Early on a recent Saturday night, in a Gibbons first, nearly 30 alumni who graduated 50 plus years ago, gathered for dinner to recall shared memories and pride of being Golden Crusaders. And over the next three hours, they stepped back in time.
These alumni showcase an earlier time in the school’s nearly 110-year-history. They graduated from Gibbons when they lived at Nazareth Orphanage and attended the school, then known as Sacred Heart Academy; or when it was named Cathedral Latin High School and in a downtown Raleigh location; or when it was Cardinal Gibbons but located on Western Blvd.
Describing the goal of the dinner Associate Director of Alumni Advancement Susan Leigh '87 said: “To create an annual gathering, organized by the school, to celebrate alumni who graduated as Crusaders 50 years ago or earlier, so they may connect with each other and with their school.”
In his welcome, Principal Jason Curtis thanked the attendees for gathering together and for all they have done for Gibbons. He told them that the reason we have a school like we do today is because of them, and that the gifts they have given to the Gibbons community live on today.
In his welcome, Principal Jason Curtis thanked the attendees for gathering together and for all they have done for Gibbons. He told them that the reason we have a school like we do today is because of them, and that the gifts they have given to the Gibbons community live on today. He also told them that students today participate in traditions that existed since the Golden Crusaders were in school – Baccalaureate Mass, Graduation, Junior Mass. “These are gifts that are beneficial to them and that they share with YOU,” he explained.
To be sure, there was plenty of Crusader pride on display Saturday night. After rounds of hugs, handshakes, and hearty pats on the back the alumni, who graduated between 1949 and 1968 and included two sets of twins, talked about their long-ago high school days. They chatted about sports glory, their turn as valedictorian or Mr. Cathedral Latin; a special trip to New York City as the Humbugs, a folk singing group; and about favorite teachers or coaches. They also discussed classmates who, back in the day, resembled celebrities – Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly were mentioned – or became celebrities of sorts, including one who worked in the White House when LBJ was president.
They even talked about rules they may or may not have broken, like it wasn’t appropriate to date guys who didn’t wear ties – wink, wink; or about some of their less than stellar moments, including being in detention for an infraction they would not name, only to leave via a window; or playing pranks on the Dominican Sisters, who administered the school. The sisters were not amused. There was also talk of personal and professional triumphs and joys; of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren; as well as of fellowship and faith.
At the end of the evening, each alum received a gold Gibbons Cross lapel pin. The cross is the same as the one students receive at graduation – only theirs is silver. The hope, Leigh told the alumni, is that you will wear the pin when you attend events at Gibbons, acknowledging your special connection to Gibbons as Golden Crusaders to all you meet.
Looking ahead, all involved said they are excited to gather together when members of the Class of 1969 join the Golden Crusaders family. So, when leaving the restaurant, one after another of the alumni could be overheard saying, see you next year …
Top left (pictured from left):Barbara Sneed Newton '53, Gary Meyerl '82, Director of Outreach Ministry, Albert Sneed '49, and Tara Dorsett '19.
Top right (pictured from left): Sharon Walters Long '68, Jacque Peebles '68, Bernadette Ledbetter Walters '68, John Butler '68, Shirley Walters Westbrook '68, and Noel Grandy-Smith '68.
Middle left: Harry Kledaras '52
Bottom right: Gibbons Cross lapel pin