50 years after graduating, Immaculate Heart of Mary students together again
The Journal News; May 27, 2007; By LEN MANIACE (lmaniace@lohud.com)
SCARSDALE - For the former students of Immaculate Heart of Mary School, five decades dissolved within minutes of entering the elementary school auditorium for a reunion marking the 50th anniversary of their graduation.

Dorothy Mahaffey Schoeler, known by classmates as Dossie, admitted to some difficulty recognizing the faces of classmates, but that didn't last long.

"Once you heard their names, then you could see their old faces," said the 63-year-old, who made the trip from Naples, Fla., where she and her husband recently moved from New Canaan, Conn.

Those fresh faces that seemed so elusive were featured on the cover of the 50th anniversary directory, a group picture of the class's 73 students on their graduation day.

That photo, which did not bear any of the names, was the only thing Roger Forasté had to go on when he got the idea of the reunion some two years ago.

So Forasté, who lives in Hingham, Mass., outside Boston, contacted the only classmate he could locate, Raymond Burke Jr., a New York City attorney. Burke, in turn, knew Mahaffey, who proved to be a key to hunting down the classmates.

"Dossie is a pack rat," Foraste said.

Mahaffey had saved an old article in the Scarsdale Inquirer that listed the graduates' names under the photo, and she had a copy of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Herald, a typed, hand-drawn and mimeographed document that served as the class's graduation yearbook.

Mahaffey also knew four female graduates, each of whom knew other graduates.

Then Forasté and several volunteers set out to track down the rest of the class of 1957, turning, where else, but to the Internet.

"There is no way we could have done this without the Internet," said Forasté. Nor could it have been done, he said, if he had not retired from his career in sales for Xerox Corp.

Forasté and his volunteers were able to find 53 students living in 17 states. They also learned that 11 had died.

"When I started calling people up," Forasté said, "after I said my name I got that pregnant pause, and then they would say, 'Your name sounds familiar,' and I would say, 'It's only been 50 years.' "

One person who remembered Forasté's name immediately was Steve Springer, who held a party at his East 57th Street home Friday night for the graduates. Springer, a 63-year-old money manager, said he was eager to see his classmates, including many who went on to successful careers.

"We were kind of a homogenous group, given the nature of the school, and I wanted to see what directions people went in," Springer said.