The Kennedy Field House at Canisius High School was decorated in blue and gold on Saturday night, June 17, 2017. Yearbooks ranging from 1963 to 1967 were spread out on a table, and blue books which were actually program booklets for the evening were placed on the seats. The Canisius High School class of 1967 was celebrating its 50th anniversary with a Golden Jubilee dinner. Sharing memories with classmates was the highlight of the evening for many. Thinking of their most fond and memorable moments at Canisius the alums laughed and gazed off into the distance recalling the highlights of their four years at CHS. I interviewed some of those alumni to learn about the impact Canisius had on their lives.
Joe Dudkowski now resides in San Diego, California. His most memorable moment at Canisius was getting JUG for being late to the 8:00 assembly the day JFK was assassinated. His favorite teachers were Fr. Reiser, S.j. and Fr. Huffnagel, S.J.
Matt Taboni '17 (right) interviews Jim Grucella '67, with Mr. Canisius 2017 Caleb Blodgett (left). Photo by Nick Taboni '17.
Jim Grucella still lives in Orchard Park and in his free time is redoing his 180-year-old house. He sees his high school classmates on a regular basis. Tim says, "the best part about high school was the whole experience." It was hard for him to put into words what his experience meant to him. He says he gained a whole new independence when he entered high school and received his bus pass.
Larry Schwach's memorable moment was leaving his house every day at 5:45 and getting to school very early. He would then go into the auditorium and take a nap until his classmate would wake him up. When asked what advice he would give to his freshman self, he said "to stay focused."
Tim McGurie teaches public speaking at the University of Akron. His most memorable moment was being accepted into Canisius. Getting the acceptance letter showed him what he was capable of doing and gave him confidence. The advice he gave was, "Don't shy away from challenges. Accept them because they will help you grow." As a student, Tim received two weeks of JUG for coming up the cafeteria stairs with a donut in his hand.
Joe Shaw lives in Hamburg, New York and said graduation was his favorite memory at Canisius. He says at graduation he was able to look back at the previous four years and all the memories he had created at CHS. His advice to his freshman self is, "put your studies first. Work hard and then rewards will follow."
Luke Lester resides in Denton, Georgia. His most memorable moments at Canisius were sneaking out every Friday before Mass and then sneaking back in before first period started. Most of Luke's JUG came from being late to first period.
Francis Cosgrove now lives in Albany, New York. His favorite memory was playing basketball, especially when he shot the winning free throw to beat St. Joe's 62-61. His favorite teacher was Mr. O'Conner, who was also his JV basketball coach, because Mr. O'Conner had a lot of confidence in Francis as a player, student, and person. His advice to his freshman self is, "believe in yourself. You are capable of a lot you just don't see it yet."
Brendan Brady is a surgeon living in Canandaigua, New York. His favorite memory of Canisius wasn't a specific memory that occurred during his four years as a student. Instead, the influence that the school and the Jesuit education had on him about 40 years after graduation. In 2005 Brendan decided to volunteer in Haiti. During that time, Brendan's Jesuit education flourished and was with him while he volunteered.
John Boehm lives in Gettsville, New York and his favorite memories are of good times with his friends. His advice was to be "less clueless." He says his cluelessness was a main contributor to him receiving JUG, or as he put it "being in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Dion Rahill expressed that his favorite thing about Canisius was how diverse it was. The diversity allowed him to meet many unique individuals from different cultures which prepared him for life. When asked to give advice to his freshman self he said, "it's a lot harder than you think it is. You should hit the ground running and always keep yourself ahead."
Ray Foley now lives in Toledo, Ohio and said his favorite memory was graduation. Coming from the New York City public school's system he struggled his first two years at Canisius, but put in hard work and succeeded by the end. His advice was, "be very serious and the experience will change you for the better."
Click here to view the CHS photo gallery from the event.
Click here to view more photos by Nick Taboni '17.