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Bishop Byrne alumni planning for reunion

More than 30 years have passed since Bishop Byrne Catholic High School closed it doors, but graduates of the school are keeping its memory alive.

About 20 members of the Bishop Byrne Alumni Association gathered at the Effie and Wilton Hebert Public Library in Port Neches on Wednesday to prepare letters to send out to alumni with information about the upcoming all-class reunion set for 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, March 25 at the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center.

Alumni association president Pat Holmes, class of 1963, is looking forward to seeing classmates and fellow alumni, saying that attendees get to see those who were there before and after their graduating classes.

“Everybody has such a good time,” Holmes said. “It was such a small school. We were just like family.”

Diana Junot Rafdal, class of 1982, agreed.

“We were like a spiritual family. God was first, but we were all family. We didn’t have animosity or bullying like you hear of now. Everyone was on the same level and got along.”

Rafdal said there were two main hallways, one for freshmen and sophomores and one for juniors and seniors. Her siblings attended Bishop Byrne and her parents attended St. Mary High School campus, which later joined with St. James High School to create Bishop Byrne. She considers herself fortunate to have been taught by nuns and priests

“The Catholic faith was instilled in me and it’s a feeling like no other,” she said. “There’s nothing like Bishop Byrne.”

Paula Carruth Rollinson, class of 1967, was busy stuffing envelopes as she noted three people seated across the room. The three were a bit older than her and she remembers looking up to them in high school.

Marie Funicelli Moran, class of 1960, said she has many fond memories of Bishop Byrne school.

“I had the best time in the Colleens,” Moran said of the school’s drum and bugle corps.

Bishop Byrne High School was named after Bishop Christopher E. Byrne. Once of his last acts in Southeast Texas was to establish one high school in Port Arthur, named in his honor. Initially operated on separate campuses at St. Mary and St. James, the first graduating class of Bishop Byrne was in 1949, according to information from the alumni page.

Bishop Byrne High School was located at Ninth Avenue near Texas 73. The school closed due to low enrollment and funds and the last graduating class was in 1983.

The facility was later bought and was most recently used as an outpatient center for Christus Southeast Texas.

Persons wanting more information on the upcoming reunion who are not on the mail/email list can contact Lyn Breaux at Jim_Lyn_Breaux@att.net for more information.