Alumni Return To Get Piece of DeSales History
A Catholic High School which closed last summer after a century of teaching kids and is now being leased by Finger Lakes Community College opened its doors Friday. Many close to De Sales High School just had to go back.
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"It's always a very nostalgic time, when you're in here."
How do you put a price on memories?
That's what they had to figure out when they decided to hold a rummage sale at DeSales High School in Geneva.
Esther O'Brien graduated from here.
Friday, she came back .
"Strange. Makes me feel my age, right June?
To get a small piece of history.
"We're selling the remainders of what was left in school. Trying to recoup some money," said Mary Ellen O'Malley.
DeSales opened as a Catholic High School in 1912.
"It was a good education. Especially with the nuns," Esther said.
The school stayed open for 100 years. The building's age echoed in it's squeaky floor boards, but in recent years fewer families were choosing a Catholic education.
"For some reason it just dwindled. Sad," said Mary Ellen.
DeSales High School had struggled financially for several years. That was the case last summer. The community stepped forward trying to raise enough money to keep it open. They thought they had. Then came a decision that broke their hearts.
"I felt bad. I felt bad."
Classrooms sit empty. The school's time now passed.
And what's left – the textbooks, chairs, file cabinets and everything else – is being sold.
"Hopefully it's going to be profitable so we can pay some of the debt."
The closing of DeSales may have broken their hearts. What it couldn't do is kill their pride.
"I am proud to say I graduated from DeSales High School in 1960," said Sue DeRaddo Rago.
Or take their memories. No, those will live on forever.
"I was talking one time, and the nun made me sit with the boy I was talking to," said Esther.
"It was great. The smell hits you immediately," said Chris Fanning, Class of 2004.
"I was in school the year we first beat Geneva High in football. I think it was 70 years and we'd never won. We finally beat them," said Sue.
Some things you can never put a price on.
"A lot of memories. A lot of good times. But right now, a lot of sad times."