With the help of the internet, David Brand was able to track down nearly all of his classmates from the 1966 graduating class of St. Bernard's Catholic School.
'Of the 46 living, we found 41 of them,' said Brand, who used emails and phone numbers to track down his former peers now living across the country in places like New York, Connecticut, Nevada and Wyoming.
'Thank goodness for the internet. The tough ones, for the most part, are the women, finding them with their new last names.'
A committee of four worked to track down all the graduates, with hopes they would attend the 50-year reunion which was held Saturday, June 11, in Wauwatosa.
'Many of these people I literally have not talked to in 50 years,' said Brand. In one instance, committee members worked to find a student who moved to Wauwatosa from Latvia sometime during grade school. Brand searched for the classmate throughout the state of Wisconsin and then throughout the entire country only to find he'd been living in Franklin and had changed his name.
During the reunion, 35 of the original 50 eighth-grade graduates received a tour of the new and improved school. In 2010, St. Bernard and St. Pius X parishes merged to create a new elementary school, Wauwatosa Catholic, a move approved by Archbishop Jerome Listecki. The school's formation came after a six-month planning initiative. The increasing cost of operation two schools that had a total enrollment of 190 students about six years ago was a driving factor in the merger.
The merger was 'a good thing' for both schools, said Brand, who now lives in Brookfield with his family.
'Both schools had really small classes,' said Brand. 'Merging was the only thing that kept them from closing.'
Wauwatosa Catholic now operates out of the St. Bernard Parish campus, 1500 Wauwatosa Ave., and uses some facilities at St. Pius X Parish for family activities such as skate nights, religious education and athletics. The school provides classes for students in preschool, kindergarten and grades one through eight.
Following the tour, the 1966 graduates held a reunion party at the Chancery on State Street in Wauwatosa. Brand remembers his eighth-grade class as being a close-knit group of students and 'like any Catholic school (they) had a lot of nuns,' he said.
'The internet is a wonderful thing,' Brand said.