Celebrating our 50th year
"Bishop O'Reilly - West Side Central Catholic 1954-2004"
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 high school.
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 (Yezilski) Kuttenberg.
Pictured above prior to the festivities are some of the alumni in attendance.
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.

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!

Alumni Page

Bishop Dougherty celebrates anniversary Mass at O'Reilly
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 school.
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. David Baker.

Nov. 17, 2004
Bishop O'Reilly, then and now: Catholic high school in Kingston celebrates 50th anniversary
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 said.
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' Week.
"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, 1958.
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, Dennen said.
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 said.
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.


Trophy Case
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 Adams-badams@leader.net

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. Aloysius.
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 officials.
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 (Vice-Principal).

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 Mass 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 James Lynch.
Absent from photo: Kim Golembeski, Yvonne Gordon, Keith Keiper (Athletic Director), Catherine Onzik and Nancy Seleski.

Bor || Alumni