Connellsville's Geibel Catholic observes golden milestone with special Mass, time-capsule opening
“Geibel is not just a high school, it's a way of life.”
Those are the sentiments of Don Favero, Geibel principal.
In a celebration of triumph and achievement, Geibel Catholic Junior-Senior High School marked its 50th year on Monday, marking the occasion with a special Mass and program.
“It's an honor and a privilege to be here today to celebrate this wonderful event,” said the Rev. Bob Lubic, pastor of the Catholic churches of Connellsville (Immaculate Conception, St. Rita and St. John the Evangelist) as well as a 1984 graduate of Geibel. “Today we are celebrating 50 years of students walking these hallowed hallways.”
The Mass was also a celebration of the Epiphany which celebrates, in part, the arrival of the Three Kings, or Magi, who followed a bright star to the newly born Jesus.
Lubic transformed the message of the Mass celebration to an example of the success of the school and of its students.
“For 50 years Geibel has been that shining star, that guiding star,” Lubic said. “The true reason that we are here is to celebrate that light and to bring people to that shining star.”
Lubic likened the students and the facility to a shining and leading presence in the community. He looked ahead to the future.
“We are not just here to celebrate this 50 years but to begin the next 50 years,” Lubic said. “We, as individuals, we as a community, must let our light shine brighter for the next 50 years. Let's continue to have that light grow and really transform the world around us.”
Several Geibel graduates attended the anniversary Mass, including three from the first graduating class in 1964.
“This is really nice,” said Paul Whipkey of Connellsville, a member of the Class of 1964. “The faculty here has always been great and the education you receive here is top-notch.”
Connellsville resident Carmie Porter, Class of 1964, enjoyed the celebration and said she was always proud to be a part of Geibel.
“You stand out,” Porter said. “People looked up to you. We were proud to be a part of Geibel.”
Joyce Cavanaugh of Connellsville was a member of that first graduating class and was glad she braved the weather to attend the celebration on Monday.
“This was really nice,” Cavanaugh said. “I'm glad to be back.”
Following Mass, the school opened a time capsule that was put together by students from the graduating class of 1984, of which Lubic, ironically, was a member.
“I can't wait to see what is in there because I don't remember what we put in it,” Lubic said before the capsule was opened.
The time capsule was an old student locker. When opened, today's students got a glimpse of several magazines from that era including “Vogue,” “TV Guide,” “Time,” and “Seventeen.”
The capsule included items such as a listing of popular music from 1984, popular cassettes and tapes, newspapers, sports programs and a yearbook.
“This was an exciting day for Geibel and I really enjoyed Fr. Bob's homily,” Favero said. “He compared the school and the students to a shining star and that is how we feel. We were named in the top 50 Catholic schools in the country and we want to stay that way for many years to come. We have 168 students enrolled, which is an 18-percent increase, and as far as looking to the future, we say, let's get 200 and that is what we hope to do.”
Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.