La Reina class of ’84: Life-long bonds support a classmate

Ideas, like friendship, faith and goodness are hard to explain. How does one do justice to them?

Sometimes a single story can do it best. The La Reina High School Class of 1984 and what they are doing for their classmate, Barbie Kilbourne Larson, is just such a story. As Stephanie Saunders Halverson, who has spearheaded the class’ outreach to Barbie says, “Barbie's story is heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time, and totally covered in God's mercy and grace.”

Barbie is facing her third bout of cancer in five years. After her first round of chemo, Stephanie had a meal sent from a local restaurant and called Barbie that night to see how she was doing. Stephanie noticed that Barbie laughed a lot when the two reminisced about their high school years at La Reina. When their conversation ended, Barbie said, “Thanks for the therapy.”

Then Stephanie came up with the idea of “The La Reina Girls’ Dinner Club.” In Stephanie’s words to her classmates: “What I am wondering is if we could create a ‘La Reina Girls’ Dinner Club’ for Barbie: providing dinner and a story. Each one of us could take a different week. As far as the meals, you could donate directly to Talbert Foundation on Barbie's page or you could send a little care package (always fun to open treats) with a gift card for takeout.

“It doesn’t have to be a lot, just symbolic of our love for her, telling her, ‘We are with you in this.’ You can put a short note in the mail to her reminiscing about La Reina days to put a smile on her face…. So if you are in and would like to love on Barbie and her family, please sign up for a week.”

Thus began an outpouring of love and care packages and La Reina stories from all over the country — and as word spread, more classmates signed up. More than half of her classmates have responded with some sort of outreach.

In the words of Erin Carraway: “This really is a breathtaking example of the bond we all developed more than 30 years ago.”

Or in the words of Susan Sunde Laschi: “Look at us, still bonded by La Reina. I wouldn't trade our time there together for anything. Both of my daughters go to La Reina and I can only hope that 30 years after they leave, they'll still have LR ‘sisters’ like I have with all of you.”

So this is what it means to be a La Reina alumna: It means you will never walk alone; you will be “loved on” and cared about forever, and that the values of compassion and kindness and service to others endure.

Betsy Potts is director of Alumnae Relations at La Reina High School, Thousand Oaks.



Voices

Appreciating the gift of memory

Anne Hansen

Why do we hold on to so many things in closets, garages and storage units? What is it about the birth announcement of an adult child or the high school diploma of an elderly grandparent that keeps these objects carefully saved rather than discarded? They are of no use to anyone and take up space. Yet they are precious and difficult to part with.

 

 

The Holy Father visits the Holy Land

Events

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January 25, 2015

  • Saturday, January 24

    Building Bridges through Intercultural Competency: A Symposium on the Future of Education and Ministry in the Church, 8:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Loyola Marymount University, 1 LMU Drive, Los Angeles. Archbishop José H. Gomez of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles will deliver a keynote address, which will be followed by two panel discussions on issues of intercultural competency and diversity featuring experts and practitioners working in Catholic education and other ministries in Southern California and across the United States. For more information, please contact the LMU School of Education Office of the Dean at (310) 258-8768.

    Life in the Spirit Seminar, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (Registration 8:30 a.m.), Incarnation School Auditorium, 1001, N Brand Blvd., Glendale. Led by Fr. Bill Adams C.S.s.R. (818) 421-1354.

    Journey Through Grief, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Mary & Joseph Retreat Center, 5300 Crest Rd, Rancho Palos Verdes. (310) 377-4867.

    “One Life, One Light” Requiem for the Unborn, 6 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 West Temple Street, Los Angeles.

  • Sunday, January 25

    44th Annual Whale Fiesta, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, 3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro. Free. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium celebrates marine mammals and the beginning of the migration of the Pacific gray whales along Southern California. Activities include building a life-sized whale out of sand, “Great Duct Tape Whale Contest” and “Whale Dynamics,” where participants will be transformed into a single “living whale.” (310) 548-7562.

    “Sisters of Selma: Bearing Witness for Change” with director Jayasri Majumdar Hart, 3-5 p.m., St. Bernadette Parish, 3825 Don Felipe Dr., Los Angeles. A discussion with Ms. Hart will follow the screening.  Free.

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