ALUMNI WEEKEND 2013 HUGH SUCCESS
St. Bernard again held its 4-day Alumni Celebration June 27-30, welcoming approximately 300 of its alumni and family members back for the annual reunion. Although many alumni return every year, this year St. Bernard honored the classes of 1943, 1948, 1953, 1958, 1963, 1968, 1973, 1978, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003, and 2008.
A Golf Reception held in the Brahma Room was the first event; golfers and friends gathered to receive their team assignments and had the opportunity to meet other players. Traditionally, teams “bid on a monk” at this reception, raising funds for the school by vying for monks to become members of their team.
Registration was handled in the Conference Center of Boniface Hall, manned by Carol and Chris Rooney (C’63). St. Bernard memorabilia and yearbooks were on display.
Alumnus Fred Frye (C’55), coordinated the Golf Scramble. Fifty-four golfers took to the greens at Chesley Oaks Golf Course to participate in the St. Bernard Scramble on Friday, June 28. The overall winning team, with a score of 57, consisted of members of the class of 1972, Harry Davies, Carl Kuchler, Bill McCann, and Tom Martin. Tom Dallett, Joe Franey, and Jim Lewis took second overall awards. The first place College team was the Class of 1957 which included Jim Smith, Richard Calvin, Jerry Sullivan, and Carol Rooney, as well as Fr. Jacob Amos. The winning Prep School team was made up of Wade Knight, John Arndt, Josh Arndt, and Keith Messick. Fred Frye donated all prizes, including an original artwork by Joe Jahraus for each winner. Jahraus is an award-winning artist who was Hallmark’s Creative Director. A delicious lunch of BBQ, potato salad, slaw, baked beans and cookies prepared by Carey Craig of Chesley Oaks, and was served in the Clubhouse where awards were presented.
Festivities continued for reunion participants on Friday evening with a Barn Hoedown held in the new Performing Arts Center, the Abbey Byre. Julie Butts welcomed each attendee with a souvenir bandana. Classmates and their families renewed acquaintances while feasting on hoedown-themed hor d’oeuvres provided by Chef Allie Foster (C’2005) and crew. Mini BBQ sandwiches, BLTs, Shrimp Cocktail, Polenta & Mushrooms, and Strawberry Shortcake were on the menu. Current students of St. Bernard Prep served the alumni, while Mark Pudles and Buster Ross, both parents of current students, volunteered to serve libations; Mark and Buster also volunteered for Saturday’s festivities as well.
Bright and early on Saturday morning, about two dozen alumni plus other friends and family gathered at the trailhead of The Trails of Saint Bernard, to brave a 5K Run/Walk, coordinated by Roger Blaylock. Meanwhile, less awake guests were treated to a breakfast in the school Dining Hall, presented by Chef Allie and crew. Alumni and families strolled around the campus to get reacquainted with their alma mater and to revisit favorite school haunts. Many former students were found in the Administration building, looking at the class photos, which date back to 1890s. Numerous stories were told of campus antics and escapades.
Mid-morning, a large number of alumni gathered at the new Abbey Byre for the Arts (renovated Barn) to take part in the Rededication and Blessing of this new performing arts center. Abbot Cletus Meagher invited everyone to join in the blessing of the “new” facility.
Fr. Marcus Voss followed the blessing with the Annual Town Hall meeting in which he thanked attendees for their loyal support and told about all the accomplishments St. Bernard students and monks have achieved in the past year, as well as the progress the Abbey has made in capital improvements. He presented a number of materials, including the new Capital Campaign for St. Bernard, and the Prep School Viewbook.
Abbot Cletus continued the meeting with a presentation on the status of The Clairvaux Society, St. Bernard’s planned estate gift program, and an update on The Columbarium. A short documentary trailer of “Brother Joseph and the Grotto” was presented and all were invited to return on October 17, 2013 for the Film Premiere of the documentary to be held here at St. Bernard in the Abbey Byre. Materials on each project were made available to the alumni.
After lunch in the Dining Hall, several alumni took advantage of St. Bernard’s many athletic facilities including an Alumni Soccer Game and a Tennis match on the Robert Blevins Courts. There were no takers on the Softball game that Robert Bucella tried to organize—“too hot!” Late in the afternoon the alumni attended the Alumni Vigil Mass held in the Abbey Church.
The culmination of the reunion was held on Saturday evening with a plated dinner of roast beef with all the accouterments . Joyce Nix oversaw all the table décor which included an elegant theme of black/white with fine china and gorgeous blue hydrangeas. Alumni and guests were served by current students of St. Bernard Prep School. Guests were entertained by a special tribute slide show to the classes of 1969-1979, created by alumnus John J. King, college class of 1973.
The prep school class of 2003 opened their time capsule, revealing old pictures, posters, class assignments, and other memorabilia; the capsule was resealed with additional items, to be opened at a future reunion in 2023.
The highlight of the evening was a special presentation of The Abbot Benedict Menges Medal for Outstanding Service that was awarded to Miles Maxted, Business Manager of St. Bernard Abbey. Abbot Cletus Meagher also presented Miles with a beautiful cross in addition to the certificate, given “in recognition of his many accomplishments, commitment, and dedicated service in financial management and in the preservation, restoration, and maintenance of St. Bernard Abbey and Preparatory School.”
Special thanks and recognitions were shared with several class coordinators, including Bob “Stewart” Keighery for the Class of HS 1958, and John Wojcik for the college classes of the late 1960s. In addition, Dr. John King, coordinator for all the 1970 classes, and Fred Frye, Golf Scramble Coordinator, were each given a Certificate of Appreciation for all their work and dedication to making the Reunion a success.
The evening drew to a close with a photo taken of each class(es) by Dorenda Doyle. All pictures from the Reunion Weekend can be found either at the Facebook or the FlickR links on the www.stbernardprep.com website.
Sunday morning found many alumni saying their fair wells and making promises to “meet again next year.” An Omelet bar was presented in the Dining Hall by Chef Allie’s crew, followed by Mass with the monastic community in the St. Bernard Abbey Church.
Fr. Marcus Voss, Director of Development at St. Bernard said, “I always look forward to this weekend. It is a great time to have our alumni back on campus, to visit with them and catch up with what is taking place in their lives.”