Tonight, the Highland Park section of Upper Darby threw a party and the host was St. Laurence Roman Catholic School and Church with an all grade alumni reunion. St. Laurence School and church has been a cornerstone for the community of Highland Park for over 90 years now and continues in that endeavor today. There are those who will say that Upper Darby isn’t what it used to be. There are those who say it’s time has passed. Well, last night that statement was challenged and disputed thoroughly.
An army of volunteers, such as reunion chair Kim Walton Henry, Christine Higgins, Tim Jones, Ann Marie Cawley Donohoe, and others, had the reunion in what used to be the bottom church and it transformed into a hall for an event that exceeded 1000 people. Where the altar used to be now where the band and the DJ played. There was photo booths man donated by PHLASH photo booths and items for silent auctions that were donated by various businesses. Heisman Trophy winner John Cappelletti, a distinguished alumni, donated signed football memorability from his Penn State days and pro football team L.A Rams. Included in the ticket price was a buffet of various foods such as roast pork, meatballs and roast beef. There were hoagies, pretzels, and of course beer. Most of all there a good time reminiscing with friends and classmates of long ago. Chairman Kim Henry admitted it was a large job to create an event of 1000 people but credited her volunteers for all their hard work. She said, “This couldn’t have happened without all the support of the community. We had local businesses, community leaders and members of the St. Laurence family who contributed so much. Everyone worked so hard.”
There was a time when the neighbors of Highland Park, who professed their religion, were overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. In the 1950’s through the 1970’s local parishes flourish with growth and student enrollment. If you didn’t attend a Catholic school you at least attend C.C.D at your local parish. There was a time when CCD classes were so filled, that public elementary schools actually allowed their students to walk over to the local parish for instruction. Well, the Catholic Church has seen much change in the last 30 years and Upper Darby Catholic schools were affected too. In 2012, St. Alice Church was merged with St. Laurence in the Highland Park section. Unfortunately, attendance has declined in the last 30 years at St. Laurence School but the spirit of past alumni has continued to grow with each passing year. Gone are the days of every good girl or woman covering their head just to go to mass, gone is the days of white gloves and crew cuts for little boys but nothing dampens the spirits of the alumni of St. Laurence!