St. Francis Graduates 75th Class

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St Francis Cathedral School recently graduated its 75th class.  The first graduating class, pictured here, had 15 students (and they are shown with Father John Foley who became Monsignor and remained at St Francis until he died in 1970). Two women from this photo, Margaret Breen (Norman) and Ann Salamone are still alive and attended the school's 80th anniversary this past September.  More about alumni later in the story.

 

The school opened in 1928 with 81 students in the same building currently in use (although there were two subsequent additions, which you will notice from the slightly different-color brick). The class of '09 had 41 graduates and enrollment continues to be strong.  Over 510 students are expected in September (pre-K - 8), with a waiting list in several grades.

Susan Sarandon might be the most famous graduate of St. Francis School but there are many others who fondly shared memories of their days at the school. Ann Salamone, from the first class, has special memories of Sister Mary Johannes, principal and teacher of primary grades.  Sister taught Ann how to sew and inspired her approach to life because "she was so loving and caring." 

 

Metuchen resident Tom O'Brien, class of 1936, still an active parishioner, worked on the construction of the church roof.  Another graduate said that when he was young - during the Depression - his father died. Father Foley knew the family didn't have much and so he asked the boy to come early to help with the church grounds. Every day before school he would do a job or two and then Father would tell him to 'go to the Rectory and eat because they don't want to waste any leftover food in the Rectory.'  When he was an adult he realized the priest was feeding him because he knew there was no food at home.  He never forgot his kindness.

 

According to administrators, the school was recently completely air conditioned and upgraded for wireless internet access.  In the fall, grades 3-8 students will work with brand-new laptop computers. Pre-K has new desktop computers and this spring, new desktops and software programs were purchased for the computer lab.  Some classrooms have been equipped with smart boards and new overhead projectors, linked to the teacher's computer.

 

Teachers receive technology training on an ongoing basis and each has a wireless laptop computer which they also use to communicate with parents via e-mail.  All grades are posted on line for parental access.  According to principal Mrs. Barbara Stevens, "This year the 4th and 7th grade standardized writing tests were done on-line and sent to be graded via the web.  Students practiced on an on-line writing program all year in preparation.  This program will be expanded to other grades next year due to the expectations and requirements of students in high school and college."

 

Following a recently upgraded math curriculum in 2007, a new science curriculum has been introduced.  St. Francis won 4th place in the St. Joe's Middle School Math Competition among 30 private and public schools throughout NJ, including large public districts like Montgomery with 2,000 middle school students.  

 

Mrs. Steven's added "The school and parish are continually planning for the future of SFCS, including meeting parent expectations for academic excellence.  We also focus on supporting families as they build a solid foundation of faith and strong values. We are continually looking at curriculum advancement, facility upgrades, staff development, and spiritual and moral development."

 

The school established a permanent Endowment Fund in 2008 to ensure support of its future needs. If you wish to contribute to the fund, or can help with a corporate gift, please contact the school office at 732-548-3107.

 

An alumni association was founded in 2008 and members are trying to find as many alumni as possible.  (If you are or know one, you can contact the school at 732-548-3107 or SFCS80@gmail.com). 

 

1 Comment

The kindergarten class at St.Francis in 1966 had 110 kids! How did they fit them all then? By the time they graduated in 1975 there were only 85 of them.

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