By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson/Marlborough – Eight years after the closing of Hudson Catholic High (HCH), its school spirit continues as demonstrated by the class of 1967 when they gathered April 22 for their 50-year reunion at the Bolton Street Tavern in Marlborough. Their class alumni previously got together for 15- and 20-year reunions at the now-closed Northborough Grille.
Attending the golden-anniversary celebration were 20 classmates and 11 guests. Ten deceased classmates were included with a memory board decorated with their school pictures. The class had a total of 54 graduates. Serving as reunion committee chair for the third time was Karen DiTommaso Belauskas of Marlborough.
“We were a very small class by senior year,” she noted. “We started as freshmen with a big class, then over the next few years we lost a lot of kids to Hudson High and other schools. Some students moved away and others left because they realized HCH wasn’t taking them on the course that they wanted. When we went to HCH, it was very strict and the subject matter was all oriented to college preparation. At graduation, we had 27 girls and 27 boys.”
A highlight of their first two reunions was a slide show of photos provided by classmate Dick Yakalis. Belauskas remembers classmates teasing him while growing up for being such an ardent shutterbug. As adults, however, they appreciated the memories he captured.
“We sat there mesmerized, watching all these pictures,” she relayed. “He had pictures of kids as far back as seventh and eighth grade, then throughout all four years in high school. We were so glad that he brought them for us to see.”
Some photos were taken during their trip to Washington, D.C., a tradition for senior classes up to 1971. In addition to tours of the White House and Smithsonian Institute, students got a chance to experience the national capital’s nightlife.
“A strong memory of the Washington trip was going to a club where they played live jazz music,” Belauskas recalled. “That was very unusual for kids growing up in the ‘60s.”
Most of the classmates had also attended parochial elementary schools. Marlborough students went to either Immaculate Conception School (ICS) with the Sisters of St. Joseph, or St. Mary’s Parochial School with the Sisters of St. Anne. Hudson students attended either Christ King School or St. Michael’s School each with the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, who also instructed at HCH alongside only a few lay teachers.
“As freshmen, we were already accustomed to nuns,” Belauskas noted. “Almost all of us went to Catholic grammar schools exclusively with nuns. They would drive us crazy on occasion. But as an adult, I realize that we drove them nuts. The nuns instilled discipline, respect and manners in us. We learned all that at home and they carried it forth into school.”
Helping her plan the 50th reunion were committee members Andy Finnerty Collins, Dawn Gotthardt Kay and Dick Sasseville. Travelling the farthest for the occasion was Kay from Mesa, Ariz.
About six years ago, Belauskas started a Facebook group called “HCH Alumni” to stay connected with her classmates. Soon afterward, she invited her six siblings to join because they’re also HCH alumni. They invited their classmates and membership continued growing. Now, the group has over 700 members.
Belauskas felt compelled to organize the 50th reunion after their classmate Ellen Collins passed away at age 66 in June 2015. The two were close friends since first grade at ICS.
“It’s sad to lose a classmate, especially if you’ve known them like I have for what seems like forever,” Belauskas said. “I made some really good friends at HCH. I thought the least I could do in return was to help bring back the good memories for everybody else.”