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Summer 2001

Summer 2001

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Summer 2001Vol. 1, No. 2
Fr. Tom2Schools3Panther Past6-7Calendar8
Sisters fill large role in tradition
T
here is no question the sisters whoserved St. Mary’s and Colganschools through the years left anindelible mark on the students whoselives they touched. It shows through vari-ous letters and phone calls from former students, through the monetarydonations that pour in on their feastday, and simply through the memo-ries that we have of these womenwho have devoted their lives toGod and their time to us.But the sisters did more than just teach a classroom subject.They took interest in their students’lives beyond school.One special tradition that has been a constant practice throughoutthe years at Colgan, perhaps the tra-dition that most of us think of firstwhen we think of tradition atColgan, is singing “GoodnightIrene” to the nuns after a victoriousfootball game.Most of us remember gatheringaround the front door of the con-vent, seniors first, and so on, armslocked, swaying as we sang oneverse and the refrain of the popular song of the 1930s, “Goodnight Irene.”Although this has been standard rou-tine after a victorious football game sincethe early 1940s, few of us know why,how, or when this tradition got started.Various versions of the story exist, includ-ing one from Betty (Clements) Dellasega(’41) who remembers herself and a coupleof other girls parking on Ninth Street after  basketball games and quietly singing“Goodnight Irene” to Sister Linus whowould raise her window just enough tohear them sing.Another alumnus, Mary Colleen(Ahrens) Jones (’51), remembers the storya little differently, according to an article by Lisa (Dellasega) Russell (’82), com-
'Goodnight Irene’createdspecial bond with students
Sisters gathering around books in a classroom was a commonsight through the years at St Mary’s-Colgan.
Remember the Sisters
Dozens of Sisters of St.Joseph havehelped shapeour parish and schools. We areforever grateful.See pages 4-5.
D
efined roughly, tradition to me wouldmean the practices established in the pastthat are continued in the present linking past, present and future groups of people withshared rituals and common routines.Tradition involves respecting those whohave gone ahead of us by continuing toobserve the standards and patterns that they setinto motion. The concept of tradition is centralto the atmosphere of Colgan High School.Obvious traditions stick out in my mindsuch as football Masses, singing to the Sistersof St. Joseph following a victory, and the pres-tigious “Senior Hall,” the stomping ground for many seniors who have gone on to better andmore comfortable surroundings.I suggest also that the concept of seniority
seniors sitting in front at Mass, jumping tothe front of any line, and the privilege of serv-ing as captains and leaders both athleticallyand academically
is also a tradition and
Time-honored practices alive today
See
Today 
, page 7
!
See
Tradition
, page 3
!
 
2
St.Mary’s-Colgan Alumni 
Editors and Writers
Chris (Wilbert) FloodAudrey (VanBecelaere) DickeyTom Farmer 
Special Contributors
Fr. Tom StrootPat ForbesFrancis SmithWayne CichonBarbara BatemanChristie GillJohn MitchelsonChristi Garrison
Graphics
Todd McGeorge
Printing
Tim Collar 
© 2001 St. Mary’s-Colgan, 212 E. Ninth St.,Pittsburg, KS 66762
G
reetings! This past week I hadthe pleasure of spending timewith the Class of ’51. They werecelebrating a milestone in their lives – 50 years ago they graduated from St.Mary’s High School.I loved the stories and the “brag-ging.” I loved to hear of their fond mem-ories and even the painful ones. Theycame from California and Florida andfrom all parts in between.When they took a tour of our cam- pus, they were very impressed with the progress that has been made. I couldn’thelp but think how important these peo- ple were in establishing and handing onthe tradition, faith, and unity we so verymuch enjoy today at St. Mary’s ColganSchools.I only feel sad when I wonder whether our present student body canappreciate the history and tradition theyhave been given and the sacrifices thathave been made and are continuing to bemade for our schools. I trust they will,when out of school a few years, look  back and understand and appreciate whatwas given and entrusted to them.I remember 1951 as the year of theflood. I was also going into the thirdgrade that next year. In May of 1951, Fr.Emil Kapaun, Army Chaplain and priestof our diocese from Pilsen, KS, died in a North Korean Prisoner of War Camp.Originally,the all-boysCatholic HighSchool on theeast side of Wichita wasnamed in hishonor – KapaunHigh School.Later in 1972,when the all-girlsschool (Mt. Carmel High School) on theeast side and Kapuan merged, they wererenamed Kapaun-Mt. Carmel HighSchool.The parish in Pilsen had a beautifulMass and ceremony this past month tounveil and dedicate a statute of Fr.Kapuan helping a wounded soldier. TheMilitary Ordinariate (Bishop of theArmed Forces) from New York was inattendance as well as some of Fr.Kapuan’s fellow prisoners, Korean War veterans, present Army Chaplains, Armyofficers, family, and people from hishometown and across the diocese.The Military Ordinariate is promot-ing Fr. Kapaun’s cause for canonization.Pray for that cause. He was a remarkableman, well liked and respected byCatholic soldiers and soldiers of allfaiths and even nonbelievers. He wastruly a witness of Christ.I share this with you because the priests and sisters have been significantin bringing to the present the CatholicSchool system we have in the diocese of Wichita. In our parish and school wecannot underestimate the tremendousinfluence of the Sisters of St. Joseph,whom we are recognizing in this issue.They have over the years served inall four of the Catholic high schools inthe Wichita Diocese – Bishop Carroll(Wichita), Kapaun-Mt. Carmel(Wichita), Trinity (Hutchinson), and St.Mary’s Colgan.In the early days, we at St. Mary’shad sisters for a majority of our faculty.With the conclusion of this past schoolyear we lost our last full-time sister, Sr.Patrice who is retiring. This marks theend of an era but a gift of service thatwon’t be forgotten.Obviously, many of the sisters haveleft their mark on our schools and stu-dents. We are grateful for their serviceand dedication. They too have con-tributed to the FAITH, TRADITION,and UNITYwe enjoy today. May theLord bless those who have served in our schools, and may the Lord grant eternal peace to those who have completed their earthly journey.
Fr. Tom Stroot 
Fr. Tom Stroot
Every class has done its part at SMC
Tom Murry
(’70) was recentlyelected President of the KansasAssociation of Insurance Agents. Tomand his wife Kim have two children andreside in El Dorado. Tom sends histhanks to Pat Forbes, Frank Crespino,and Colgan and says, “I put my life onthe right track in 1968.”
***Randy
(’83) and
Wendi
(
Wilbert
)(’85)
Piccini
have announced the birthof their fourth child, Aubri LorenePiccini, September 11, 2000. Theyrecently moved back to Pittsburg whereRandy is the controller at Pitt Plastics.
***Tony Dellasega
(’86) has beennamed an assistant vice president atCommunity National Bank in Pittsburg.Dellasega graduated from PSU in 1990with a BBAin accounting and earned anMBAfrom the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1991. Prior to joiningCNB, Tony worked for eight years atPSU’s Business and TechnologyInstitute. Tony and his wife, Susan, havethree children, A.J., Erin, and Jacob,and reside in Pittsburg.
***DJ DeRuy
(’95) graduated fromMissouri Southern State College inDecember of 1999 with a BS inBusiness Management and is employedwith AG Edwards in Kansas City, KS.
***
Your class would like to hear aboutyou. Submit your information via e-mailat dsmith@stmarys-colgan.org or regu-lar mail, St. Mary’s-Colgan, 212 E. NinthSt., Pittsburg, KS 66762.
 
3
T
he Sisters of St. Joseph have been avital ingredient in the history and suc-cesses of St. Mary's Colgan schools. Their example, admonitions, and countless voicesof encouragement have guided a multitudeof students to a greater appreciation of their faith and themselves.Several sisters come to mind as anexample of the power and quality of theorder itself. Sister Quinten Ryan was a sci-ence teacher without equal, while still guid-ing youth on the correct social paths. Sister Cecilia Bush guided a generation of stu-dents to a loftier level intellectually andspiritually than they believed possible.Sister Mary Patrick was friend, mentor,teacher, and spiritual advisor to all sheencountered.Sister Patrice Joyce leaves teaching thisyear and those left behind are loathe to seethe gentleness, compassion, and academicexcellence she generated exit our halls.These few sisters are but a sampling of those who toiled lovingly in the elementaryand high school until the present day. Theloss of their presence is a challenge to thelay teachers who will have to exhibit char-acteristics similar to those of our sisters. St.Joseph sisters have guided the fortunes of Catholic education in the Diocese of Wichita, and particularly Pittsburg, for gen-erations and have handed down a rich edu-cational tradition for all teachers and par-ents to follow.We pray our schools will continue tomodel the virtues nurtured here by theSisters of St. Joseph.
 Pat Forbes
Lay teachers must take the lead
W
e have just completed thesecond full year in our new junior high facilities. Thanks to allof our benefactors, the junior highis a wonderful addition to our  parish schools. Anyone who hasnot had a chance to visit our newaddition, please do so. We are so blessed to have such wonderfulschools.Our staff this year includesDebbie Butler, Bev Pommier, SueSayler, Nate Clevenger, MikeWatt, Tama Dutton, KathyOplotnik, and myself.This year’s students continueto excel in both academics andactivities.As of this year, we have rec-ognized 16 students as recipientsof the Monsignor Leon McNeilaward, which is given to eighthgraders who have achieved a scoreof at least the 96th percentile onthe Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Thisyear’s winners were Chelsea Cole,Katie McClaskey, Jenni Noyes,and Matthew Wishall.Our seventh grade boys werechampions in boys basketball inthe CCC League and post seasontournament, while the eighth gradetook third place in the league andthe eighth grade girls basketballteam finished second in league.Our football team finishedsecond in the league, and our eighth grade volleyball team fin-ished second.This is the third year of including the seventh and eighthgrade in the high school building,which now houses Grades 7-12 asopposed to just 9-12 in the past.We look forward to another great school year.
Wayne Cichon
O
ne must look back in time at St. Mary'sand realize the amazing commitmentthat the Sisters of St. Joseph gave to the stu-dents on a daily basis. Their determinationand passion for teaching ran through their veins. They lived, breathed, and loved their gift of teaching.When we were younger, we didn't real-ize how much the sisters were giving us andhow they would touch our lives. As adultswe now realize the larger gifts given to us:faith in God and a commitment to others.They not only were able to give the giftof education, but also the gift of hope to thestudents. As sisters, they should feel proudof their profession and the impact that theyhad on the lives of their students.You were needed then, sisters, and youare needed now. Thank you for striving tomake us the best no matter what hurdlesyou may have had to face at the time. MayGod continue his many blessings upon you.
Francis Smith
Sisters deliver gifts of education, hope
Junior highstudents excelin their newsurroundings
 pleted in 1985 for a college class.Sister Eva, who taught English and reli-gion, was well liked by the students. Shewas very interested in how they did in their sporting events, but because the sisters werenot allowed to go out after a certain time atnight, they were not able to attend the ball-games. Therefore, a few boys (Frank Crespino being one of them) found a way tocommunicate the outcome of the ballgameto her and the rest of the sisters.They came up with a song that they allknew and could sing, and they ran over tothe convent lawn and sang the words to“Goodnight Irene.”Whatever the version, the fact remainsthat this has been one long and outstandingtradition, and it is another reminder that our sisters reach beyond the classroom to makethemselves a part of our community. Their influence in and out of school has, withoutquestion, touched us in many ways.
 Audrey (VanBecelaere) Dickey, (’82)
(Continued from page 1)
Tradition
Whatever the version, the fact remains that this has been one long and outstanding tradition . . .

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