Sacred Heart Academy ladies celebrate 76th birthdays together

Jun 23, 2022
Sacred Heart Academy class of 1964

The Sacred Heart Academy class of 1964 celebrated their 76th birthdays together during a luncheon reunion on June 11 at Newman University.

Sacred Heart Academy was an all-girls high school that met on the Newman campus from 1945 to 1966 before merging into Madonna High School.

The class of 1964 has created a tradition of celebrating their birthdays together each year — giving them an opportunity to reconnect and reminisce.

The Sacred Heart Academy class of '64 celebrated birthdays with a cake that reads, "Happy 76th Birthday SHA '64 together we have it all!"
The Sacred Heart Academy class of ’64 celebrated birthdays with a cake that reads “Happy 76th Birthday SHA ’64 together we have it all!”

Karen (Chippeaux) Flanigan — along with Susan (Bakel) Cohn, Carol (Freund) Page, and Diane (Murphy) Smith — is one of the class members who helps organize the annual event. She said holding the event on campus is also her way of exposing Newman University to others.

Flanigan went on to attend the university, then known as Sacred Heart College, after graduating high school. She also taught as a business professor at Newman for 14 years from 1990-2004.

“I’m so affiliated with Newman, every chance I get to show people how great it is, I do that,” said Flanigan. “I love bringing our classmates together on campus and I want the ladies to walk away with memories and the joy of seeing each other again.”

A blast from the past

Sacred Heart Academy students met for classes on the third floor of Sacred Heart Hall — the only original building left on the Newman University campus today. The building is celebrating its 100th birthday in September 2022.

Flanigan said, “We had classes on the same floor as the college students. It’s what I saw every day and why I chose to come to the college. It was just a great place to be.”

Susan Cohn (left) and Karen Flanigan (right) pose with Newman University President Kathleen S. Jagger

Anne (McCollum) Houlihan traveled from Omaha, Nebraska, to attend the reunion. The last gathering she attended was in 2014 and said she loved seeing everyone again and seeing how much the city and the university hav changed.

“I worked on the yearbook and the school paper,” said Houlihan. “All the conventions and workshops we got to attend were memorable and fun. And I got out of classes early sometimes to work on the paper. I’ve stayed connected with a couple of the gals throughout the years and I really enjoy reconnecting with others.”

Suzanne (Timmermeyer) Hunter drove up from Fort Worth, Texas, to attend this year’s gathering.

“I try my best to attend when I can,” she said. “High school was four of the best years of my life. I loved every minute of it. I still keep in touch with some of my classmates. I think my favorite memory of high school includes the nuns. They were very helpful and made a big impact on me. I never had a bad day in high school.”

Classmates Linda Zollars (left) and Gloria Spraberry (right) reconnect at the Sacred Heart Academy luncheon.
Classmates Louise (Betzen) Wolf (left) and Carol (Freund) Page (right) reconnect at the Sacred Heart Academy luncheon.

Diane (Murphy) Smith also traveled from Texas to see her Sacred Heart Academy friends.

Smith said, “I come to tell the stories we always tell and to see how everyone’s families are doing. That’s why doing it every year is great. Five years, you have so much to catch up on and you can’t cover it all. But doing it every year helps with that and Karen does a great job motivating us to get together.”

In between reunions the classmates text, call or mail notes to each other. But having a chance to reconnect and be together is something all the ladies enjoy.

Smith added, “We were — we are — a small family.”