Local News

July 25, 2012

Down by the schoolyard

Class of '54 recalls high times at St. Mary's Academy

PLATTSBURGH — Beatrice Walsh Donoghue Boyce’s school spirit rages strong for the Class of 1954 at St. Mary’s Academy in Champlain.

Every year, she rouses her classmates to attend a reunion, most recently at the Butcher Block in Plattsburgh.

“My mother and her twin sister (Beatrice and Bernice Scollin of Saranac Lake, respectfully) graduated in the first class at St. Mary’s,” said Boyce, who divides her time between Tavares, Fla., and Watertown.

“I was in the seventh grade when I came to school here.”

Home was the Bronx.

“When I came here, I had an accent. They made so much fun of me. I had to take diction lessons to get rid of it. I don’t have it anymore. My sister, Bernice, came with me. She was three and half years younger than I. We went home for the holidays,” Boyce said.

The Walsh side of her family had a camp and summered in Saranac Lake. 

“I thought it was the best education you could have. I was so pleased when my parents said, ‘Would you want to go to boarding school?’ My saddest part was as a boarder I couldn’t be a cheerleader. I was a drum majorette. They got a uniform from Newport. I got to be in the play contest and speech contest,” Boyce said.

She worked in Saranac Lake before training as a nurse at Mercy Hospital in Watertown. She retired as a psychiatric nurse in 1996. Her late husband, Jack, died in 2000.

“I have eight children,” Boyce said. “When the triplets were 9, I went back to nursing.”


Cecile Fecteau Filion was a cheerleader and class valedictorian. Born in Canada, her parents moved to Champlain on her sixth birthday.

“I had two sisters and a brother, who also attended St. Mary’s from first grade,” Filion said. “It was just wonderful. The sisters were so very thoughtful and caring.”

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