Bethlehem Press

Friday, December 13, 2019
PRESS PHOTOS BY ANDREW CASS Class of 39: Joseph Meischeid, Elizabeth Cavanaugh and James Gallagher of the class of 1939 reunite at Green Pond Country Club. PRESS PHOTOS BY ANDREW CASS Class of 39: Joseph Meischeid, Elizabeth Cavanaugh and James Gallagher of the class of 1939 reunite at Green Pond Country Club. "We were always together back in school," Cavanaugh said.
Class of 49: Bob Merlo and Helen Gigliotti graduate together in 1949. Merlo played on the basketball team and Gigliotti was a cheerleader. Class of 49: Bob Merlo and Helen Gigliotti graduate together in 1949. Merlo played on the basketball team and Gigliotti was a cheerleader.
Cheerleaders: Notre Dame HS cheerleaders lined the entrance of the dining room greeting Easton Catholic alumni with cheers of Cheerleaders: Notre Dame HS cheerleaders lined the entrance of the dining room greeting Easton Catholic alumni with cheers of "Go Shamrocks."

Notre Dame HS: 'Quite a history to this little school'

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 by ANDREW CASS Special to the Bethlehem Press in Local News

Alumni of Easton Catholic HS reunite once a year, but this time it was an extra special occasion, as the graduates celebrated the 100th anniversary of the school's alumni association recently at Green Pond Country Club.

The high school held its classes in a Victorian home on Sixth Street in Easton. The class sizes were small and each grade had its own classroom. The students would stay in their room all day and the teachers would move from classroom to classroom. The building did not even have its own bathroom.

"We had to go to the basement of the convent next door," Joe Hoffmeier, class of 1950, said. "Not a lot of fun when it rained or snowed."

But the small class sizes created a bond among the students that has lasted for years.

"We were very close, very close," 1950 graduate Gaeton DeMartino said. "In fact many of us still meet the first Monday of every month and have breakfast together."

With the baby boomers beginning to reach high school in the mid-1950s, the Victorian house could no longer fit the increasing class sizes and in 1957 the school moved to the Green Pond area of Bethlehem Township and changed its name to Notre Dame HS.

"Notre Dame took us right under their wing," Bob Merlo, class of '49 said. "They even put me in their sports hall of fame."

Merlo, who played point guard, remembered his years on the basketball team fondly.

"The bigger schools hated playing us because we always beat them," Merlo, who now lives in Pen Argyl, said. "We had a great coach who knew all of the fundamentals and we had a close group of guys and I think that helped us a lot."

More than 100 Easton Catholic HS graduates were in attendance, many of whom came with children and grandchildren who carried on the Catholic education tradition by attending Notre Dame HS. They were excited to catch up with old friends whether it was reminiscing about holding swim team practice in the river because the school didn't have a pool or remembering old teachers.

Alumni from as far away as Florida, Texas and California returned to celebrate the occasion.

"It's not a problem, you just get on a plane," said James Gallagher, a class of '39 graduate who now lives in Fort Worth, Texas.

At dinner, Notre Dame cheerleaders lined the hallway as the alumni made their way into the dining room, cheering them on as though they were a football team headed on to the field before a rivalry game.

"Quite a history to this little school," Merlo said.