Looking Back with our Golden Graduates | Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School


Looking Back with our Golden Graduates

On Saturday June 14 thirty-seven graduates from the St. Joseph’s and Notre Dame Classes of 1964 gathered on campus to celebrate their 50 year reunion and Golden Celebration. This is one of SJND’s most cherished alumni events. Each class has their unique stories to tell of what SJND was like 50 years ago, but the familiar refrains of lifelong friendships formed and a valuable education received repeat from year to year.

During lunch, class members Susan Saffold Cook and Ed Garcia shared their high school memories. Susan recounted her memories of each of the nuns who kept the Notre Dame gals in line both within the impenetrable gates of the Notre Dame campus as well as at dances. Ed told tales of one of his classmates, later reported as Peter Castelluccio, discovering and fishing out a tiger shark from the nearby Bay.

Following the lunch, Father George Alengadan led Mass with the focus of his Homily on our shared human state of constant change, and the importance of sometimes taking a moment to give thanks to God for the experiences and people who have shaped who we are today. During her Prayers of the Faithful, Teresita Bautista did a beautiful job of remembering those 1964 class mates who have passed away. Paul Mena shared the impact of his high school education on his own life,

“I was on the path to becoming a troubled East Oakland youth. So I was fortunate when the Pastor of St. Bernard's Parish, Father John Kelly, directed my mother to enroll me in the parish elementary school, which led to my enrollment at St. Joe’s. I owe it to these schools for providing me with the opportunity to become a parole agent later in life working at various county jails and Northern California prisons. Through my work, I’ve been reminded that I fortunately did not end up incarcerated at these facilities like several of my youthful neighborhood acquaintances. I give thanks for my valuable St. Joseph's experience which definitely provided me with excellent decision-making tools.”

We were thrilled to have the Class of 1964 back on campus. Thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate. Special thanks to Jack Russell, Teresita Bautista, Ed Garcia, Bob Lubeck, Peter and Ellen Bruno Castelluccio, Susan Saffold Cook, Paul Mena and Dan Carroll for their readings and speeches. And thank you to the reunion organizing committee who worked so hard throughout the year to get in touch with fellow class mates and helped shape the events of the day: Ann Peters Baechler, Dan Carroll, Susan Saffold Cook, Garth Donoviel, Jim Lee, Paul Mena and Karen Patrick.