ELIZABETH, NJ - This Sunday will see a fitting sendoff to an institution that has been a cornerstone in the Elmora section of Elizabeth for 94 years. St Genevieve School was closed in the latest closings of schools by the Archdiocese of Newark. Founded in 1926 as a parish school to the newest religious addition in Elmora, St Genevieve Church (1921), the school has educated thousands since its opening.
The Class of 2020 was the last for the St Genevieve Jaguars. While the class did not have all the pomp and circumstance that goes with a normal graduation, a few of the alumni could not let the school slip into the history books without one last hurrah.
About one month ago, Erin Kelly-McGunness, Class of 1992, started a Green and White Ribbon Campaign that has seen alumni and parishioners “buy” a remembrance ribbon to be hung on the wrought iron fence that surrounds the parish property. Over 750 ribbons have the name and date of graduation of past and present graduates of the school. From the first graduation class to the class of 2020, these satin remembrances adorn the church property.
Erin and Laura Del Ray Schwartz, Class of 1985, needed an event to culminate their efforts. They formulated an event that would feature graduates driving in decorated vehicles around the school block, while an assembly of teachers, staff, and former teachers receive the praises and adoration of an appreciative motorcade.
The “Drive By – Goodbye” is the final sendoff for the school after nine plus decades. After the cars pass by the school a few times, the participants are invited to the grounds to find their ribbon or one of their parents or other family members that might have graced these hallowed halls long ago.
The cars will assemble on Lehigh Avenue and Galloping Hill Road in Union from 1:15-1:45 p.m. The motorcade will then pass down Park Avenue to the parish for a few loops around the school and church.
The ribbons were accompanied by a donation to the campaign. Those 750 ribbons raised over $5,000 that will be given to the parish as a way of remembering the school in a great way.
Sunday’s event will be filled with sadness and joy. It is sad that the school bell will not ring in September. The assembly of former students and parishioners though, will revel in the memories that have come from Princeton Road for so many years. Sunday will see an outpouring of love and admiration for an era of blackboards, recess, and school bells that helped shape their lives.