St. John Villa Academy

St. John Villa Academy reunion

On Saturday, April 4, twenty-one gals from my all-girls high school graduating class of 110 students gathered in Staten Island for the first time since June 1983. It was our 25th anniversary reunion—in our 26th year (for various reasons last year’s reunion plans had to be postponed to this year). Some of us gathered in the morning at the school and were given a tour for old time’s sake, and then we joined the others for brunch at The Vanderbilt at South Beach.

St. John Villa Academy holds only great memories for me. I’m in a minority among my current friends because I didn’t have a bad high school experience. I enjoyed every minute of my four years at Villa because being in the Glee Club meant that every afternoon I was able to do the only thing I was interested in doing—being involved with theatre by rehearsing and performing in shows. I also had the most fun group of friends—the “Dirty Half-Dozen Plus 3″—and there we were again on Saturday, having another great time together.

It was also terrific to spend time with our teachers again—they’re the same sweet, loving sisters they were back then. Villa was never a disciplinarian all-girls school like the other private schools in Staten Island—our nuns were supportive and fun, not strict and limiting. I never bought into their religious beliefs, but they instilled wonderful values and work ethics that we absorbed and that we still carry with us today. They seemed very proud of us and we thanked them for being who they are.

One benefit of postponing to this year was having more time for success towards raising money for the 9/11 memorial fund for our classmate Adele Sessa. Adele is the only SJVA alumna to lose her life on 9/11, and we were able to contribute $500 to the school in her name.

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