Each generation of the Sellers family has a tie to St. Thomas Aquinas School.

 

Steve Sellers graduated from there in 1955. His daughter, Sandy Stansbury, graduated from there in 1978. And Sandy’s daughter, Courtney, a second-grader at St. Thomas, will earn her alum status in 2003.

 

The Sellers family and many more gathered recently to visit former classmates and teachers during a celebration of the school’s 50th year anniversary that included class socials, a family picnic, a children’s anniversary Mass, and a "prom."

 

Much has changed since the St. Thomas Aquinas doors opened in the fall of 1947 with about 100 students in four classrooms. About 560 students now attend the school, which has grown to include a more classrooms, an auditorium, a cafeteria, an early childhood development center and a new playing field. There’s more to come, with a new gymnasium scheduled to open in next spring.

 

The school also has a recent honor to celebrate: For the first time, the  U.S. Department of Education recognized the school with a "Blue Ribbon School of Excellence" award for the 1996-97 school year.

 

Event coordinator Carolyn Collette Cochran says one reunion highlight was a performance by the fourth-grade students that took attendees on a musical trip through each decade of the graduating classes. Also popular was a video of an eighth-grade dance enjoyed by the Class of ’64. 

 

But the fellowship of visiting old friends and teachers was the main attraction, says Cochran, 1965 graduate whose daughter is a student at St. Thomas.

 

"There was just so much warmth, and so much smiling," Cochran says. "It just amazed me."