It’s gonna be a ‘Sacred’ reunion

January 10, 2012

HOUSTON — The doors may have closed more than 40 years, but Sacred Heart School in Houston is still revered by the many alumni who consider the institution an integral part of their lives.

“Sacred Heart instilled in me the values that have carried me through life,” said Luanne Spedale Jankowski, who attended Sacred Heart from 1956 to 1964. “I also formed lifelong friendships that continue to this day as well. Sacred Heart was like a family to me. The priests and nuns [associated with the school] were all so inspiring.”

To celebrate that lasting sense of community, alumni and teachers of Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral School are holding a reunion Jan. 29. All classes are invited to attend, and alumni are also encouraged to invite their parents as guests. 

The reunion celebration begins with Mass at Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, 1111 Saint Joseph Parkway, Houston, at 11 a.m. The main celebrant will be Archbishop Emeritus Joseph A. Fiorenza, a one-time assistant pastor of the Co-Cathedral when the school was still open. 

After Mass and weather permitting, there will be photo opportunities in front of the old school building (adjacent to the original Co-Cathedral), where class pictures were normally taken. A catered luncheon will follow at Cathedral Centre. 

“It will be a wonderful experience to reunite with old friends and share the good memories of those formative years,” said Darlene Palermo Dichero, a student at Sacred Heart from 1962 to 1966. Dichero and Jankowski are both members of the reunion committee.

Sacred Heart School opened in 1897, and was staffed by the Dominican Sisters from the very beginning. After 70 years of service, the school closed in May 1967 because of declining enrollment and increased costs of operation.

The recollections and deep gratitude from former students inspired organizers to begin work on the upcoming reunion. Sacred Heart students have reconnected with friends from yesteryear through social network websites like Facebook.

“Since it was such a small school, we are including all classes,” Dichero said of the reunion. “Many people have learned about it from word of mouth, and I get new inquiries weekly. We are also inviting parents of alumni [to the reunion] because there was a strong Mothers’ Club at Sacred Heart.”

Dichero said participants who have made plans to attend are looking forward to reuniting with former classmates beyond the virtual realms. 

“Because the school was so small – six rooms for eight grades – when I was attending, everyone was really close,” Dichero said. “Since the school was located downtown, we had students from many diverse cultures.”
Besides being a great opportunity to catch up with old friends, Dichero added that the reunion will give former students a chance to thank teachers for the education.

“I had a really good foundation [in education at Sacred Heart] which carried me through high school,” Dichero said. “I especially attribute my good grammar and spelling to my teachers at Sacred Heart.”

On Facebook group page, she said alumni continue to share their favorite memories — from recollections of daily Mass to those “awful gym suits.” No matter the background, all of the alumni are bound by their experiences at Sacred Heart.

“The high morals, integrity and Christian values were learned at Sacred Heart, in addition to my family’s influence,” Dichero said.

For more information about the reunion, contact Luanne Spedale Jankowski at 832-444-4738, or Darlene Palermo Dichero at, include “SHS Reunion” in the subject line. †