The Vincentian Institute in Albany, New York

I wanted to write something for the 23rd Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy on “School Days”, but I found this topic very difficult. The problem is that I know nothing about the schools my ancestors attended, and worse, I realized I know hardly anything about the schools I attended.

Until now, I really didn’t realize what a gaping hole this subject was in my family history.

I grew up on Park Avenue and South Allen Street in Albany, New York. These addresses within walking distance of the elementary school and high school associated with the Roman Catholic Parish of St. Vincent de Paul. Except for a few months when my younger sister attended Albany High School, all the children in my family attended the Vincentian Institute from K-12.

Vincentian Institute Child Culture Division

Vincentian Institute Child Culture Division (VI-CCD), the K-8 elementary school, opened in 1934 in the former Hawley greenhouses on Morris Street between Main and Partridge. The first classes were actually held in the greenhouses themselves. As the school grew with the increasing population of the baby boom generation, additional classrooms were built. At the time the school was experiencing its largest enrollments in the 1960s, the school consisted of eight classrooms in the “Glass School” (the former greenhouses), two classrooms in the kindergarten building (another greenhouse), two classrooms in a building called “The Barn”, and fourteen classrooms in the newest addition, “The Brick Building”.

In the 1960’s classroom size was about 40 students in each of three classrooms for each grade level 1-8 and somewhat smaller class sizes (about 30 students) in each of two kindergarten classrooms. These days, the classes would probably be considered overcrowded.

The elementary school classes were taught by the Sisters of Mercy, whose convent was on Morris Street, just half a block from the school. A few lay teachers also taught at the elementary school.

The school published a newspaper called “The Lion’s Roar”.

In 1985, VI-CCD closed.

Vincentian Institute High School

Vincentian Institute High School

Vincentian Institute High School (VIHS) was dedicated in 1917 at the corner of Madison Avenue and Ontario Street. Martin Henry Glynn, publisher and editor of the Albany Times Union and the first Roman Catholic Governor in the history of New York State, delivered a speech entitled “As Solomon Gave His Treasure” at the dedication of the high school on 24 May 1917.

In 1920, the Sisters of Mercy were assigned to teach at VIHS. The school opened in 1921 and the first graduating class passed through its doors in 1925.

In 1936, four Brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross joined the faculty of the high school. Brother John Baptist was appointed Superior. He was assisted by Brother Eymard, Brother Lawrence Justinian, and Brother Joel, all graduates of the University of Notre Dame. The Brothers of the Holy Cross continued to teach at VIHS until 1972.

Initially, VIHS operated separate classes for boys and girls; the Sisters of Mercy taught the girls, and the Brothers of the Holy Cross taught the boys. In 1974, classes were combined and VIHS became truly co-educational for the first time.

The school newspaper was called “The Blue Banner”, the school’s sports teams were the Lions, and the school yearbook was called “Crossroads”.

VIHS closed in 1977, and the building that housed the school is now Saint Vincent’s Apartments, a community for senior citizens. Officially, VIHS merged with Cardinal McCloskey High School to form Bishop Maginn High School in the building of the former Cardinal McCloskey High School.

Precious little information about Vincentian Institute is available on the web. I find this surprising since the students and alumni were fiercely loyal to the school. I’m not aware of any published history of the school, although I think there would be a local market for such a publication. Perhaps there’s an opportunity here.

For other posts on the Vincentian Institute, see:

For posts on the Church of St. Vincent de Paul, see:

For posts on the Pine Hills Branch of the Albany Public Library, see:

Copyright © 2007 by Stephen J. Danko

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113 Responses to The Vincentian Institute in Albany, New York

  1. Joan Colfer says:

    I am so surprised to see this website on good old VI. I went to the glass school in 1955. I just remember how hot it was in the kindergarden which was made up of 2 large greenhouses with a single door to the middle area between both classrooms. I still remember the light blue paint on the floor with a floor drain in it because I never did umderstand what that was for? Now I know. The next move was to first grade in the larger Glass School classrooms for grade 1 & 2. In the months of May & June the Mercy nuns must have suffered a great deal in the long black habits with thoses big leather belts they had to wear back then.

    The barn was 3rd grade classes with one in front of the building and the other in the back of the barn with the girls and boys rooms built upstairs in what was the hay loft. My 3rd grad class had over 50 kids in it and the teacher was a jolly large nun named Sister Josepha. I just had a great time in the third grade that year. Loved the Barn too. Not too many kids can say I went to school in a barn or a glass school. The first time I told my husband’s family about my childhood education they looked at me like I came from another planet. Funny stuff.

    I did get to go to the new brick classrooms for 4th and 5th grades. Seems like I was always looking to get outside to play on the large back lawn with the big shade trees.

    I did have a few long lasting friendships I made from that little glass school. I still write to my first grade friend Diane Campion now living in northern CA. with her own family.

    My happiest memories were dancing to the music of my cousin Steve Colfer’s band playing all the hits of the time from 1965-1969. Steve’s band was called “The Gray Things” named after the D.J. Lee Gray from WTRY & I think that was the radio station he was with.

    Last time I was in Albany I met up with my family members & Brian Colfer was wearing a heavy winter sweat shirt with the words printed on it were: ” Vincention Institute The Legend Lives On”. I took a photo of him that night and I am so glad I did because it makes me smile because this way I can remember him the way he was many years ago. Brian died a few years later. He was a wonderful person and he will be missed by all his good friends & family. Well I also took a ride over to see my old brownstone house at 253 Quail Street. What I saw was a very well kept building with what appeared to be 2 large apartments with lovely window boxes full of pretty flowers in front of both large windows. I enjoyed finding this website very much. Wish everyone would like to share their thoughts too.

  2. Hi Joan,

    Thanks for your comment! It looks like I followed you through all the same classrooms! Like you, my third grade classroom was in the barn and my teacher was sister Josepha! I’ve seen those “Vincentian Institute The Legend Lives On” shirts on sale at a bar in Albany. Perhaps I should buy one the next time I’m in town. I’m willing to bet that we know many of the same families – I probably went to school with the younger brothers and sisters of some of the kids you went to school with.


  3. Steve Colfer says:

    I happen to come upon this website randomly so it was a nice surprise to find that my cousin Joan still has fond memories of VI and “The Gray Things”. I attended St. Teresa of Avila Junior High School through the ninth grade so my VI experience lasted only three years. VI was four stories. The boys were housed on the first two floors and the girls were on the upper floors. The only way boys got to roam the upper floors was for indoor track practice after school…sign me up! I ran low hurdles, sprints, and I was also a not so high jumper! VI had very srong athletic programs. In my senior year, the football team won a league championship and I remember being on the track team when we finally lost a dual meet after 43 straight dual meet victories. It was a local record at that time…if I only could have jumped 6′ 5″ instead of 5′ 6″ it might have reached 44…its a burden I’ve carried throughout my life!

    When you walked up the stairs through the main entrance you would encounter two large carved “Lions of Judea”. One is now painted gold and resides just outside the Italian American Community Center on Washington Avenue Extension. Does anyone know where the other lion is? Did the Italian lion eat it?

    Another special place at VI was the grotto. It was a chapel with mosaic tiles, stained glass windows and a rock waterfall altar. It was peaceful and beautiful just like Carmelinda Cangemi when I stood next to her in the grotto to exhange vows in 1976.

    VI had a very good school orchestra but I never considered playing in it. Brother John Neidl taught music and he had a reputation of being less than nurturing. I had a hot girlfriend and I was the drummer in a hot band that paid more so that was a better choice for me!

    Across the street from VI was a tavern called “Yezzi’s”. Rumor had it that occasionally, VI students would go there on weekends. It probably isn’t true because I don’t remember seeing anyone when I played there!

    “The Gray Things” developed into somewhat of a local legend recording the single “Charity” for Laurie records, being reviewed in Billboard magazine, and opening for famous bands like “The Rascals”, “The Lovin Spoonful” (twice), “Keith” (98.6), “The Myddle Class” ( Free as the Wind”) and “The Byrds”. Lee Gray was the Program Manager at WTRY. Lee moved on to national prominence at WMCA in New York City. He was a personal friend of “The Beatles” and Dick Clark. A memorial website at honors his legacy. If you hit WTRY (underscored) from the home page it brings up all the things he did when he was in the Albany area. If you scroll to underneath a picture of Lee Gray and John Lennon, our Laurie record label comes up. Click on it to play “Charity”. Click on “The Gray Things” (underscored) to read our story.

    When VI closed an era ended. Some alum accept the notion that the closed Cardinal McCloskey being renamed Bishop McGinn is now alma mater to both schools but I never understood the kinship. All hail the White and Blue!

  4. joe gioco says:

    I think I ran in that track meet that Steve mentioned, ran under five minutes for the mile for the first time. I was the last person to coach track at VI in 1977. I was not happy about its closing and like Steve don’t see the kinship between Bishop Maginn and Vincentian. It was a truly wonderful place. It seems like only yesterday that I to ran in the halls for indoor track.

    Joe Gioco – class of 1967

    • stephen a larsen says:

      Dear sir
      My sister in-law found a class ring from Vincentian Institute class of 56. Like you say so little is available on line I was wondering if you could point me in a direction. It is my intention to get it to the owner or next of kin. Any help would be great. Where to look for a year book or something like that.
      Thank you
      Stephen A Larsen

    • peter says:

      is this the joe from rose court off whitehall road

  5. Gregory Maguire says:

    A note to say that I peeked into this site because I was looking to find out something about if the Class of 1972 was having its thirty-fifth reunion this year. We were never the most organized class (it was the spirit of those times…) so perhaps it won’t happen. Still, having gone to VI CCD from fourth to eighth grades and to VI high school, and then having taught a year at the CCD, I have very fond memories of the school. I also attribute much of my professional satisfaction in life to the sound teaching and generous spirits of the staff–and the fellow students–who occupied that place during that time.

    Gregory Maguire

  6. Ann Franze Wall says:

    How wonderful to find you via a google search for a class of ’72 reunion, thanks to the above inquiry of Mr. Maguire. Thank you for gathering the information..this was a wonderful trip down memory lane.
    It reminded me of the memories of the 3 of us in the drivers ed class at AHS. A great summer.

    I only attended 4 years of VI high school, but I then moved to a house on Morris St across from the former convent. My boys attended a nursery school program and religious ed in the former grade school.

    Great to find your site, and to catch up on your life.
    Take care,
    Annie Wall

  7. Well, who would have guessed that my two drivers’ ed buddies would find me via this blog! I, too, have great memories of that summer.

    Perhaps someone will find this article and post some information about the ’72 reunion. And me – I’m waiting for news about the ’73 reunion. I may even fly the 3000 miles back to Albany and attend this time. I saw some photos of the last class of ’73 reunion and was amazed that I recognized hardly anyone in the pictures!


  8. Fred Turner, VI '57 says:

    You folks might want to check and see what’s happening in Lake George soon.
    The website is availbale to any class.
    tc, fred

  9. Brian Murphy says:

    I also heard a rumor of a class of 1972 reunion. Reportedly it will be at Martels on the day after Thanksgiving. I haven’t been able to substantiate this, however. I still run in to classmates from time to time, as I stayed local. If I hear anything I will post it.

    • Steve McDonald says:

      Could you please contact me at the Email address above, I am in dire need of information regarding a member of the class of 1972… I cant stress the importance of this mater, please contact me.

  10. Nancy Gorzynski Peters says:

    Hi I stumbled on your blog while looking for the web site for the Vincential Institute Class of “57 web site. I will find it eventually because I have been there before.

    Having our 50th reunion this weekend, Sept 28 – 30, 2007 at the Roaring Brook Dude Ranch in Lake George. We have about 100 attending on Friday and over 150 for Saturday. We were always a fun loving class and I guess that has not changed.

    Look for pictures of our reunion on our web site.

  11. Chuck Van Alen says:

    Just found this site while googling Vincentian Institute and was amazed to find hardly any information about it. I was there in 1956 and lived in Rensselaer across the Dun Memorial bridge. Had to take 2 buses to get to school each day. My cousins all lived in Albany and went to VI also. One was BettyAnn Gotha, and Mary Duffy. They were one year ahead of me at VI and both graduated from there. I have the Crossroads for 1956 when I was a freshman. It was a great year. I wonder what happened to Bill Warner, and Joe Shay and so many other great people I met—? Here I am 66 now and just now finding out VI was gone in the 70s!! I was there when Brother Giles was the principle and Bro Francois headed up the Religion Department.
    Great memories about an awesome school
    Chuck VanAlen

  12. bill gary says:


  13. Fred Turner, VI '57 says:

    To all VIers,

    The 50th Reunion of the Class of ’57 was a wonderfel event. Almost 200 attended the Banquet.

    Snapshots taken at the reunion are being added to the website

    If any other classes would like to use the website please go to it and send an e-mail to me.

    The server space, to host your information, is FREE! I’ll provide the FTP username & password so you can design and maintan your pages.

    tc, fred turner

  14. Joanne says:

    Steve Colfer, Brother John Neidl’s bark was worse than his bite. There are many now middle aged men and women who had him in high school as band and drill team director for 2 schools (Bishop Hendricken and Prout Memorial) who will tell you how nurturing he was and the effect he had on so many of us!

  15. Todd Bader VI '61 says:

    Steve and Joanne, I agree that Bro John Neidl’s bite was not so bad. I was in the class of ’61 and played drums in the band and the Red Jackets (and, btw, some extra curricular rock and roll with a small group that played on weekends in local night spots, including Yezzi’s). Brother John, incidentally, is also a VI alumnus. He and my brother Bob (VI ’50 or thereabouts) both played the trumpet in the band. I was a little kid at the time going to the VI elementary school. I lived in the neighborhood (South Main between Myrtle and Park) and would sometimes go up to the high school and hang out in the band room after school. The marching band in those days had really cool uniforms with tall hats, epaulets and long winter overcoats. When the VI football team played at Bleeker Stadium, the band would march there from the high school. I remember the overcoats because I would sometimes walk along with the band and hide under my brother’s coat as it went through the stadium entrance so that I wouldn’t have to pay.

    Todd Bader

    • Dave Goguen says:

      Hey, Todd
      I stumbled across this site and saw your name, so I thought I’d write and see what you’re up to. I am currently living in Schenectady since my retirement and divorce.
      I heard you were in California. It looks like that state is about as disfunctional as New York, but with better weather.
      It says they don’t publish emails so I’ll give you mine in case you actually see this:
      Hope to hear from you.

  16. Todd Bader VI '61 says:

    Steve and Joanne, I agree that Bro John Neidl’s bite was not so bad. I was in the class of ’61 and played drums in the band and the Red Jackets (and, btw, some extra curricular rock and roll with a small group that played on weekends in local night spots, including Yezzi’s). Brother John, incidentally, is also a VI alumnus. He and my brother Bob (VI ’50 or thereabouts) both played the trumpet in the band. I was a little kid at the time going to the VI elementary school. I lived in the neighborhood (South Main between Myrtle and Park) and would sometimes go up to the high school and hang out in the band room after school. The marching band in those days had really cool uniforms with tall hats, epaulets and long winter overcoats. When the VI football team played at Bleeker Stadium, the band would march there from the high school. I remember the overcoats because I would sometimes walk along with the band and hide under my brother’s coat as it went through the stadium entrance so that I wouldn’t have to pay.

    Todd Bader

  17. Mary Lou Myers Young says:

    My classmate, Flo Sewell Gordon, told me about this site. We were the grade school class of 1957. I never knew the history of the school even though I started there in second grade. When I tell my children and others that my grade school was a hot house and how many kids we had in our class, they can’t believe it. I remember many of my teachers (Miss May, Sr. Mary Margaret, etc.). I have many fond memories of my days there.
    Thanks for the information.

  18. marmee colfer says:

    Many of my family members attendended Vincentian Institute including my father, Joseph Francis Colfer. I have his kindergarden graduation picture in front of the high school back in 1917. Back then it was called St Vincent de Paul. His kindergarden teacher was Sr Mary Michael. She later ended up at St Theresa of Avila on New Scotland Ave. Sr Michael had me pulled from my kindergarden homeroom so she could have the distinction of having taught my dad and all of his 6 children.

  19. joe hein says:

    Yes, I remember Sister Mary Michael . . . we (mike olesko, jim finn, earnie burkart, and mike shepardson) met with Sister Baptista and Mr. Early last month. They are both doing quite well.

  20. Jude (Magin) Kallok says:

    Hi Steve:

    We were classmates for many years. Thank you very much for the history on the school. My parents both went to VI and graduated in 1945. Because of the gender segregation they never met or knew each other at all while they were there.

    If you don’t mind, I am going to hijack your work to include with our family’s history as well.

    I hope you are having a wonderful life.



  21. Hi Jude!

    I certainly remember you from VI! I’m happy to let people use my work in their own family histories and other non-commercial uses as long as they let me know they’re going to do it. It’s nice to hear from you after so many years and I’m glad you found something of interest on my blog!


  22. Fred Turner, VI '57 says:

    Howdy y’all,

    If you’d like to keep up with the plans for the 50th Reunion of the Class of 1958 — check They’re posting it themselves.

    Also coming soon is info about the Class of 1968 40th Reunion. They should have it up early in March.

    If anyone knows of any other classes planning reunions please have a committee member get in touch with me. My e-mail addy is on that website.

    The server space is FREE to all VI classes! No strings.

    Thanks for a great blog Steve,

  23. John Kelly says:

    An interesting fact that I’m sure some will remember: In the late 40’s and early 50’s the 7th and 8th grades were held in a three story house on Madison Ave. just below Quail St. It later became the headquarters for the Family Rosary. My sister, Bernadette, attended 7th and 8th grade there and graduated from VI in 1953.

  24. joe hein says:

    My dad attended VI in the Madison Ave. house just below Quail in the late twenties and early thirties.

  25. Fred Turner (VI'57) says:

    You might want to check to see what the Class of ’58 is planning for their Semicentennial Celebration.

  26. Michael Nardacci says:

    VI went all the way through me: not only did I go there for K through 12, but I went back in Fall, 1972 to teach there until it closed. Its closure was one of the the worst mistakes of our current Bishop, who will retire with a list of closed schools and churches longer than the Lion of Judah’s tail!
    Memories, memories: sweating in the “Glass School” and wearing sunglasses there on sunny days; watching the new building rise in the early 1950s; 3rd grade class in “The Barn” with the stained glass windows and the gold dragon windvane. I was scared to go to the boys’ room alone–it was up those creaky stairs!
    High school was truly the greatest 4 years of all my education time: Bro. Paul Burns was a great teacher and Bro. John Neidl–who was all bark and no bite–but what a bark!–got me to join glee club, and then the Vikings. Wonderful memories of the concerts. How about those “canteens” with the Red Jackets! And then there was Sr. Mary Carmel’s Journalism class–co-ed!!!– on that fire-trap fourth floor!
    VI was a life-making and life-changing experience, and I would expect there is a very special corner of Purgatory reserved for those who had a hand in its closing.
    Bishop Hubbard, take note!!!!

  27. Marianne Holmes Lofrumento - class of 1968 says:

    Some VI memories:
    Telling the freshman about the pool on the roof and sending them up the staircase that went nowhere.
    Hiking up the pleated skirt part of our uniforms, by cinching the belt, so the skirt fell above our knees and then pulling it down quickly when a nun came along.
    Dancing in all the school shows as a member of the Vinettes.
    When they finally allowed us to have cheerleaders, wearing heavy sweaters and skirts below our knees.
    On the few days we didn’t have to wear uniforms, we couldn’t wear slacks. And our dresses couldn’t be sleeveless (so the boys couldn’t sneak a peek at our bras through the arm holes).
    Sister Franscesca telling us not to wear paten leather shoes so the boys couldn’t see up our dresses using the reflection on the shoes. She also told us that our first kiss should be our engagement kiss because then it would mean so much more.
    At events in St. Vincent DePaul’s church (like confirmation or graduation), the clicker the nuns used so we would all stand up, sit down or kneel down at exactly the same time.
    Girls getting caught smoking in the girls bathroom — scandalous!
    Nuns separating couples who were dancing too close at the canteens.
    Sock hops in the gym.
    Never hold hands with a boy while in uniform — that was scandalous too.
    When someone said something a little less than complimentary about a priest, Sister Ruth becoming incensed and telling us not to “put our tongue to the cloth”).
    Speaking of Sister Ruth, she was putty in the hands of the boys but gave the girls a hard time.
    Attaching a kleenex to our hair with a bobby pin to go into church if we didn’t have a hat or a mantilla to cover our head.
    Many, many memories.

  28. Ron Lasek says:

    Hi Steve,

    Nice to see a name from the past. Any news of plans for a ’73 class reunion this year or in the near future?

    Living in Colorado. Would consider attending a reunion. I’d appreciate any you letting me know of any reunion plans.


  29. Joe Grieco says:

    I was doing a web browse on VI and found your blog! It was great seeing the names of some of my old school mates. Some of the recollections brought back some great memories.

  30. joe hein says:

    Ron For VI reunion info go to:

  31. Joe Huberty says:

    I attended the VI grammar school from ’33 to ’41–At that time the grammar school was behind what was later/or now is a branch of the Albany Public Library.–A note above by “Jude Magin Kallok” refers to her parents having graduated VIHS in’45–After grammar school I transferred to arch rival CBA but I recall Fred Magin from VI. A good fellow. –When I started grammar school there were two (2) glass classrooms as someone has described above. We wore “sun suits” to school in January–There were hot water radiators but they were rarly used (cloudy days) for supplementary heat.–All students wore special sun glasses and the paper in our note pads was a light green and did not reflect the sun.–Each year two new classrooms were added and paid for by Mrs. Farrell who was the parish benefactor.–At that time Albany was the home of the New York Central Railroad and her husband was one of the financiers and a partner of the founders and principal sctock holders of the railroad. Their estate was behind that long brick wall on Westerrn Ave. accross from the old Albany High School.–She was also the principal benefactor of the new church at Madiason Ave.& Partridge Street. —She was a close friend and mentor for Fr. John Charles.–I understand that Fr. Charles father was the general counsel for the New York Central and a partner with Farrell in the railroad.–There were several bitter fights for control of the railroad and Farrell & Charles were part of one group fighting for control.—In all I believe Mrs. Farrell paid for classrooms 1 thru 6.–Because of her generosity the annual tuition for the grammar school was $3.00 PER FAMILY regardless of the number of children attending school. Yes, I said $3.00.! When I reached the 5th grade I suffered headaches whch were said to have resulted from too much exposure to the sun. I then transferred to Blessed Sacrament for the 6th grade and returned to VI for the 7th & 8th grades. –As someone has mentioned above, the 7th &n8th grades were in the “Annex” which was a large brick two story building on Madison Avenue just below Quail Street. –I do not clearly recall any classes in the “barn” but then that was a long time ago.–As I said, I transferred to CBA for high school.– I happened on this site because our 8th grade teacher was a Sister Anita and on this day I noticed an obituary in the Times Union for a nun of that name . I was curious if it might have been the same. It was not. –However, I can still remember Sunday Mass with our class from the glass school and the “click” of the cricket to signal our actions (standing, sitting, kneeling) during the Mass. I hope this will add a little to the history and background of the old VI.–Those were the “good old days”, all fun & no cares. Good luck to all.

  32. Fred Turner (VI'57) says:

    Steve: Thnaks for keeping the blog going

    The Classes of 1958 & 1968 have posted their reunion plans at
    VI’59 is working on pages for next year.

    tc, fred

  33. Mary Miles (Marks) '73 says:

    What great memories.
    Grade school – the barn, single file out to the maypole to say Hail Marys’ and sing, lining up in the glass school on picture day while the photographer’s assistant handed out combs and got everyone ready for their turn. Mrs. O’Heaney. Sr. Josephine. Fr. Cox. Glatz’s on Sunday after church for an eclair and chocolate milk.
    High school – rolling up our skirts, Mrs. Nealon, Fr. Mealey and the Sister who had a breakdown trying to teach us 9th graders algebra. Water balloons off the roof, smokers on Yates Street. Dances on Friday night at VI, and Saturday night at CBA. Dan-Dee Donuts during “free” periods, Walt’s Submarine, Sadie Hawkins Day/Dance, basketball games, football games at Bleecker Stadium. And yes, in between was Latin and shorthand and taking turns working in the school office. Great times and I agree with the bloggers above…it ended with VI in ’77. McCloskey was our rival — and changing the name to Maginn doesn’t quite make it.

  34. Carol Dwyer "73 says:

    Hey Steve! Love the blog about VI. I put ’73 even tho I left and graduated from Marylrose Academy. It is my VI friends from K-10 that I remember most. It is amazing to realize how many kids were in the classes! I also remember the Kindergarten in the greenhouse, Duck and Cover in the coat closets of the Glass Building, Third grade in the Barn, (Steve, remember you and I were penpals! & Sister Josepha thwacked you with a towel for an innocent kiss!) I will never forget the high school student that ran in the Barn to tell us that President Kennedy had been shot….
    And who could forget Mrs. Race (5th grade) or Sister Jerome (6th)! And Steve, I apologize for getting out of line when you were on security patrol. I think it must have been very frustrating for you. It was one of my early acts of rebellion.
    Thanks again for the blog and history, Steve!

  35. Mary Franklin Sheevers says:

    It is amazing how well connected we are after all these years. This is the first time I’ve browsed this blog because the website was listed on a recently recieved reunion invitation. However, I see and hear from fellow grads regularly. Some of us ended up working together, some married each other, some have found friendships that we never would have dreamed of in high school. It is good to grow up. I see that Greg Maguire has been reading this blog while I’ve been reading his wonderful novels. I’m sure his sister(Rachel, my favorite English teacher) is very proud of him. Greg’s speech at St. Rose’s 2006 commencement was awsome!

    At this time of our lives, is is important to keep in touch to share positive things in our lives and to support our friends through difficult times that come with age.

    Keep talking.


  36. Ray Lyons says:

    Hey All!! I hope all VI’ers stumble onto this blog the way I did. What a great way to remember VI and some of the best times of our lives. I’d like to say HI to Joe Gioco, you ran track with my brother Bill Lyons. I was 2 years behind, and yes I signed up for the track team so I could run laps on the third floor. I can’t help but remember the winter indoor meets and having my hair and nostrils freeze afterwards in the cold Albany weather. I was at the closing affair that VI put on in 1977 in the auditorium, and it seemed just like a Friday nite dance, it didn’t hit until later that VI was no more. After the conversion into Senior apartments my Grandmother moved into my old homeroom 209 and lived there for the rest of her life, it was eerie to go back and walk the halls sans lockers and the crush between classes. It was those between class breaks that I remember most of the daily VI routine. Well maybe I do remember Mr. Stanley’s method of teaching; dictation and memorization, I used to see him up at Saratoga every year and kinda think he had a great life. I remember Brother John, Storming into class and writing the HUGE word WAR on the blackboard and saying the goodtimes were over. That guy was a pistol!! And who can forget Father Phil and Sister Sean…. another story I guess.
    My Memories of the VI High School Years;
    Sunday Folk Mass in the Grotto –later my wedding spot
    Washington Tavern on Study Hall Breaks instead of going to the library..sorry Pinhead
    Walking through the snow to Christmas Midnight Mass at St. Vincents
    The Eighth Step Coffee House
    Joe’s Deli
    Mr. Amore’s Barber shop, forced compliance to the VI hair code
    Night Games at Bleeker Stadium
    Derby Day!!!
    The day the soda machine doors opened in the Cafeteria
    And Yes I do Remember the Gray Things, and The Chord-A-Roys, and the Apple Corps, Jimmy Hyde lived right behind me – lots of free concerts.
    Well these are my thoughts for now, let’s keep the Blue Blunder Alive!!!

    • Sister Sean (Phyllis O’Shea) had 40 years of happy marriage. We were both reasonably successful in the field of education, eventually retiring. And she passed away last week. The life, the vigor, the compassion she showed to the students at VI continued in all that she did. And I have been the luckiest man ever for having known her, loved her, and cared for her over the years. It is another story, as you say, and I am thankful to VI for the opportunity to have met her. We enjoyed our time with the students of VI.

      • Joe Gioco says:

        I was saddened to hear the news of Phyllis’s passing. Your words about your lives together were so beautiful.
        You may not remember me, but I was in your Senior Religion class in 1967. It was some class. The class of misfits I think.
        I didn’t know Phyllis but as it turns out she and I shared birthdays, and Oct 10 is my wedding day.
        Now on those two days every year I will think of you and send good thoughts your way.
        All the best old friend,
        Joe Gioco

  37. Ray Lyons says:

    Class of ’69

  38. Donald Singleterry Washum says:

    Good to be in Albany New York and see that Vincentian Institute still is on a few folks mind. I have been away from Albany for 30 years and have never forgot about good old V.I. I hope to hear from several members of the class of 1974.

  39. Pat Munsell says:

    I am grateful for these remembrances of VI grade school.
    I remember spending the first few months of first grade in a class with a nun who terrified me. Transfering to VI and class in the glass house was like walking into sunshine. I’m especially glad to remember third grade with Sr. Josepha – I had forgotten her name- but I really can’t forget that heart.
    Does anyone remember her saying, “Just because you go to school in a barn doesn’t mean you have to act like animals!”
    She used that line when we’d clomp up and down the stairs. Third -grade- me just thought that was hilarious. I remember square dancing in the hay loft ,appropriately, to old folk songs like “Skip to My Lou” and “Buffalo Girls won’t you come out tonight” I think New York state required gym class in those days, but she seemed to be the only teacher following the standards on that one. And am I remembering this correctly…just before Mother’s Day didn’t she pull out a shoe box full of tiny Avon samples and sell them to us for a penny apiece?
    The barn school really seemed like a soverign nation.
    After third grade I remember entering the long building and my memories of that time are not so fond but dominated by the nun in charge – Sr. Patrice – whose steely grey eyes still haunt my dreams.
    Pat Munsell Class of 1968

  40. Mary Lou Cambareri Ritz says:

    Just read Pat Munsell’s memory of Sr. Patrice. I remember she called my mother to the convent and said I was going to be a “bad” girl. I have been married for 43 years and have been a teacher for 44 years. I now teach in a private Catholic school with no one remotely like Sr. Patrice.

  41. Gail Garrard says:

    I am not a VI graduate but am looking for one of you. Bob Hurley graduated
    some time around 1952 to 1956 and was a close friend of ours when teaching
    in Granville, NY from 1958 to 1965. Does anyone remember him?
    Does anyone know where he (and wife Connie) may be now?
    Please respond via the blog if you can give me any info. (I don’t know how to
    swap email addresses or phone numbers so will read it to hear from one of you).
    Gail and Larry Garrard
    Waitsfield, VT

  42. Donna Krug (Glasser) says:

    Hi, Im a graduate of 72 and didnt know if anyone knew where I could get a yearbook for Cardinal McCloskey for 1972. Thanks :)

  43. Christine McCourt says:

    I fell upon this site by accident and my past became my present. I am in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico reading tales being told by people I remember from a very long time ago. I was in third grade with Joan Colfer. Remember me, Joan? I lived on Yates Street. I think I was voted “the most likely to fail…” I didn’t though; I did OK.

    I enjoyed the glass school best; especially, on rainy days. The barn was cool, too.

    Walking to St. Vincent de Paul church for Christmas Midnight Mass was magical.

    Steve, thanks for this visit to the past.


  44. greg slocum says:

    i went to vi grade school k-8 and high school for two years than to ahs. nice to remember the old days. would have been class of ’76.

  45. Annmarie Leonard Yellico says:

    Dear VI Grads and Lovers of VI: My son recently turned me on to this wonderful website. Like most of you, I loved VI and mourned its closing. I graduated in 1970 with Chris McCourt, who I read online, and many other wonderful people who I would love to hear from. I still live in Albany though in my lifetime, I have traveled to many places. Still, I came home to where my roots are. Please contact me. I would love to hear from any and all. God bless you all and Happy New Year. Annmarie Leonard Yellico

  46. Joe Gioco says:

    This is for Ray Lyons. I would love to hear from your brother Bill. I am in the NYC phone book. Have him call me anytime.

  47. Ray Lyons for Joe Gioco says:

    Hey Joe,
    Bill passed away on Memorial day, he ran every day and went out on a run. Who can figure.

  48. Al Donnelly VI '54 says:

    In reading Steve’s Genealogy Blog, I was surprised to note in his posting that the Brothers of Holy Cross out of Notre Dame did not join the VI staff until 1936.
    On a historical note, the connection between the University of Notre Dame and VI — most notably the Grotto — goes back much further to 1921 when the Fighting Irish football team, en-route to its game at West Point, had a stopover in Albany and the whole team reportedly walked from the railroad station to a replica of Lourdes in Albany. That walk and the resulting publicity it generated is credited as the first “…explicit and public connection between religion and football at Notre Dame.” This input is taken from page 157 in “Shake Down the Thunder…The Creation of Notre Dame Football,” by Murray Sperber
    Throughout my own years at VI, the football team carried on this tradition by regularly visitng the Grotto for prayer on their way to and from football practice or to and from games either at Bleeker Stadium or Hawkins Stadiium.

  49. Al Donnelly VI '54 says:

    Fred Turner – VI ’57. Wondering if you are related to Tom Turner, Class of ’54? If so, we’d like to contact him in preparation for our 55th reunion this fall. Al Donnelly, Campbell, NY

  50. kathy owens mccabe '73 says:

    I had forgotten that I found this website a while ago. Nice to see so many people commenting. Did I miss a reunion? I went to the 30th in 2003. Great to see that VI has a special place in so many peoples memories. I will keep reading.

  51. Evelyn Gili says:

    Hello –

    My brother-in-law, Paul Smith, died recently. He had written a journal, including his days at VISH, graduating ~1943. No pictures. If you are interested in reading his recollections (they are amusing), I would be happy to send them to you. Let me know.

  52. Joe Gioco says:

    Ray, I am shocked to hear about Bill’s passing. My deepest condolences. This news has struck a sad chord way down deep. Forever young, man.


  53. Fred Turner (VI'57) says:

    To Al Donnelly
    Tom is my brother. Please e-mail at

  54. Fred Turner (VI'57) says:

    You might want to keep an eye on The class of 1954 is planning a 55th reunion.

  55. Fred Turner (VI'57) says:

    Also the class of 1959 is workin on a 50th.

  56. Mike Olesko says:

    It’s certainly been a walk down memory lane reading this page. Since my father passed away in 1989 I’ve only been back to Albany twice. After graduating from NYU Film School I traveled the US writing articles. By the 80’s I was playing keyboards behind all the old artists and touring with Percy Sledge,Shirelles,Drifters,Coasters and Crystals. Appeared in one movie “Special Bulletin” an NBC Movie of the week then worked 14 years on cruise ships as an entertainer. Became a Social Studies teacher in Ft Lauderdale, where I am today. My newest book about George Washington due soon. Regarding my old group The Gray Things, Steve Colfer,Dennis Boyagian and our old manager Dave Rittner still live in the Capitol District. Billy Cioffi lives in Scottsdale, Jack Warrington lives in Orlando and I in Ft Lauderdale. As for our record “Charity” has taken on new life. In 1981 the record label Laurie went out of business. In 1982all the masters were sold to Capitol/EMI and “Charity” was released in 1982 on an LP collection in Germany called “Mindrockers” Vol 3. A few years later it was reissued on the Impact label in Europe. It is still being played in Europe and in Russia to this day as “60’s Garage Band Rock from the US”. Go to and put in The Grey Things. Copies are selling for $100 each at European collector sites. We thank all our supporters at VI in 1966 and 67 who were our friends and our fans. Look for my book on Amazon .com “In George Washingtons Time”. Mike Olesko 1967

  57. Maggie Molino says:

    My name was Margie Magee and I went to VI Elementary 1942 second grade through the 6th grade. Does anyone remember Fr. O’Brien ….? What became of him… And… Sr. Reparata was one of my most favorite teachers. A little classmate I remember most is Ursula Smith.

  58. Dom Mucci says:

    Hi Steve,
    Dom Mucci here…grad of CBA 1970, hoping to locate Maureen Quirk class of 1971. She lived on Brookline with her sister Collen, brotheres Bill, Chris and Patrick. Just wanted to say Hi.
    Dom Mucci

  59. Christine Sullivan says:

    I am very glad to see that there is something like this online (those Maginn newsletters just aren’t doing it). As a high school teacher of over 20 years I have to say that I have never had the privilege of again being part of a school that had the great spirit and loyalty that VI engendered in so many of its alums. All hail the white and blue!

    Chris Sullivan
    Class of 1978

  60. Christine Sullivan says:

    Can’t believe I put “CLASS OF 1978″ – that was college – Class of 1974! It’s been a long 30 years I guess.

  61. Dan Buddie says:

    Joe Gioco, Steve Colfer…Marmee (you were so nice)..CBA bands and dances, VI Track – boy, do these names and memories take me back…. Have seen this blog a couple times, but I always deferred putting pen to it. Went to VI from 8th grade through 1966; then had to rejoin my family (who had moved to Syracuse earlier) after I stayed my last year at VI with my best friend Karl Finkell and his family -just so I could run Track for my junior and last year at VI. Absolutely disheartening to have had to leave my senior year. I just sat here in shock (as had Joe Gioco) to read Bill Lyons passed away; and like my college roommate he also died years later – running. Bill was one of my (championship) Mile Relay teammates – and one of my very good friends…not to mention the guy who had a date who I had to become and ended up my girlfriend (and he helped me how). VI Track..great coach – Mr. [Bill] Carter and mentor for years later – and associated with just phenomenal athletes – sop much fun, success, and lifetime experiences; that 43 track meet streak also tied a national catholic school record; in the meet that ended it all against Bethlehem Central I ran in that final medley relay (either to win or lose it and the meet)…with a lead going into our anchor, we got beat at the wire (their anchor later became a track teammate and friend in college) – funny how things turn out in life. Anyways, have been back to Albany throughout the years, but only saw some of the old crew at Karl Finkell’s retirement. Recently went down “memory lane” again (as my wife calls it), which I tend to do when up there – and go by VI and the area _ somehow it like it calls you back to it…more smiles of great times – and great friends, than what it has become. Hello to all of my friends who read this…always a Lion at heart.

  62. Pat O'Hara Reilly says:

    Thanks. Will visit again, soon. I’m Class of 1954.

  63. Fred Turner (VI'57) says:


    Much thanks for the phone conversation this morning. Please tell all VI classes that they can post reunion info at All the server space they’ll need — and never a charge.

    The Class of ’58 is still posting news and photos on their space — months after their 50th last year.

  64. Steve Colfer says:

    I have noticed that several former classmates have nice memories of my band “The Gray Things” and another popular VI band “The Chord-A-Roys”. If you are in the Albany area, and you want to hear some golden oldies, check out the Times Union Thursday “Preview” magazine for where “Joe’s Boys” are playing. Jimmy “Hollywood” Hyde, bass player and vocalist from “The Chord-A-Roys”, is in the band and I am on drums. Occasionally, Jimmy “The Rock” Rocco plays with us. We feature songs from “The Beatles”, “The Buckinghams”, “Frankie Valle”, “Motown Favorites”,… and we have hundreds of songs. Check out our web site for our schedule. We also play once a month at “Chipshots” at the Town of Colonie Golf Course. It would be nice to see some of our old VI classmates again! A night of “Joe’s Boys” songs is like a return to a CBA canteen! Where else can you go and hear songs like: “Down in the Boondocks”, “Kind of a Drag”, and “Hang on Sloopy”?

  65. Sieglinda Garfield-Snyder O'Donnell, class of 1954 says:

    WHat a wonderful job you have done on this website !!! Yes, we all remember the Vincentian Annex ( Madison one door east of Quail Street) –
    The Sisters Madeleine, Nathaniel, Eileen and Alene, and Fathers Byron and Scott were truly fine teachers……..
    `Many thanks for a pleasant romp thru the past……….sgsod

  66. Sieglinda Garfield-Snyder O'Donnell, class of 1954 says:

    WHat a wonderful job you have done on this website !!! Yes, we all remember the Vincentian Annex ( Madison one door east of Quail Street) –
    The Sisters Madeleine, Nathaniel, Eileen and Alene, and Fathers Byron and Scott were truly fine teachers……..
    `Many thanks for a pleasant romp thru the past……….sgsod

  67. Mary Ellen Hoenig says:

    Have come across this website several times and relived many fond memories of VI!! I graduated from VI in 1960 and have not had much contact since. I married Bob Hoenig, VI ’56 nearly 47 years ago and we have been in CA since 1972–I attended our 30th reunion in 1990 and was disappointed that I was the only Blue Banner staff member there. Have located ED Starkey and Bob Lilly–Is there anyone else out there??? We are working on ssetting up a website.

  68. Carol Polk Bruce says:

    Unfortunately, I spent only 2 short years in Vincentian. And reading thru the “lists”, I can still recall the faces of so many fellow classmates……There were 5 of us who were always together, Pat Kundel Dillon, Pat Patterson, Sister Patricia Goodrich, Marjorie Haag and myself….a tight little group who grew close even in that short time.
    Sadly, 3 of my friends have passed on; and over the years, I have lost touch with Marjorie Haag….I would like very much to locate her and wonder if anyone out there has any information/address, etc. I would certainly appreciate it if you could share it with me……Thanx so much…..

  69. Mary Danko Wynn says:

    Hi Steve –

    I am proud to say you are my cousin.

    This is a wonderful site for former VI students. I have wonderful memories which will stay with me forever.

    Thanks for all your expertise.

  70. Carla (Schou) Greenberg says:

    Class of 65 I remember Sister Lourdes, chemistry teacher, saying “girls save your pennies and go to Paris” These were the words I remembered when I saw the Eiffel Tower for the first time 2 decades later. She was right.

    I am grateful to VI for giving me the skills to get a Regents scholarship without which I would never been able to get my degree.

  71. Denise (Christopher) Smith says:

    I’m really enjoying reading everyone’s comments about VI, and reliving those mostly wonderful years. I grew up on Morris Street and attended VI from first grade (loved the glass school and the barn) through ninth. Although two of my three sisters and I ended up graduating from Albany High (along with several other “VI kids”), we can’t help but identify ourselves with the church and school community that formed us.

    I’d like to send a special hi to Class of 1968 classmates Pat Munsell and Marianne Holmes, who have commented elsewhere on this page. Pat, third grade in the barn has to be my all-time favorite grade, and that’s likely because of Sister Josefa, an extraordinary teacher, nun and person.

    On the other hand, I still tell stories about Doreen Gaul’s great aunt, Sister Patrice. I remember the time she, a former beautician, styled Doreen’s hair using pincurls, then pulled her out of the (single-file) line of students in the brick-building’s hallway to use her as a role model for the rest of us. Doreen was mortified! Speaking of pincurls, Mrs. Holmes worked magic on Marianne’s hair with pincurls, but that was in the lower grades. Mrs. Holmes was also a superb Girl Scout leader, and I still thank her (I really do) for many great times and the many useful skills she shared with us.

    Many of us, including Ray Maguire, loved to dance. He’d often show up at the Technical Building to watch “the girls” learn international folk dancing and square dancing. Marianne, do you remember us dancing at the Tulip Festival (I have a picture somewhere of the two of us in our orange-and-yellow dance outfits, complete with tulip headware), square dancing on the Pete Williams TV show, and folk dancing at various places, including Tanglewood (if my memory is correct on the place)?

    Fathers Cox and Scott taught Religious Studies in the CCD. And who could forget the young and handsome Fr. Romano? We walked single-file to the church for first-Friday mass (and the girls were sent home if they didn’t have their “beanie”). (How many kids became nauseous or fainted when the heavy smell of incense filled the church?) The month of May was especially beautiful as we gathered on the lawn on the Madison Avenue-side of the school (our “gym”, where many a great dodge-ball game was played) to erect the May altar and sing hymns of praise to our Mother Mary. (“Oh, Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today, Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May.”) The nuns always offered to counsel the young girls about sexual awareness and proper behavior, and Sr. Patrice sternly warned us that if we went to any eighth-grade graduation parties or were seen with boys, we wouldn’t be allowed to graduate.

    As for the high school, there were no doubt many high-school students who went to Yezzi’s at night, but I’d bet there were even more in Weinlein’s store during the day. The rooftop “pool”; the CBA dances; girls absent-mindedly rearranging slips next to their open locker door. . .; the awesome Grotto (I, too, got married there); smoking on Yates Street–there are a lifetime of memories.I hope everyone continues to “congregate” and share on this site, because no matter when you officially belonged to the VI/St. Vincent de Paul community, you will always be a part of it, and it will always be a part of you.

    Thanks, Steve. Great job!

  72. Clare Gaul Visk says:

    While I did enjoy Colleen Adams’ account of Sr. Patrice (“Spike”) doing my sister Doreen’s hair, know that she was born a nun I think and was never a beautician! Our family moved from Albany to Guilderland when I was starting the 8th grade…1974. I did attend VI from K-7th grade. Sr. Patrice was no longer the Principal but her presence in the family was quite similar to her reputation in the school. I attended classes in the glass buildings, the barn (4th grade) and the brick building for 5th, 6th and 7th. Kindergarden was in the big old Victorian building on Madison next to the library. I loved that library!

  73. Clare Gaul Visk says:

    My apologies…it was Denise Christopher Smith who shared that great memory of Doreen and Sr. Patrice

  74. Susan Coluccio says:

    Hi Steve,
    So nice to read the history of VI schools. I attended VI from grade 1-12, graduated in ’76. I remember those greenhouses, the barn, the May crowning of Mary outside every spring, walking to the lovely library housed in that beautiful old victorian building with that old elevator, and so much more. I was in the high school from 72-76 and it was co-ed when I was there, so I don’t know why your research showed that it went co-ed in ’74. It was co-ed in ’72 for sure! I think Barb Danko was in my class, is she your relative?

  75. Steve says:

    Hi Susan,

    Yes Barb is my sister, and now that you mention it, I think VI went co-ed in 1970. In 1969 it was still segregated into boys and girls classes (except for Journalism class up on the fourth floor).


  76. Jim Kaufman says:

    Great site. I graduated VI in 71 with your sister Bev. She told me about this a while ago but i, as usual, spend too much time looking out the windows. I should switch from Yates St to Microsoft – would have gotten here sooner.

    I am in touch with many classmates from 71 but still missing many so if anyone visits your page who hasn’t been in touch with me, i am looking for them

    I saw some mention of the Grey Things. Let’s not overlook The Chordoroys. For a high school band they really had it together.

    my 1.5 cents


  77. Terry Evers says:

    Good to see Jim Kaufman and Steve Colfer writing. I went to VI grade school and 1 year of VI high, class of ’65. Lots of great memories down in HR 119.

  78. Kris Kennedy says:

    Steve, great stories. I grew up across from VI on Morris until my parents divorced. I attended VI K-3 (63-66). I vaguely remember kindergarden in the glass house with a Ms. Kay(?) and 3rd grade in the barn. What great memories. Who can forget the Madison Theater on Saturdays? I grew up with Paul Brannigan, the Herkenheim twins, Danny Blake … My older brothers Keith and Ken remember better than I. Anybody remember the family on Morris Street who made the statute of Lincoln out of snow? I think it made the paper back in the early – mid 1960’s?

    • Kevin O'Brien says:

      Wow Kris that brought a jolt back,that was Mr Slatterly(sp?). We called him the “tan man” as kids because he sat in the sun even in the winter to get a tan. His son was the VI football coach I tink in the late 60’s,they lived accross the street from us.

      Kevin O’Brien

  79. Fred Turner (VI'57) says:

    The Class of 1960 has posted information about their upcoming 50th reunion. Please check

  80. Rosemary Hurlburt Gavin says:

    I really enjoyed reading all the posts to this site. My mother (Kathleen Mahoney) and my two older sisters (Kathy ’74, and Ann ’76) went to VI. I started there in September of ’76 and was told within the first few months of school, that we would not graduate, but that the school would be closed. I made certain I had the best year of high school anyone could possibly have. I remember the fabulous art classes with Mrs. Ryan, and earth science with Sr. Ligouri. I remember like it was yesterday walking up those stairs and seeing that brave and dignified lion every day. I ran track in those halls…trying to take those corners at full speed and slamming into lockers like bumper cars. I wore my VI uniform for the following three years at Bishop Maginn and never bought a Maginn uniform. I still have my skirt although I can’t locate my blazer any more. It had a gorgeous red lion on it. It was my sister’s hand me down as was the skirt. I cried as hard as the seniors when we left for the last time because I was being denied the legacy that I had dreamed of. I have just finished spending 6 years on the board of trustees at Catholic Central because my husband went there as did one of my sons, and I found that same fierce loyalty there with the alumni, and wanted to do everything I could to help prevent them from ever having to feel like I do about losing my beloved VI to some cost cutting decision. The character of schools like that can never be matched by large public schools because they lack the sense of community needed to perpetuate the loyalty.
    Thank you for starting something that looks to preserve that loyalty. I cringe every time I have to go to the Italian American center on Washington Avenue Extension because I have to see our precious lion weather beaten and crumbling. It should be in a museum, not a parking lot. Vincentian lives on in us.

  81. Dorothy Jean Vrbanac Havelin says:

    Holy Cow! I can’t believe I found this site! I went to Vincentian grade school and then Mercy Secretarial High School. I was queen of CBA winter prom in 1962. I well remember the tough and difficult Mrs. Race and Sr. Mary Delarosa who once slapped me for looking in a mirror.
    The one person that made these years very special was a nun named Sister Mary Agnes (5th grade teacher). I simply adored her and would often visit her at the convent. Somewhere in the 60’s. I received a letter that she passed away. I think of her often and wish I knew how to get some information where she’s buried. I would like to visit her grave.
    If anyone can provide me with infornmation…please contact me.
    Thank you so much.

  82. Chris Hanley says:

    Is there any one from the class of 1977 out there? Mosher, O’Brien, Questell, McDonald, Wells?

    • Kevin O'Brien says:

      Chris this Kevin O’Brien and I just stumbledonto the site, a few years after the post! I have moved around qute a bit sinceleaving Albany in 1988. I hope all is well.


  83. Fred Turner (VI'57) says:


    After reading this morning’s media blast of what they call news about abuses within the Catholic Church I felt a need to vent some thoughts.

    I went through twelve years of schooling and guildance by nuns, brothers and priests. St.Patrick’s, St.Teresa’s and VI. I experienced many of these devoted teachers.

    I’ve gone through my memory to try to find any “abuses”. All I’ve been able to come up with is when Father Kelly would come on to St.Teresa’s concrete playground to tap our heads with the rubber tip of his cane and tell us to “stand up straight”.

    I know I not alone in saying that they were “never abused”. I’m wondering why more of us won’t stand up and defend the people who wanted nothing but to educate us?

    I guess I should ask myself that question too. I’m going to try.

    Fred Turner

  84. Pete Treadway says:

    Hello Chris Hanley,

    I graduated from the VI class of 1977. Kind of odd being the last graduating class of a High School. Maybe they should make a movie!

    Pete Treadway in Boston, MA.

    • Joe Gioco says:

      It never occurred to me that the seniors that year were the last class at VI. I was there that year coaching the boys and girls track teams, and was, I guess, its last coach. I remember thinking that it was just a bad dream and that the school would reopen in the fall.

  85. Fred Turner (VI'57) says:

    The Class of 1975 is brainstorming a 35th reunion for this fall.

    Please check

    take care

  86. Karen (Tobin) Shea 1975 says:

    This is a great website, thanks Fred Turner. It’s time for a reunion,
    let’s all meet again.

  87. Andrew MacFarland says:

    Wow, all these blasts from the past!
    Attended VI elementary starting in 1950, I think, through 8th grade when my family moved to Latham. (Can I really be THAT old?) I have Proustian memories of the smells of chalk dust and rotted spilled milk in the glass house. We lived on Park Avenue, almost next to Allen Street. A nice walk to school in the morning, not that I appreciated it then – very happy I never had to take a school bus to school. Lots of tree-lined streets. Actually, three years ago I returned to the US for a visit and actually walked my old route to school. Funny how everything became smaller. St. Lawrence Blvd., Myrtle Ave. The big streets somehow narrowed!
    Let’s see… I remember the first time I saw Star Wars. Darth Vader. Brought back memories. Sister Mary Madeleine. Even with the breathing.
    Sister Mary Madeleine, who was pretty old (at least, to me, then) and who was fairly deaf. But not completely – Pat Frank rolled a lit firecracker down the aisle between the desks to the front of the classroom to see if she would notice. She did. And the day poor Sister Mary Madeleine’s bodice popped open accidentally. Did you know there were little snaps running down between all those little pleats? Somehow, I had always thought that nuns wore everything black, including underwear. I was wrong. The boys laughed like hell. The girls all grew red in the face, with some giggling. Sister knew something was going on, but her habit with the big white under-the-chin thing precluded her from looking down adequately to notice that something had gone amiss. One girl finally ran up and whispered loudly in her ear. A look of shock – and she was gone! Never came back.
    Later, Sister Mary Dolorosa came in and gave us a lecture on modesty and charity.
    Sister Mary Madeleine, poor thing, never returned. Instead, we got a replacement, a young lady named “Miss Burns”. I fell in love. (I think I was 8 or 9). What a change! Normal lady’s clothes; a kindly manner. A revolution in the making.
    When we were bad, we’d get the “hold out your hand” routine, and out would come the ruler. Some of the nuns would use the edge of the ruler when they whacked your hand, if you had been really “naughty”. Ouch! (We’re talking minimally of bruises, with frequent blood-letting here!) Since then, I have had suspicions about calling them “Sisters of Mercy”.
    There was Sister Mary Josina, who was usually ok, kind of younger. She would sometimes play dodgeball outside with us during the breaks.
    Classmates whom I have not seen in many, many years – there was Joe Zinkovitch, Ned Trombley, Joe Rabatoy, Kay Tunney, Elaine Conway, Vincent Belcastro.
    There was some beautiful little girl in the class who lived just down the street from me, who I was seriously in love with, but so was another guy, who demanded that I box him for the honor of courting her. So I did. He had a boxing ring set up in the attic of his parent’s house, not far away. Beat the hell out of me. I was devastated.
    And now I can’t remember her name. Life is cruel.
    In back of the elementary school was a statue of Mary, remember? On a little pedestal? And sometimes we all would go out and sing songs and say prayers to Mary. One time, in snow, in May.
    Can you tell I’m having fun, remembering all this that I had long forgotten?
    Oh, and I was an altar boy. Actually, I really wanted to be a crossing guard and wear the cool Sam Browne belt. I was a crossing guard for one day. Then they said you can’t be a Guard and an altar boy at the same time; you have to choose.
    What a choice: God or Cop.
    I went with God, turned in my Sam Browne belt, mourned for about a day, went on with life.
    Altar boy duty was sometimes kind of fun – swordfights with the long candle-lighting things before the priests showed up. They always gave you cassocks that were built for boys seventeen feet taller than you were, but you had this string kind of belt so you could gather it all up under the surplice. A little bulge, but whatever…
    For me, the hardest part of being an altar boy was ringing the bell. Being the incense holder guy was hard enough – you would kneel there and choke on the smoke until the priest came to take it and do his thing, but it was fun starting the fire. Oh, and there was changing “The Book”, where you had to know when to move the Holy Book from the left side of the altar to the right, and vice-versa, depending on where you were in the mass and (for me) phases of the moon and tides. It was easier in the Grotto, because everything was smaller, and not so intimidating for a little kid. But, serving High Mass in the Big Place! Man!
    But, as I say, ringing the bell. So here we are at Benediction, and I have been designated as the bell kid, an assignment of authority roughly equivalent to asking a tomato farmer to fly a 747. The priest takes the monstrance – the big, gold, cross-shaped thing with God in the middle – and turns to the congregation, and begins to move it around in the air.
    I knew, from prior observation, that the bell was supposed to ring a few times during this activity, but exactly where and when was something that had eluded me.
    Playing it safe, every time he moved, I rang the bell. Energetically.
    “In Nomine (ting-a-ling) Patris (ting-a-ling) et Filius (ting-a-ling) et Spiritu (ting-a-ling) Sanctus (ting-a-ling) Amen (clang-clang!) with the priest looking over and down at me I’m sure wondering if this little kid was operating on all cylinders. Which I most certainly wasn’t.
    I remember the uniforms. Blue jumpers with white blouses for the girls, because blue and white are the colors of Mary. Why are blue and white the colors of Mary? I have no idea.
    For the boys, khaki. Because khaki is the color of – dirt? That makes more sense, somehow. And white shirts (with chocolate-milk stains), and a blue clip-on necktie with an embroidered VI emblem.
    And up to a certain age, the boys had to wear shorts. You got older, you got the long pants. How was this age determined? Puberty? Got me. All I know is that every kid who had to wear shorts died every day until they got their long pants.
    At some point in this elementary school process, a kid died. One of my classmates. Found hanging by the neck from a tree. We all had to go to the big church for his funeral. We had no understanding of death. All we knew was that everyone looked very sad, so we did, too. What was his name? A nice kid, a quiet kid, I remember that.
    I think later we found out he was murdered somehow, but it was a long time ago.
    That’s bad of me. Someone dies, you should remember their name. I will try.
    The yo-yo guys used to come around to the schoolyard, always a big event. They were always Filipino, and would do amazing things with their yo-yos. It never occurred to us that this was true hard-core merchandising.
    Even better was the game we played with horse chestnuts on a string, whacking the other person’s horse chestnut until it cracked into piece and you won. Unless Sister Mary Something had confiscated your horse chestnut for illicit play. Even then, the world was ripe for Nintendo.
    My best and fondest regards to all of you.

  88. Elissa Lyons Nolan '74 says:

    Finding this website and reading all the posts was quite something. I suddenly found myself transported back in time — engulfed in the memory of sights, sounds, smells and emotions long forgotten. Thanks for the journey! I miss the old place….and you old folks I shared it with. Peace.

  89. bill says:

    In case you guys didn’t know, Fred Turner passed away August 30, 2010. His funeral services were held by Nowlin Anders Funeral home in De Leon, TX.

  90. I am so glad that I bumped into this site.Great Memories.Thanks.I lived on Morris Street at Partridge.I went to V.I. K-Freshman year.Then went to McCloskey.(Class of ’66)
    I still can’t spell.

  91. Harry Patsch says:

    Hi to all. I was looking at my father’s football memorabilia for the first time in, probably 40 years, and found out that my father coached football at V.I. I found a “Blue Banner” from October 16, 1942 with an article about my dad, Harry Patzsch, having been hired (yes, the “z” was later dropped from our name). There is also a photo of him with the team. One notable member of that team was Ernie Stautner, who played in the NFL and was a long-time coach for the Dallas Cowboys under Tom Landry. If anyone is interested in seeing the article and the team photo, they are at, photos 11 and 12. That should be a public link. Unfortunately, I don’t have the copy of the Blue Banner, as I sent it on to my sister, but I did scan the sports page that had the article and photo. I had known my father coached at an Albany High School, but now I finally know it was V.I.! Thanks, Harry

  92. I just watched “Suddenly Last Summer”. The movie based on the Tennessee Williams play.The film was a watered down version of the Broadway presentation.Largely due to the morals of the 1950’s and “The Legion of Decency” headed by The Catholic Church.
    I remember that cardboard sign in the back of “VI” Church.It had different colored construction paper strips with titles written on them for the current movies of the week.White was “Family”.Blue was “Adult”.Orange was “Dangerous” And Red was “Forbidden”. So if you saw “Baby Doll” which had it’s title written on red, it was a Mortal Sin.
    And The Strand Theater downtown has it’s own red strip just for showing the movie.It was a Mortal Sin just to go to the Strand even when they showed “Snow White”.

  93. Harry Patsch says:

    I added more photos to the album, so it should be “the last two” photos (the Blue Banner Sports page).

  94. michael dale says:

    I would have graduated in 1974 but we moved out to latham ny in 1972. I also attended vi ccd.I remember sister mary jerome and had my first slow dance with nancy parsons to “never my love”by the association.Ron Lasek,Neil Mitchell,and Pat Fagan were my friends. Thanks for the memories that i have and will cherish.

  95. Joe Gioco says:

    Just heard some sad news. My childhood friend Kevin Kirby, ’67 passed away on Sunday, October 10th. Rest in peace.

  96. Maureen Dolan Studenka '67 says:

    I stumbled across this website tonight and so totally enjoyed the trip down memory lane. I moved away in 1969 and live in the San Diego area now. I rarely run into any former classmates, but this website brought back a flood of memories. I do hope that our class of 1967 can put together a reunion in 2012.

  97. Howard Davis says:

    I have researched the death of Doreen Gaul a former student of vincentian’s school in Albany.If anyone has any information about her please contact me.Thank you.

  98. Paul Raight says:

    Attended VI for 9th,10th and half of 11th grade starting in 1966. I was glad to transfer out after spending most days being chased by Bro. Reidy trying to cut my hair. Damn, what a zoo.

  99. Lou Leatso, class of 1973 says:

    Wow, I just stumbled upon this doing research on an obit for Brother Alfred Mitchell who taught at VI while I was there. It was great to see so many familiar names and to hear such fond rememberances. Thanks Steve

  100. Tom Cellery says:

    Kind of a surprise finding this web site and actually knowing the person writing it, actually shared many classes with you from Kindergarden thru 12……..this site and the replies brought back a flood of memories……..

  101. Tim says:

    I was born in Albany in 1971 and attended kindergarten at “Vincentian Grammar School” during 1975/1976, but Google searches find nothing about it. I’ve found some on the high school, like this post. Was the grammar/grade school a part of this institution?

  102. Richard (Dick) Hayes '54 says:

    I live in Alexandria, Virginia and was wondering if anyone knew whether the Class of 1954 is going to have a Reunion next year.



  103. Tricia Neill says:

    My father attended the Child Culture Division. He was born in 1928. He said that one of the priests thought the sunshine was good for the students. They wore all white outfits, tops and shorts. It was so bright in the greenhouses that they had to wear sunglasses. His father, my grandfather, was an opthamologist so my father was able to get the darkest sunglasses around.

  104. Michael John Higgins says:

    Dear Sir,
    While this reply is not timely by any means, it is not without meaning that I contact you now. Today, I am writing thank you letters to those who offered condolences regarding my mother’s recent death, Mary E. Duffy VI Class of 57′, I had to confirm the spelling of “Vincentian” and found this link. While my father attended there as well (Robert J. Higgins III, Class of 55′ and Albany city bowling champions with his brother Peter 61’thru 64′), we all heard the stories of their time at VI. My sisters had attended their earl years as well before we moved to the Cleveland, OH area back in 71′. That all said, it was nice to read about some of the history of the place and its eventual decline in the mid seventies. Just a shame. But again, sir, thank you so much for taking the time to post that information as the memory does live on…Mike Higgins, Raleigh, NC.

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