Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mystery photo: St. Michael's Catholic School in Pitcairn?

As many of you guessed, this is a class photo (probably 8th grade) taken at St. Michael's Catholic School in Pitcairn of folks who, for the most part, went on to graduate from Gateway Senior High School. (See bigger photo in previous post.)

Let's break the photo down into sections to try to get a better look at these kids while identifying them.

In this enlarged portion of the picture are, left to right, bottom row: Billy Scherrah, Patty Gregg, Mark Waibel and Father Maher; second row: Sister Mary Brenda, Mike Cima, Kathie Mason, Larry Gisi and Janet George; top row: Ricky Siebert; Freda Litzinger, Wayne Rullo and the late Vicki Matakas.

Here are, left to right, bottom row: Mary Jane Di Cecco, Anthony Fasano and Jean Behe; second row: Becky Manovich, Ralph Jenko, Judy Gibson, Mark Wojton and Sister Agnes Louise; top row: John Safran, Gloria Solak, Charles Sipe and Teresa Shoup.

How well did you do in identifying these people?

Janet George (now Janet Knight), who provided this photo, isn't sure about Sister Mary Brenda. I suppose it has something to do with those fashionable outfits nuns wore back in those days.

I'm looking forward to hearing the "long story" about the "infamous" Sister Agnes Louise.

Janet reports that Becky Manovich moved to Minnesota soon after this picture was taken. Gloria Solak moved to California. Some of the classmates are still in touch with Gloria.

Does anyone know what happened to Patty Gregg and Jean Behe? Neither are pictured or listed with our senior class in the 1967 Portavian.

During our 60th Birthday Celebration Weekend in June, some Gateway/St. Michael alumni attended an event at St. Mike's. I've heard that Peggy Loughner Fisher took pictures that will be included in the reunion package she's assembling.

In the meantime, this blog is open to reports about that event, stories about St. Mike's (good or bad, including the one about the infamous nun) and other nostalgic photos, newspaper articles and memorabilia.

You can add to this discussion by using the "Comments" option below or by posting new blog items. (To obtain blogging rights, contact Alana Miltak Baranick at

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Who are these people?

Can you guess:
  • who these people are?
  • when, where and on what occasion this photo was taken?
  • and why members of Gateway Senior High School's Class of 1967 should care?
Answers will be coming soon. In the meantime, feel free to post your guesses below under "comments."

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

V. Lee Harrity found

It was great to see so many old classmates in June, but the one person who had been on my mind the most over the years was Mr. V. Lee Harrity. He came to teach choir at Gateway in time for us (11th Grade, I seem to recall), and I thought he was magic. He took a mediocre bunch of high school singers, and turned us into quite a finely tuned instrument, often challenging our comfort zone with very sophisticated pieces.

For senior year I was set on getting into the madrigal choir (more of that wonderful, challenging material), but it just didn't fit with my academic schedule, so I took mixed choir - I took it by the horns. I was lucky to assist Mr. Harrity a few times, and he taught me to conduct.

After the reunion, with the smart sleuthing of Phil Billings, I had his phone number, and gave him a call one evening. We knew that shortly after we'd graduated he'd married, they'd had a daughter, and he had a Christian choir that seemed very popular and respected. On the internet were also reviews of the choir from Texas, and that's where we found him.

He sounded very upbeat - exactly as I remembered him - and said he'd heard about the recent reunion. He indeed is still conducting his choir. I had a delightful half hour chat with him. The one sad note is the loss of their daughter to cancer just a few years ago. He remembered our class as being a particularly talented bunch of students. And he was very pleased to hear how music had remained part of my career.

In fact, in my building (Performing Arts Lodge, Vancouver) we're holding a first meeting on Thursday evening about forming an in-house choir (we have a theatre, and a garden, on our top floor).

And if the urge hits you, Phil and I have V. Lee's number.

After the reunion, I also heard from Amy (Brill) Rafferty - we've now tracked down 3/5 of the original Poor Boys from the Talent Troupe; the other we're in touch with is (Mag)Gie Parsons.

Ellie O'Day
survivor of the 2009 west coast heat wave