The faculty, students and alumni of Blessed Sacrament-St. Gabriel High School in New Rochelle couldn’t save it from closing, but the former students can certainly find a way to relive their days there.
Some alumni have set up a reunion of the students in August at the VIP Country Club in New Rochelle.
“It will be something nice to do, because there’s nothing more you really can do than celebrate the memory of the school at this point,” said Valeria Girardi, who is organizing the festivities.
It will start at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 16 at the club, 600 Davenport Ave. in New Rochelle. Alumni can buy tickets on the reunion’s Facebook page, or by contacting Girardi at (914) 309-6563.
Up to 850 alumni can attend. That’s more than four times the current enrollment of just over 200. But Girardi said almost 50 people have signed up already, some from places as far away as Virginia and Florida. And they have a long history from which to draw. Girardi’s mother, who graduated in 1949 from St. Gabriel, when it was an all-girls school, plan to attend, she said.
St. Gabriel joined with Blessed Sacrament in the 1980s, while Girardi was in high school, she said.
Many people were upset, even devastated, when the Archdiocese of New York announced in January that the school would close at the end of this school year. Those saddened included students and recent alumni who said they had been struggling in their academics elsewhere and turned themselves around when they were welcomed in to warm, family-like atmosphere in the school.
One after another, they praised Principal Edward Sullivan as a school leader who knew all their names and helped them with their problems.
One student started an on-line petition at Change.org. More than 1,200 people have signed it, most from the Westchester-New York City region, but some from places as far-flung as Miami, Sherman Oaks, Calif., and St. Paul, Minn.
But the school had been running a deficit, and the archdiocese weighed other factors in demographics when choosing the close the school.
Here is a flier for the reunion: