The September when I was entering the 6th grade, our family moved to Oneida, NY. The local parochial school, St. Patrick School, would not let me enroll in their 6th grade! They said they already had too many students in the class for one teacher to handle. I believe the number was 42. It made little sense to me as a ten year old since we had 48 in my class my first five years at St. Mary School! So I went to the public schools in Oneida; Seneca Street School for 6th grade and Oneida Junior High School for 7th, 8th and 9th grades. Even though I never attended High School in Oneida, I will be attending the 50th Anniversary Reunion with the Senior Class of 1968 next weekend. Most of the class I knew from my Junior High years. The members of that graduating class I knew the least were those who attend St. Patrick School which went through ninth grade just like the Junior High I attended. I never attended school with them at all in Oneida although I knew some of them through church and summer baseball and other activities. Ironically, it was the boy who they wouldn’t allow to attend St. Patrick School who became a priest!
I am looking forward to seeing former classmates again and renewing old acquaintances. The Friday night activity will begin with a memorial service for the classmates who have died. Sorry to say too many have already. I have been asked to lead the service as we remember the classmates who are no longer with us. The rest of the activities for the weekend will be much more light-hearted as we spend time together. But, I must say it will be strange seeing people I haven’t seen in fifty years!
While 50 years seems like a long time it is hardly a blink of the eye when compared to Malvie Hunt! Malvie will be 103 years old in October. When I was visiting her on a Communion call this month she told me she was going to attend a Reunion at SUNY-Cortland. It will be her 80th Anniversary of her being graduated from Cortland! And I bet maybe the first to achieve such an honor! Malvie told me went she first went there to become a teacher it was called Cortland Normal School, a term used for institutions with teacher-training programs. In 1938 the teacher-training program at Cortland was extended to four years. In 1941 the Cortland Normal School became Cortland State Teachers College providing a four-year program leading to a bachelor’s degree. In 1948 the college would become a charter member of the State University of New York and in 1961 would be renamed SUNY at Cortland. I dare say, Malvie will probably be the only one at the reunion who can trace their connection back to when it was still the Normal School! The School certainly has gone through many name changes in its history, but so has Malvie as she has out lived three husbands!
Malvie said to me. “I don’t know why I am still here.” I said in reply, “So you can be an inspiration to the rest of us.” I am sure when she goes to her reunion 80 years after her graduation she will be an “inspiration” to all those attending. Congratulations Malvie!
Some other anniversary celebrations will be taking place in our county. St. Alphonsus Parish in Auburn will be celebrating their 165th Anniversary as a parish. Their pastor, Rev. Timothy Niven is celebrating his 20th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood and Deacon Gregg Lawson his 30th Anniversary of Ordination. On August 15th, St. Mary Parish in Auburn will be celebrating their 150th Anniversary as a parish. Congratulations to all!
God bless you, Father Bill