Class reunions:10, 20…and 56th?

Holy Redeemer School's eighth grad graduating class of 1954. Sitting center is their teacher (Sister Mary Mark) now Sister Mary Lou.

By Shana LiVIGNI

The three day weekend of April 16 brought together many of the eighth grade graduates of Holy Redeemer School in Montrose. Unusual? Yes.  A success?  Absolutely! This ‘get together’ began eight months ago and involved many of the grads that live on the west coast. The reunion committee consisted of Chairman Gary Geer (Montrose), Pat (Golden) Gale (North Plains, OR), John Allard (Montrose) and Francine (Enders) Lee (North Hills).
“I made the agenda for the three day event and was assisted by John and Francine in putting it all together. Pat did the correspondence and the locating of the classmates,” said Geer. “Thanks to her, we had such a good turnout.” Even the star of the show, 80 year old Sister Mary (Mark) Lou Larkin arrived from Chicago to be with the kids she taught 60 years earlier, when she was only 20 years old.
Former fifth grader, Jim Lopez of Sunland, recalled being her student. “She was great. We were her first class and she was a new teacher, her first year teaching. We were scared of her and she was scared of us but she was great.  She taught us a lot.”
“I was the fifth grade teacher of these wonderful kids who are now 69 and 70 years old,” she explained. “It was my first teaching job and this September will be my 63rd year as a Sister. These kids have helped nourish me through the years. I just got so much from these children and I’ll never forget them. They helped me be where I am today and have stayed in touch with many of them.” Sister Mary Lou Larkin made it to the reunion despite
a recent injury she received while downhill skiing
in Wisconsin.
“On Friday, at my home, we had about 35 people attend (23 classmates & spouses).
We had hot dogs, snacks, drinks and a lot of visiting. Some of my classmates I haven’t seen or talked to for the past 56 years. Others I see quite often,” Gary Geer explained. “Bill Borklund made his ‘World Famous’ margarita’s which were enjoyed by everyone!
On Saturday, at the Holy Redeemer hall we had about 40 people attend (24 classmates & spouses).  El Sol restaurant catered our dinner and it was spectacular!  We presented Sister Mary Lou Larkin with a gift, an engraved trophy, from the class of 1954 to show our appreciation to her for all she does for others.”
The weekend wrapped up with the alumni attending a morning mass at Holy Redeemer Church, then off to Gary’s home again for coffee, rolls and more conversation. “Our intentions were to make sure everyone had a memorable time and I think we exceeded our expectations,” he said. “Our class of 1954 has always been very close and even though we may not see each other as often, we still remain close.”  This class of 1954 will be planning their 60th Graduation Reunion in 2014.