What has become for many former junior seminarians of Saint Francis High School a highlight of the year, the annual reunion of all classes was held at the Salesian Sisters School in Corralitos on April 30th, 2016. Men attended from classes of the 60's and 70's, some traveling great distances from as far away as northern Oregon and as close as Watsonville. Of special note was the presence of Salesian Father Dave Purdy who joined in all the activities (and celebrated Mass), as well as the marvelous Salesian Sisters who generously opened up their facilities to us again.
These reunions revolve around brotherhood, spirituality, and food/drink. Wives join the former junior seminarians adding an “outsiders” view to a very “inside” type of life that the men experienced.
The day started off with a great lunch cooked by Mike Marheineke and was followed by a period of “free activities.” Around 3:00 pm, Victor Suarez ('67) led us in a group activity, followed by Mass, and then appetizers and dinner.
The blue skies of Corralitos brought the cheer out in everyone with a lot of laughter, reminiscing about the “old days” (laundry numbers, wars on the lake, plays, and athletics). Jim Collins shared an album from his days at Saint Francis with old copies of the school newspaper, “Echo of the Valley.” In these there were scores from soccer, basketball, and football! We had some good teams and some that were athletic, but with not so good scores.
One of the highlights was the afternoon group discussion. Men and their wives had answered the same questions about the how the Saint Francis experience had affected them and the results were great! Of note was the fact that Saint Francis boys have a general aversion to eating chicken and ribs with their hands. The ladies were impressed at how the fellows can pick a chicken clean with a knife and fork! The undercurrent of discussion was the strong sense of Salesian Spirituality which all feel after many years of being away from life at Saint Francis, as well as a strong work ethic that was instilled by the shared labors of Saint Francis.
At the Mass, the names of deceased alumni [attached] were read and the members of the Class of 1966 (their 50th Anniversary!) were also remembered in a special way.
As stated above the annual reunion is a focus for many as it provides an opportunity to center us on an important part of our lives, as well as a time of great happiness in the spirit of Don Bosco.
Each year, the alumni take up a collection to cover expenses and to make a donation to the hosts of the event. This year, $860 was given as a donation to Salesian Sisters.
Additionally, alumni were informed of various scholarship opportunities and a "wish list" [attached] to support the work of the Sisters and of St. Francis High School in Watsonville.
Back Row: Colette Aldridge, Jim Aldridge, Charlotte McCarthy, Joe McCarthy, Tony Ragonesi, Frank Alves, Fr. Dave Purdy, Gary Lockhart, Vic Suarez, Fernando Micheli, Jim Collins
Middle Row: Ignatius Schmidt, Pat Rawson, Julianne Ragonesi, Marie Marheineke, Stephanie Alves, Anita Lockhart, Janice Micheli, Barbara Collins
Front Row: Maria Marin, John Marin, Marty Lastowski, Michael Marheineke
Next year's reunion will be organized by Jim Aldridge ('70) and Michael Marheineke ('64), so you'll be receiving communications from them in the future.