their senior year, class members dedicated their yearbook to their class moderator, Fr. Daniel Mirabelli, CSV, who had started the Pride Club, which is now the Ambassadors’ Club, and had instilled in them a sense of school spirit.
“The reality is, we had great Viatorian mentors,” says Dick Helmer.
Larry Seick was a cheerleader on the school’s all-male squad, and he led the planning committee in singing the fight song, in advance of their formal, reunion dinner.
“The significance of our class didn’t dawn on us until we got older,” Seick said, “but as upperclassmen, we began to realize that we were Viator’s own. We would always be the first class.”
Joe Grant served as president of the student body during his senior year, and he says members of the Student Council realized they were establishing traditions, when they started the school newspaper, the yearbook, the first homecoming dance and senior prom.
“It kind of occurred to us as we were leaving,” Grant said, “that we had started something, that we had left a legacy.
“The fun of it is, to see what stuck,” Grant added, “to see what we started that has helped to build the school into the great institution it is today.”