Published August 8, 2019
ATLANTA—In June, D’Youville Academy’s last graduating class—the class of 1969—came back to Atlanta to mark the passage of 50 years. Twenty-two of the 30 graduates attended the reunion, from as far away as Colorado, California and England.
“It was a wonderful turnout,” said Joan Stafford Betts, one of the event’s organizers. “It meant so much to us to be together again.”
D’Youville Academy was a small, all-girl Catholic high school that existed for nine years. The school’s founders were members of the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart. The 25-acre property on Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, formerly known as Flowerland, became home to two condominium complexes and the historic mansion was preserved.
They remembered being part of the outdoor Living Rosary organized by the sisters, each girl a prayer. They remembered the Advent wreath ceremony, Ring Prom and Class Day. They recalled Glee Club, Drama Club, science fairs and cheerleading for Marist High School, an all-male institution at the time.
Several of the returning members of the class of 1969 said they felt fortunate to have transitioned from girlhood to young womanhood in such a beautiful setting and in an environment designed to nurture their growth.
“I had never been around nuns so I was on high alert when Sister Mary Charlotte, Sister Vincent de Paul and Sister Mary Timothy were close by,” Lorinda Cordeiro Fournier said. “I had a terrible time with math and physics and Sister Rosalie gave a lot of time helping me.”
May Kennedy recalls panicking in the face of complex algebra equations “until Sister Mary of Grace said, ‘Of course you can do it. Just take care of what’s in the parentheses first.’ I wanted to please her, so I tried it and it worked.”
Elena deGive Allison also credits the sisters with providing her with a strong spiritual foundation. “Later on in life, when challenges became more complex, I fell back on my Catholic roots. I better understood what it meant to really trust God and hold on to my spiritual values.”
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