|Bishop O'Reilly Celebrates 50th Year
Bishop OReilly High School, Kingston, recently,
celebrated its 50th year of operation with an all-class reunion
and dinner at the school. Alumni from each of the five decades
of the school's existence were in attendance. Susan Dennen,
Principal, welcomed the graduates, as well as former teachers
and administrators. She also noted the school's distinction
as the Diocese's first and longest-established centralized Catholic
Of special note were seven members of the Class of 1958, the
school's first graduating class: Ellen (Crane) Adams, Donna
(Richards) Fisher, Pat (Wright) Demko, Betsy (Voitek) Fahey,
Mary (Dwyer) Curley, Sister Joan.Katoski, I.H.M., and Leona
Pictured above prior to the festivities are some of the alumni
Bottom row from the left: Frances (Dick) Tanner, 1975; Mary
(Carey) Jiunta, 1973; Maria (Malak) Hutsko, 1983; Christine
(Shemanski) Seybert, 1983; Ellen (Crane) Adams, 1958; Joan Turel,
1959; Donna (Richards) Fisher, 1958; Mike Loughlin, 1998; Heather
Roos, 1995; Mike Demko, 1959; Pat (Wright) Demko, 1958; Mike
Kopec, 1987; Ken Krakosky, 1976; Ann Marie (Mathews) Zupko,
1976; Carol (Polocko) Montgomery, 1971; Elizabeth Hildebrandt,
2002; Theresa (Zabinski) Ryan, 1975; and Bob Ryan, 1974. Second
Row : Diane (Tometchko) Ruch, 1980; Ted Ruch, 1980; Ellen (Noonan)
Schutt, 1983; Lisa (Disano) Stull, 1982;.Monica (Harkins) Salis,
1972; Louise (Goeringer) Kondracki, 1972; Mallory Sowcik, 2003;
Kevin Jordan,: 1974; Mark Jordan, 1975; Maureen Chimelewski)
Jordan, 1976; Thomas Hanlon, 1978; Kathleen Hanlon, 1990;
. Denise Ann (Janosik) Shevock, 1975; Art Flanagan, 1971; Ann
Marie (Miller) Flanagan, 1971; and Maria Maroun, 2002
Third Row : Alice (Rupinski) Naylis, 1959; Susan (Naylis) Kopicki,
1985; Kevin Bittenbender, 1983; Patti (Carey) Urbanovitch, 1980;
Leon Chase, 1966; Jane (Chase) Schultz, 1960; Betsy (Voitek)
Fahey, 1958; Eileen (Jordan) Rishcoff, 1978; Gail (Gorgol) Frank,
1978; Toni (Harzinski) Griseto, 1978; Julie (Guchanyk) Wolfe,
1986; Marian (Grzydowski) Palmeri, 1973; Paula (Kopicki) Baur,
1974; Bob Baur, 1973; Bernie Derby, 1975; Michael W. Dogal,
1976; Mary Helen (Walsh) Dogal, 1978; Donna (Walsh) Lombardo,
1973; Joseph Simkulak, 1981.; and Lisa (Mooney) Simkulak, 1980.
Fourth Row : Roseann (Solano) Hizny, 1972; Alex Dick, 1978;
Maryellen (Finley) Cusma, 1977; Bob Leonardi, 1980; Karen (Lanczak)
Leonardi, 1977; Mary (Dwyer) .Curley, 1958; Daniel W. Sluzeb,
1961; Sister Joan Katoski, I.H.M., 1958; Margaret Ann (Hosey)
Fraley, 1966; Kathy, (menaoace) Hosey, 1972; Maurenn (Fahey)
McGovern, 1985; Loretta (Moran) Adams, 1973; Leona (Yezilski)
Kuttenberg, 1958;Christine (Kuttenberg) Baker, 1980; Suzanne
(Callan) Rhoads, 1966; Sister Mary Alicia Callan, 1963; Paul
S. Skvarla, 1973; Carol (Harkins) Novak, 1970; Jerry Novak,
1973; Michael Corgan, 1966; and Aaron Derby, 1997.
Bishop Dougherty celebrates anniversary Mass at O'Reilly
|West Side Central
Catholic/Bishop O'Reilly High School
All Class Reunion Dinner Dance/Social
1954 - 2004
All former students, teachers, staff,
friends and pastors of
West Side Central Catholic/Bishop O'Reilly High School
are cordially invited!
High School Gymnasium
316 N. Maple Avenue, Kingston, PA 18704
Saturday, April 23, 2005
7:00 p.m. til 11:00 p.m.
$25 per person, buffet dinner selections by Catering by Diane
Live entertainment by "Revival"
This gathering is informal with casual
attire and is just a chance for old friends to chat and reminisce
about dances from the past and the
"Good Old Days"
A Group Photo will be taken at 8:00
p.m. on the basketball court. If you can only attend for a
short time, please try to be here during the group photo.
RSVP by April 10th. Make your reservation
by calling the school at
(570) 288-1404, x 412
Brush off your saddle shoes and
Keds High Top Sneaks and join your
Teachers, Classmates, Upperclassmen, Underclassmen
and everyone else for a fun filled Blue and Gold evening at
West Side Central Catholic/Bishop O'Reilly High School!
The Most Rev. John M. Dougherty, DD, VG, auxiliary bishop of Scranton,
recently celebrated a Mass for the students and staff of Bishop O'Reilly
High School. The liturgy honored the 150th anniversary of the proclamation
of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Mother. Fifty
years ago, Bishop O'Reilly was founded on the 100th anniversary ,of
the proclamation, and the Blessed Mother was named Patroness of the
Participating in the liturgy, first row from left, are Jessica Palmeri;
Susan Dennen principal of Bishop O'Reilly; Bishop Dougherty; Mathew
Bustin; second row, Greg Reichlin, Diocese of Scranton seminarian; Monsignor
Neil J. Van Loon, president of the school's Board of Pastors and concelebrant;
the Rev. Paul Fontanella, director of religious formation at the school
and concelebrant; Christine Bustin; third row, Michael Lanczak and.
Nov. 17, 2004
Bishop O'Reilly, then and now: Catholic high school in Kingston celebrates
By: Denise Allabaugh, Citizens' Voice Staff WriterWhen Bishop O'Reilly
High School in Kingston first opened in 1954, it was staffed by parish
priests, nuns from several orders and a few lay teachers.
Construction begins in 1954
First graduating class in 1958 (188) students
Today, the staff consists of all lay teachers and only one priest, the
Rev. Paul Fontanella, who teaches religion.
"Over the last 30 years, we have seen a decline in this country
of vocations to the priesthood and the religious life," Fontanella
said. "In terms of priests, the bishops have made the parishes
the priority. It's beneficial to have a priest in school, but they also
argue they need to be in churches marrying people and burying people."
Sisters from several religious orders also are feeling the "pinch,"
Fontanella said, as their median age is up.
Many sisters are doing more lucrative work, since the salaries for teaching
in Catholic schools do not measure up to the public schools, Fontanella
In addition to teaching religion at Bishop O'Reilly, Fontanella also
helps out at three parishes in Plymouth, including St. Vincent's, St.
Mary's and St. Stephen's churches.
"We are all wearing several hats these days," Fontanella acknowledged.
The declining number of priests and sisters is just one change Bishop
O'Reilly has experienced over the last 50 years.
Mural in our foyer depicts the Catholic
parishes that support Bishop O'Reilly
The high school is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year with a
variety of activities, including a liturgy held in September. Bishop
Joseph Martino was the principal celebrant.
On Jan. 30 from 2 to 4 p.m., Bishop O'Reilly will have an open house
to celebrate its 50th anniversary and to kick off Catholic Schools'
"Our plan is to have different classrooms designated and decorated
for different decades," said principal Susan Dennen.
Bishop O'Reilly was the first high school built in the Scranton Diocese.
It was initially known as West Side Central Catholic School.
West Side Central Catholic
At the school's first commencement, 188 students graduated on June 8,
Today, enrollment of students in 7th through 12th grade is 378 students.
In the high school, there are 298 students in 9th through 12th grade,
Like other Catholic schools and public schools throughout the area,
Dennen has seen the enrollment decline over the years. She attributed
this to a declining population of young people and the cost factor.
"Parents who send their children here are making a financial commitment
and a financial sacrifice to have their children receive a Catholic
education," Dennen said.
Tuition at Bishop O'Reilly is $3,650 a year plus fees. A percentage
of the school budget is used to provide support for people who want
a Catholic education for their children, but cannot afford it, Dennen
Jim Lynch, an English teacher at Bishop O'Reilly for 33 years, recalled
that before the flood of 1972, there was no tuition
Flood of 1972
"If you belonged to a parish, you came here free," Lynch said.
"But all that changed when the dynamics changed of vocations and
costs. They started with a minimal tuition and it escalated with the
cost of living."
While a number of Catholic elementary schools throughout the Diocese
of Scranton closed in recent years, the nine Catholic high schools in
the Diocese have remained open.
At the end of the 2001-2002 school year, Regis Academy in Swoyersville
and St. Hedwig's in Kingston closed and seventh and eighth graders relocated
to a new junior high school at Bishop O'Reilly.
The school, meanwhile, is constantly changing and adapting.
"What were traditional classrooms have now become computer labs,"
Dennen said. "The uses for the building have changed, but it's
still a fairly traditional school building. This was the first high
school that was not a parish school. It did not have parish affiliation."
According to a history of Bishop O'Reilly that Lynch provided, the cost
of the original two-story building was more than $1 million.
In 1962, the third floor was added in addition to more classrooms, a
physics lab and an elevator.
In June of 1972, Tropical Storm Agnes severely damaged the school. The
basement and the first floor were ruined and damage amounted to more
than $1 million. The school was repaired and reopened the following
September, except for the basement, which took longer to repair.
On June 21, 1973, the school was renamed Bishop O'Reilly High School,
in honor of Bishop Thomas C. O'Reilly, the third Bishop of Scranton.
Bishop O'Reilly now offers more than 100 courses, along with sports,
extracurricular activities and a strong emphasis on religion.
According to Lynch, 97 percent of graduates go on to post-secondary
education and seniors merit an average of $2.3 million in scholarships
annually. Nearly 8,000 alumni have gone on to lead successful, professional
lives in the local community and throughout the nation, he said.
"When I came here in 1972 with the flood, I didn't think I'd be
here in 2004, but it is a special place," Lynch concluded. "This
is home. This is more than a school. There is a lot of genuine love
and affection for this place."
Nov. 11, 2004
O'Reilly celebrates 50 years of dedication
Keeping tradition alive
By Bonnie Adamsemail@example.com
West Side Central Catholic graduate Alice Rupinski Naylis remembers
the gray, below-the-knee jumpers in the 1950s and the brimmed hats
girls wore at Mass.
"They were kind of ugly," she said. "We did it. We
didn't question it."
Since graduating in 1959 from what is now Bishop O'Reilly High School,
Naylis has remained an energetic supporter who still volunteers at
the school's snack bar.
"This school has such a deep meaning to me," she said.
The parochial high school celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
It was the first centralized Catholic high school in the Diocese of
Scranton, as compared to a single-parish high school.
But Bishop O'Reilly came very close to an early demise. Naylis was
among those who successfully fought to keep it open in July 1985 when
the Diocese of Scranton announced its closing. Her daughter, Susan
Naylis Kopicki, had just graduated.
Naylis was there when then Bishop James Timlin visited the school
that July and listened as people stepped up to the microphone to voice
their support for saving the school.
"It was really a very heated discussion. It was really a battle,"
Naylis said. Timlin gave the school a reprieve a few days later.
Attending the school has been a family tradition. Naylis' grandson
expects to begin classes next year.
She and some staff members recently reminisced about the school's
long history. "There are a great many storytellers in this building,"
said Principal Susan Dennan.
Among them are English teacher Jim Lynch, a 33-year veteran, and Linda
Rakauskas, who has taught math there for 32 years.
Lynch looked at a 1960s photo of a small school bus with seven nuns
standing beside it. The bus was dubbed the "Holy Ghost Express"
because it transported nuns from their various orders to the school.
In photo from the left in the 1960's are Victor Price, Leo DallaVerde,
James McGahagan, Sisters M. Maronita, Joan Marie Broderick, Joseph
Marie, M. Hubertay, M. Virgilius, M. Rosina and Martin Marie. Inside
the bus are Sister M. Bertilla in the driver's seat and Sister M.
Naylis said all the teachers were nuns when she attended Central Catholic,
but there are no sisters now.
She remembers getting into a bit of trouble in glee club practice,
so a nun made her leave. The nun had told the students to look only
at her, but Naylis' gaze strayed. She said her biggest fear was going
home to tell her parents what had happened.
Dennan said discipline is a challenge because today's culture tends
to encourage disrespect. She said staffers enforce behavior standards
on a daily basis.
Lynch said today's teachers deal with many social issues and are like
surrogate parents for some students.
He said lay teachers were the minority when he and Rakauskas began
there in the 1970s. Lynch said the nuns called him "Mr. English"
and her "Miss Math," maybe because they thought the two
were just passing through.
Naylis' fellow students were likely all Catholics, but Bishop O'Reilly
has some non-Catholic students now.
"Often (parents) are looking for a values education and know
that a Catholic school will provide that," Dennan said.
Bishop O'Reilly Anniversary Liturgy
To begin its 50th anniversary year, Bishop
O'Reilly High School, Kingston, recently celebrated a liturgy
at the school. Members of the school's Board of Pastors and
other area priests joined The Most Reverend Bishop Joseph F.
Martino, D. D., Hist. E.D., who was principal celebrant and
homilist. Parents, teachers, administrators, students and alumni
attended the liturgy in the school's gymnasium.
In his homily, Bishop Martino commented on the school's proud
history and traditions, noting particularly the west side community's
support for the longest established centralized Catholic high
school in the Diocese.
The Bishop is pictured above prior to the liturgy with school
Bottom row from the left: Mr. Robert Musso (Director of Guidance),
Most Rev. Bishop Joseph F. Martino, D.D., Hist. E.D. (Bishop
of Scranton), Ms. Susan Dennen (Principal), and Monsignor Neil
J. Van Loon (President of the Board Of Pastors).
Top row: Mr Ralph Mancuso (Business Manager), Rev. Paul Fontanella
(Director of Religious Formation), and Mr. Robert Beviligia
| BISHOP O'REILLY CELEBRATING 50TH ANNIVERSARY
This year Bishop O'Reilly High School in Kingston will celebrate
its 50th year of operation. The school was the first centralized
Catholic high school to be established in the Scranton Diocese
The anniversary will be marked by celebratory events throughout
the school year. The first event is the Fiftieth Anniversary
that will be celebrated by His Excellency, The Most
Reverend Joseph F. Martin, D.D., Hist. E.D., Bishop of Scranton,
in the school gymnasium on Saturday, September 25th 2004 at
7:00 P.M. The public is cordially invited to attend.
Pictured above are members of the faculty and administration
for the 2004-2005 school year. Bottom row, from the left: Linda
Rakauskas, Helene Strutko, Ralph Mancuso (Business Manager),
Robert Musso (Director of Guidance), Susan Dennen (Principal),
Rev. Paul Fontanella (Director of Religious Formation), Robert
Beviglia (Vice Principal) and Barbara Warman.Second Row: John
Kurilla, Elizabeth Gushka, Kariann Iskra, Cora Artim, Karen
Olshefski, Elizabeth Purdy, Thomas Hanlon and William Smedley.
Third Row: Mary Ann Kosco, Janice Ambrulavage, Linda Johnson,
Mary Lampman, Patricia Reilly, Stephanie Longo, Margaret Chulvick
and Steven Wise.
Top Row: Ashley Robbins, Wayne Williams, Dennis Noonan, Danielle
Lloyd, Sharon Obuhosky, Joseph Szewczyk, Dr. James McKeown and
Absent from photo: Kim Golembeski, Yvonne Gordon, Keith Keiper
(Athletic Director), Catherine Onzik and Nancy Seleski.