A historic celebration took place at Saint Viator High School Saturday Sept. 13, when members of its first graduating class, the Class of 1964, returned to celebrate their 50th reunion.
The two-day event began Friday morning with the Mass of the Holy Spirit, the first all-school Mass of the year. As members of the reunion class processed into the gym, the entire student body stood to give them a standing ovation.
“Their presence demonstrated to our students that Saint Viator is bigger than all of us…and that we are all standing on the shoulders of these men,” Chris Wells, director of alumni relations, said. “We sent them forth with Red Lion flags to showcase their loyalty wherever life takes them from here.”
Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, welcomed Saint Viator’s first graduating class, the Class of 1964, at the first all-school Mass Friday, Sept. 12. The Mass marked the beginning of a special weekend. The school’s first group of students returned to their roots to reflect on their years spent at Saint Viator and the impact they had on their lives.
Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, presided at the Mass, and at the end, students and graduates celebrated together by enthusiastically singing the school’s traditional fight song. Their trip down memory lane did not stop there. The alumni then joined with school administrators and the development office for brunch in the Viator Room. A highlight of the meal was a slide show, which featured yearbook photos from their time as students. The video featured young students wearing jackets and ties during years when President John F. Kennedy was in office, and before the upheaval of Vatican II and the Civil Rights movement.
“There is no question that the discipline and education that we received placed us in a position from which success in life was attainable — if not assured,” said Dr. Thomas O’Keefe, current resident orthopedic surgeon in Ann Arbor, Mich.
The generation gap appeared even greater when alumni toured the school to see changes on every floor. When this group began their sophomore year in the fall of 1962, everything, the whole building was new. Walking the hallways 50 years later, the group saw the third floor Scanlan Center, the first floor Marie Gallagher Academic Commons, and the two-story Boler
Center, among the most impressive renovations completed over the past 50 years.
The reunion continued Friday night, when grads gathered in a tent during the Lions’ home football game against East Suburban Catholic Conference opponent, Marist. The Saint Viator pep band even came to the tent to perform for them.
Before the game, the alumni stepped onto the field to lead a prayer and a pep talk for the team. Many even watched some of the game from the sidelines, including Doug Frait, a retired teacher, who played football for the Lions. Despite the colder temperatures, Frait appeared so excited to be there, that he would have suited up to jump in and play.
The reunion continued Saturday, when graduates and their wives gathered at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Arlington Heights for a formal dinner, before joining other alumni, parents and Saint Viator faculty and staff at September Fest on the school grounds.
“Thank you for taking a risk,” Fr. Brost said to the men. “You attended a school you knew nothing about, but it’s because of you, that so many students after you have been able to experience and live the mission of Fr. Querbes and Saint Viator.”