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Forty years ago, Mount Carmel High School’s last class graduated.

Older? Yes. Grayer? Another yes. Wiser — let’s hope so. On Aug. 7, 61 “Carmel kids” came from near and far away to reunite at our 40-year reunion for the class of 1970 at Highland Golf Club.

This was our third class reunion since graduating that year as the last class to graduate ever from Mount Carmel High School in Auburn.

Many of the once Carmel kids still live around Auburn, having chosen to return and make Cayuga County again their home.

 But several class members traveled hundreds of miles to celebrate the reunion.

Cindy Secaur drove several hundred miles from her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. Larry and Chris Morabito traveled from Florida. Ron Wilde traveled from Asheville, N.C. Rod Clifford and Dave Bishop traveled from New Jersey. 

Many from Carmel’s class of 1970 traveled home to Auburn from different parts of New York state to celebrate 40 years since graduation.

 Chairwomen Debbie Canale Riester, Phylis Netti Catalfano and reunion planners realized that the Carmel “kids” are now two or three years short of age 60.  This meant that it would have been no small challenge for most of the Carmelite priests, nuns, and former faculty members who taught at Carmel four decades ago to get back to Auburn for the Saturday evening event.

Lo and behold, Carmel’s popular — albeit a little crazy? — English teacher Carmelite the Rev. Colman (Jack Logan) managed to drive several hours back to Auburn from Middletown, where he is now retired.

“Do you remember... ?” The Carmel class of 1970 shared all sorts of memories. Several brought their ol’ red Diadem yearbooks.

Someone even had kept a few very old issues of The Crusader, the Carmel newspaper. The pages had not even begun to turn yellow on the Oct. 7, 1966 edition Secaur brought to the Reunion!

Former Carmel photographer Mike Abraham commented how the old school ways of developing photographs in Carmel’s darkroom are so now passe.

“But each one of the new digital cameras is different... and not so simple to figure out,” he said.

Rather like the Carmel class of ’70. Several graduates have become CEOs; a few are teachers and college professors now; Mike Greene is on the faculty staff at Cayuga County Community College — where Phylis Netti and Romi Romano are librarians; Nancy Ringwood Thomas is a banker at Auburn’s First Niagara Bank. Cindy Secaur is a college professor at Wake Forest University. Ron Wilde is a physician’s assistant in a cardiologist’s office. Bobby Schneider and Dave McKeon both work in the insurance world.

And those of us who are proud to call Auburn our home these days all surely know that Rick Nangle is an Auburn M.D. And Tommy Hogan a dentist here in town.

Several from the class of 1970 have retired, pursuing second careers or just finishing up their careers. Many are now enjoying being grandparents.

At the Carmel reunion, they shared with each other their joys of their life and their difficulties over the years which definitely put everyone on even ground now. Not yet 60, the Carmel kids (no longer!) have each had ups and downs in life. But they all listened and shared.

That’s the point of reunion, isn’t it? As was written beside a candid photo page in the class of 1970’s yearbook:

“Try to remember a day in September... 1955 (that was when Mount Carmel started in Auburn)

Its value lies not in duration,

But in the nature of accomplishment...

The intensity of purpose...

One day is worth a thousand years in the sight of the Lord.

So Carmel’s 15 years far exceed the brevity of its existence.”

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