A few years ago, I entered Essex Catholic’s halls at 300 Broadway
for the first time. The school had already established itself and was well on the way to becoming the largest boys high school in the East. I had been in the service and in business for a few years
and so I brought some tools with me to serve this fast growing and diverse school. My first day was a nerve
wracking experience of three Accounting classes (35 in each class) and two General Business classes (45 students in each class). One of my Sophomores was a young man who would star for Essex and
later become a great linebacker with Notre Dame. One of my Freshman would become the first man to throw a javelin 300 feet and one of my average students would become a top Accounting Executive with
ABC. The year was 1963 and Essex Catholic was growing in leaps and bounds. By the way, our second child was born on a Sunday morning the following month. I was called away from a Father &
Sons Communion breakfast as Bobby Thompson was explaining how his “shot heard around the world” gave him notoriety but his
education gave him the ability to earn a living. The family would grow to six
in the next few years. Essex Catholic would grow to 26 – hundred that is, and
it’s achievements and successes in academics and athletics were unparalleled
through the decade.
The Seventies brought change for all of us. The city of Newark went through dramatic turmoil and would take years to recover. Essex Catholic had reached its peak and slowly would diminish to an urban school of 500. Tuitions had steadily risen and while our champions in basketball and track maintained our traditions, the writing was on the big empty walls of 300 Broadway. Oh, our children were now teenagers. Two of them Essex Men and I was trying to teach a new subject called Computers.
That writing on the wall turned out to be a road map west to East Orange and 135 Glenwood Ave. A move that proved at least for us, a rejuvenation. Our enrollment once again got a boost with the influx of suburban kids and a general upbeat feeling for students, parents and staff. Middle States Accreditation had become a dreaded anticipation but we came through with flying colors and the student body continued to be a source of pride and accomplishment, Suddenly it’s 1990, our children have all graduated from college. How did all that time go so fast ?
The nineties would see our school go through some of its most difficult struggles but a small core of dedicated staff, parents, students and alumni have carried the tradition and purpose of Essex Catholic into today’s Bishop Francis Essex Catholic High School.
By the way, our youngest just turned 30 and my granddaughter wants to use the computer.
Don Sullivan (dated 1999)
Where Are They Now?
As we all remember, the friendships we built at Essex Catholic provided a sense of brotherhood for many of us. Outside of school, we all had our childhood friends; but, these Essex friendship will never be forgotten. For all of us, life took us in different directions and sometimes away from our original paths (even away from New Jersey). In this new section: Where Are They Now? we hope to provide a glimpse of where many of our brothers went and what they are doing with their lives after Essex Catholic.
Hope you enjoy the new section and pleae let us know if there are any of our Brothers who you wish to recognize. Please do not hesitate to write a note in the Contact Us section of this website.