Good Shepherd marks 50 years with punch, lollipops - Catholic Courier

Good Shepherd marks 50 years with punch, lollipops

HENRIETTA — As former students and staff reminisced last month about the five-decade history of Good Shepherd School, their taste buds also had a chance to travel down memory lane.

While attending the school’s 50th-anniversary event May 31, they sipped on bellywash (a watered-down punch) and munched on Sugar Daddies (milk caramel lollipops), two treats that often were concocted for school events by Father George C. Vogt, pastor of Good Shepherd Parish from 1945-72. The treats were one way in which alumni and teachers remembered the priest who started the school in September 1958.

The celebration’s Mass and reception were attended by more than 300 alumni, parents, former teachers, staff and current students. The event originally had been planned for the fall but was rescheduled for May after school alumni learned Good Shepherd would be one of 13 diocesan-operated Catholic schools in Monroe County to close this month.

"We wanted to give people an opportunity to walk through the building while it was still a school," said 1974 graduate Jean Szembrot Brown of Henrietta, Good Shepherd’s business manager and an organizer of the celebration. "There’s a lot of history here, and a lot of people who are proud of the history."

According to a 2000 history of St. Joseph Parish in Rush, Good Shepherd School was built in 1958 through a partnership between Good Shepherd Parish and its mission church, St. Joseph. To ease baby-boom overcrowding, Guardian Angels Parish in Henrietta also opened its own school in 1961.

Sister of Mercy Pat Switzer, who was principal of Good Shepherd from 1977-84, remembered the 1978-81 consolidation process between the two schools. Once the consolidation was complete, prekindergarten through third-grade students from Rush and Henrietta attended Guardian Angels, while students in grades 4-8 attended Good Shepherd.

Sister Switzer said students adapted well to the change.

"They were really wonderful kids, and there was a lot of family spirit here," she said.

The two schools underwent several other reorganizations after 1981, including placing prekindergartners and kindergartners at Guardian Angels and grades 1-6 at Good Shepherd. By June 1995, all K-6 students from Guardian Angels had moved to Good Shepherd.

Many at the event recalled the close associations between the two schools. For example, Eileen Livingston of Victor, a school nurse from 1967-87, recalled running up and down the road from Guardian Angels to Good Shepherd, while dividing her time between the two schools.

Some alumni had more personal memories to share. Tim Flynn of Hamlin, a 1974 graduate, remembered his first-grade teacher telling him he was an artist because he drew every brick in a picture of his parents’ home.

Peter Macon, Class of 1974, recalled the day he wandered off from school. His first-grade teacher had told him to take a form home to his mother immediately, and he obeyed her literally by walking out the front door, he recalled.

"I almost made it home," he said. "The whole school was in a panic mode."

Teacher JoAnne Mueller of Henrietta said she taught at Guardian Angels for 23 years from 1970-93 and at Good Shepherd from 1993-2000.

"(Good Shepherd is) a wonderful place," said Mueller, who also taught in public schools as well. "It’s just a special place because of the closeness and camaraderie of the faculty."

A current kindergarten student offered high praise for her teacher, Nancy Shields.

"(We have) the nicest teacher in the world," Rachael Battey said.

Kindergarten student Amanda DiCesare said she likes Good Shepherd’s computers, and also had words of praise for the school in general.

"It’s very nice, and it is closing," she remarked.

Mary Barrese-Frame, the school’s principal since 2005 and a seventh- and eighth-grade teacher from 1982-93, echoed the praise of faculty and students.

"I can’t tell you how honored I’ve been to be back in a place where everyone is so caring," said Barrese-Frame, who will retire at the end of the school year.

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