By Tim Leeds
Several hundred former classmates from St. Jude School and Havre Central High School are expected to gather in Havre this weekend for an all-school reunion.
"We sent a letter to everybody," said Mary McLain, director of the Alumni Association of the Catholic school.
The association sent letters to several thousand alumni and priests and nuns who taught or administered at the school. Some now live as far away as Alaska, California, Massachusetts and Virginia, McLain said.
It's not limited to alumni, McLain said.
"Local people can attend. Anyone is welcome," she said.
The reunion costs $25 a person or $50 a family, though McLain said they won't charge for high school students. The association would like to see Havre High School students who formerly attended St. Jude Thaddeus at the reunion, she said.
Several fund-raisers will be conducted at the reunion, with some money going to fund other activities at the school or church. The Alumni Association just hopes to break even.
"Sometimes you just have to have fun," McLain said.
The reunion starts with a sign-up Friday at 5 p.m. in the church's newly built parish center. There is a fun run Saturday, starting at the parish center at 9 a.m., followed by a taco cart that starts serving at noon.
There will be a happy hour with photos taken from 3:30 to 5 p.m., followed by a picnic in Pepin Park from 5 to 7 p.m., and a dance in the parish center from 7 p.m. to midnight.
A brunch in the parish center will follow the 10:30 a.m. Mass Sunday. McLain said the association hopes people will stop by to visit the alumni at all of the events.
Pop and beer will be sold at the different events, with half of the proceeds of the pop sales donated to Sister Judith Meander's charity work. Half of the proceeds from the beer sales will help St. Jude's Booster Club insulate the school gymnasium, and donations will be taken to help fund repairs to the roofs of the school.
All of the building's roofs need work, McLain said, but the elementary building's roof is in especially bad shape. The roofs are estimated each to need about $35,000 worth of work, she said.
An auction during the dance will feature prints of a Don Greytak drawing done for the reunion and an autographed poster of Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton, which he sent to the Alumni Association before he died in 1999. Other items include autographed pictures and music by Paul Anka and Tim Conway, and some of the old uniforms of the school.
The association will sell bricks from the Emmaeus House, the former nunnery that was torn down last year to make room for the parish center.
St. Jude School first opened in September 1916 with 100 students in the first four grades. By 1919 enrollment had grown to 300 students, and a short-lived high school opened in 1924, but closed in 1927.
Havre Central High School, which included a social hall and kitchen, opened in 1949. The gymnasium was added in 1951.
Increasing enrollment, and a lack of available nuns, required hiring lay teachers in the 1950s. All classes had been taught by nuns and priests before that.
Havre Central High School closed in 1968. It officially became Havre Central Junior High in 1971. The school is now St. Jude Thaddeus School and serves preschool through grade eight.
An all-school reunion is held every five years.
On the Net: St. Jude Thaddeus School: www.stjudethaddeusschool.org