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St. Mary’s alumni reflect after 50 years

Posted By December 22, 2011 | 12:53 pm | Local

By Mairgread Gray
CFP Correspondent

SHREWSBURY – Lasting friendships that developed and were maintained are some of the best things to come from St. Mary Elementary School according to alumni John Thomas Kelly, class of 1990, and Jenny Sex, class of 2008.
Recently, alumni and friends of St. Mary celebrated the school’s 50th Anniversary with a gala celebration at Charter Oak County Club in Hudson.  Mr. Kelly opened a time capsule that was buried in 1986.  He laughed when he described what was in the capsule: “I was in the 5th grade when the capsule was buried.”  He continued,  “There was a whole lot of dust and dirt and mold. There was an old VHS tape about the school; you probably couldn’t play it today.  There was a leather-bound book of pictures that was tough to decipher. And, a couple of newspaper articles about the school celebrating its 25th anniversary.  There were a bunch of little booklets which students wrote to their adult selves.”
For Mr. Kelly, the best thing about attending St. Mary School was the friendships begun in the first grade.  He attended the school for all eight years. (St. Mary now has grades kindergarten through eight).  “I still maintain these friendships.  My best friend from first grade – Mark McCormack – is the godfather to my two children.  He also was my Best Man at my wedding.  I had seven people from St. Mary’s at the wedding.”  He went on to high school at St. John’s in Shrewsbury.
Mr. Kelly said many former students from 1986 attended the gala celebration, as well as parents of today’s students.  About 300 alumni and friends braved the October Nor’easter to attend the festivities at Charter Oak Country Club.
“The friendships are great.  The values that the school instilled in me and my peers – a good Catholic education was an important experience,” Mr. Kelly said.
Jenny Sex, of the class of 2008, and now a senior at Shrewsbury High School, said she still maintains friendships made at St. Mary’s.  She entered the school in the 5th grade and was there for four years.  “I love the school, the teachers and all the people there who were my mentors.  My four best friends are still my best friends.”
She went to the gala with Mary Grace McGuinn and Jose Yarzebski, friends from St. Mary’s days.
Ms. Sex was the last of her siblings to go to the school.  A brother and sister also attended.  Her younger sister entered kindergarten, and is now a sophomore at Shrewsbury High.
“All three of us went to St. Mary’s; we’re part of St. Mary’s family – and we still are, even though we’re out of the school,” Ms. Sex said.
The Anniversary Gala was followed the next morning by an Alumni Mass at St. Mary Church.  Sira Naras, advancement director, said the Mass was  ministered by 50 alumni.  Msgr. Michael Rose, pastor of St. Mary Parish officiated.
“It was a beautiful Mass with the 50 alumni serving.  There was one alumna from the first class of 1968, and one from 2011.  We had five decades of alumni,” Mrs. Naras said.


Photo by Jennifer Srnka
St. Mary School Founder’s Award winner Dr. Robert Blute Sr., center, is flanked by Principal Joan Barry and Msgr. Michael Rose.