“Lost Class” of ‘73 Gather for 40th Anniversary Reunion

Members of the '73 class gathered at Saint Benedict's for their 40th reunion.
Members of the ’73 class gathered at Saint Benedict’s for their 40th reunion.

Members of St. Benedict’s Class of 1973 convened for their 40th reunion the weekend of Oct. 18. Four decades earlier, they had been summoned to the very same building by Abbot Ambrose Clark, and told that the school would be suspending its operations indefinitely. However, those who came back on Friday had many fond memories of the school they never graduated from.

“In many ways, Benedict’s today is not very different from the Benedict’s that existed during our time,”  Neil Duffy ‘73 said. Although he finished his last year of high school at the Delbarton School in Morristown, Mr. Duffy never forgot the formative experience he had at St. Benedict’s. “My time at this school was a real eye-opener,” Mr. Duffy said. “Coming from the suburbs to the city every day helped me realize I was part of a bigger picture.”

The reunion was held throughout the course of the weekend, and classmates were able to first greet each other in a reception in the school cafeteria. Smiling broadly, the alumni sat down to reminisce. The inevitable came up.  “At the start, I don’t think many of us knew what had happened in 1972, but as the years went on, the monks, as I understand them, had a schism within the monastery,” John Kelly ‘73 said.  ”Although we weren’t allowed the privilege of completing senior year, the value I got out of Benedict’s is wonderful,” he said. “The foundation of my education was really laid here.”

The reunion was organized by Class Agent Bob Silvestri ‘73 and Special Events Director Candace Bradsher. The Class of 1973 has traditionally held a reunion every five years, having started with their 25th anniversary. “They enjoyed it,” Ms. Bradsher said, “but a few of them were disappointed with the turnout. One attendee was really discouraged, but most understood that a lot of classmates still have hard feelings because of the abrupt closing.”

“I’ve suggested that in the future, they hold the reunion offsite,” Ms. Bradsher said. “That way, those members who might have a hard time coming back can meet their classmates in a different setting.”  This reunion, however, was a great success. Leaving the evening’s festivities on Saturday night, the alumni jubilantly hugged one another. “I’m truly proud of Benedict’s,” Ray Venero ‘73 said. “I think what all the monks have done is tremendous. I support it any way I can, and I’m looking forward to how far it goes in the future.”