Monday, June 24, 2024
Local Events

Students of St. Mary’s return for 50th reunion

The class of 1968 from St. Mary’s Teachers’ College reunited on Saturday, seeing 20 of the previous students celebrate the 50th anniversary of their graduation. Back row, from left: Ken Dubeau, Brian Sarsfield, Jim Moore, Frank Bechamp, Zyg Wargala, and Vernon Carroll. Middle row, from left: Janey McGuire Morin, Marion Field Kelly, Bev Cobus Marciniec, Anne Martin, and Gail Allen Donlan. Front row, from left: Sr. Marjorie Fitzpatrick, Donna Tierney, Marilyn McGuire Tanguay, Trudi Cotnam, Betty Jeffrey Maloney, Rosemary Ryan, Sheila Durocher Duff, Linda McCann Gilmour, and Kathie St. Cyr Badger.
The class of 1968. Back row, from left: Ken Dubeau, Brian Sarsfield, Jim Moore, Frank Bechamp, Zyg Wargala, Vernon Carroll, Larry Archambault, John Smith and Tim Houlihan. Third row, from left: Grace Mulvey, Linda Durocher, Janey McGuire, Marian Field, Bev Cobus, Anne Martin, Gail Allen, Angela Rouble, and Franca Vitullo. Second row, from left: Frances Maheral, Sr. (Amadeus) Marjorie Fitzpatrick, Donna Tierney, Colleen Stanton, Trudi Cotnam, Rosemary Ryan, Maureen Kelly and Linda McCann. Front row, from left: Marilyn McGuire, Betty Jeffrey, Diane Pressault, Sheila Durocher, Kathie St. Cyr, Lina Vitali and Trudi Cook.

Donald Teuma-Castelletti
CHAPEAU June 9, 2018
One of the last classes to fill the halls of St. Mary’s Teachers’ College in Chapeau returned on Saturday, as the friends and classmates celebrated a significant anniversary for their year.
In honour of the 50th anniversary of their graduation, the class of 1968 enjoyed a homecoming party as they toured their old classrooms, saw plenty of familiar faces and enjoyed a meal amongst the old gang.
“Fiftieth anniversaries only come around once in a lifetime,” said Brian Sarsfield, one of the organizers.
“Everybody is so busy with their own lives,” added Marilyn McGuire Tanguay, another organizer. “It certainly is wonderful to come to this reunion after 50 years.”
To help mark the special occasion, the class held their meal and reception within the halls of not the actual school, but the dormitories of St. Joseph’s Convent, where the Sisters would have lived. Sarsfield said that the opportunity to hold the gathering in the convent made the occasion extra special.

But the school, located right next door, was not neglected on this afternoon. St. Mary’s was open to the group to tour, at their leisure, throughout the party.
With classmates turning up from Val d’Or, Montreal, St. Catharines, Ont., Ottawa and, of course, across the Pontiac, the organizers were proud to have such a well-attended event. In all, they saw 36 fill the convent, of which 20 were graduates.
“It’s just a wonderful opportunity to see everyone again,” said Sarsfield. “Some of us haven’t seen each other since graduation.”
While this wasn’t the first time the school had organized reunions – there had been three through the years, for any previous students of the school – this was the largest one dedicated solely to the class of 1968.
St. Mary’s Teachers’ College operated for 29 years, with it’s first batch of graduates emerging in 1942.
Initially a bilingual school and known as the Chapeau Normal School, the focus shifted in the late fifties when the name was changed, and the French section was moved to Fort Coulonge.
The purpose of the school focused on educating English-speaking teachers, and it drew students from not just the immediate area, but as far as the Eastern Townships, too. At the end of it’s run, the school is reported to have a total of 712 graduates.
The class of 1968 was the second-to-last group to graduate, before the school was closed in 1969.
The organizing committee was proud of what they achieved on Saturday and consisted of Sheila Durocher Duff, Donna Tierney, Rosemary Ryan, Gail Allen Donlan, Janey McGuire Morin, Jim Moore, Sarsfield and McGuire Tanguay.
Following the meal, Sarsfield was excited to share that the group would have a chance to relay memories from their time at the school. He shared a preview of one of his own, ahead of the meal.
Sarsfield detailed how towards the end of their schooling, the change in habits for the Sisters’ dress occurred, and they no longer had to have their hair covered. Previously, just their faces would be visible through the garb.
“I can remember the Sisters changed to the new habit and I couldn’t recognize them,” said Sarsfield, with a laugh.