Class of ‘69 launches scholarship following 50th class reunion
“We are great, we are fine, we are the Class of ‘69!”
In order to stay connected, a group of RESites from the Class of 1969 has been gathering casually for the past several years.
“It started out as a few people, and then kind of grew momentum, and then I had a get-together at my house - it was like 27 people or something - and they were all saying, ‘well, aren’t we going to do a reunion?’...and Kitch was there, and there were a couple other people, and pretty much most of the people who came to my house were most of the people who were on the committee,” said Marie Polito Paulish.
The reunion planning committee consisted of: Leslee Markwart Babich, Ann Marie Pesoli Bartee, Judy Zimmerman Cooney, Chris Permantier Cotteleer, Kitch Cashman Gorzynski, Kathy Peterson Kowalczyk, Kate Likvan, Eileen Smith Miller, Marie Polito Paulish, and Linda Stomper Wade.
“Actually something that really motivated [it], there was a classmate that was coming in from out of town, and she reached out and said is there any way we can get some people together; and there had been some casual gatherings, but that really, that kind of accelerated it,” said Kitch Cashman Gorzynski.
From there, the committee began their research to find people, and over time they found all but about eight people, according to Paulish.
“There were about 10 of us that really divided and conquered; and a very large part of our success was due to Laura Dennis, who [at the time] was the alumnae director. There wasn’t anything we asked that she didn’t try to make happen. She came to the reunion and worked it with us…And Marie would agree with me, that relationship evolved - as I said, we started two years before the real reunion; it’d say Laura Dennis is a big reason we stayed involved,” said Cashman Gorzynski.
On September 14, 2019, the Class of 1969 came together to celebrate their 50th class reunion.
“We had 84 people at our reunion, and that’s a lot for 50 years,” Paulish said.
In addition to the 84 classmates, the reunion also welcomed a special guest, Sr. Stephanie Blasczyznski, formerly Sr. Frances Therese, who was a teacher at Resurrection for many years, subsequently principal and the school’s first president. Sister taught religion, math, physics, and physical science during the class’s tenure.
“There were so many details that went into it. We got wine glasses, and Marie had the idea of all the penny candy [we enjoyed as kids] and went online and ordered all these different things…
“It was just kind of a surreal thing to realize you have been out of high school for 50 years,” Cashman Gorzynski said.
“Well, I think it really hit, too, when we were looking up the names. I would have to say Kitch and I did most of the leg work on that, and when we found out that 27 fellow classmates had passed away, for me, that was very impactful,” Paulish added.
As the event drew to a close, little did the committee know it was actually a new beginning.
When all was said and done, there was a cash surplus from the reunion fund, so the group decided to donate the balance to RES. But instead of just a one-time donation, Kate Likvan suggested the possibility of establishing an ongoing scholarship fund.
“I had a scholarship when I was at RES, and with three girls from my family at RES at the same time, I knew how important any kind of financial help could be,” Likvan said at the time.
A letter was sent out to the Class of 1969 asking for support of the endeavor and the project was underway. The committee decided to honor Sr. Lydia Mary, who held the position of principal during their first three years as students at RES. Her dedication to RES and the community at large left an indelible mark and lasting legacy.
“We all knew that Sr. Lydia Mary was our principal and with that came our respect…which was not difficult, because she was always fair. I can still see her smile,” recalled Paulish. “She was just a really special person.”
“She just had this angelic smile,” Cashman Gorzynski added.
The success of this reunion was not limited to the number of attendees or the laughs they shared on that day. To continue their tradition of friendship and giving, the Class of ‘69, led by the reunion committee, has created a generous legacy. The first of its kind, they intend to make this an annual scholarship awarded to an incoming freshman.
The committee presented the first scholarship in the fall of 2021. To be considered for this scholarship applicants must submit an essay sharing why a Catholic, single-gender education is important to her future.
“Establishing the scholarship provided a unique opportunity to support a deserving freshman while giving back to RES,” said Cashman Gorzynski.
“Another thing, too, I looked at all the listings of the various scholarships and they were really more for the upperclassmen, and hoping to help keep a single-gender school open - not that one scholarship for $1,000 is going to - but you never know. Again, our hope was that maybe other classes would start scholarships,” Cashman Gorzynski said.
Continuing their dedication to RES, and one another, the Class of ‘69 is planning another fun-filled event in 2022 (postponed from 2021). The class will celebrate their collective, belated 70th birthdays with a get-together on Saturday, Aug. 6 at RES. It promises to be another memorable event. More details about the event will be mailed to Class of ‘69 alumnae.
- Class Notes