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Summer 2004

Summer 2004

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Summer 2004 Vol. 4, No. 2
Fr. Tom 2Ryan, Mayerske Retire 3Plans for New School 4-5Century of Hope 6Alumni Updates 72004 State Champions 8
To celebrate the 100- year anniversary of our beautiful church,Our Lady of Lourdes will hold a parish picnic on Sunday, October 10, 2004.A special liturgy will be held at all Masses throughout the weekend, and then we will gather as a parish family for an “old-fashioned” picnic in Lincoln Park. Plans are being made for family fun, food, and entertainment. Contact the rectory for additional details.
100 Years Strong
New schoolon horizon
Donors provide funds, others tackle plans
 T
he ultimate acts of stew-ardship – the giving of immense time, talent,and treasure – have planted theseeds for a promising future of Catholic education at St. Mary’s-Colgan schools.More than two years ago,anonymous donors approachedFather Tom Stroot about thefuture needs of the parish. Hementioned the need for a new elementary school. After furtherdiscussion, the donors offered toprovide several million dollars tofund the project.But first, Fr. Stroot prayer-fully contemplated whether OurLady of Lourdes could acceptthe gift because of the respon-sibility of such an undertaking, which ultimately would requireall parishioners and parents toagree to maintain these new facilities and renew their com-mitment to spiritual formationthrough Catholic education.“This is a wonderful gift and,at the same time, it is a greatresponsibility,” Fr. Stroot said. After consulting with key lay leaders in the church, the deci-sion was made to move forward.Fr. Stroot, head of the MemorialFund J.B. Towner, and head of the Parish Finance CommitteeRay Ryan started the process.
We will educate allCatholic children
Bolstering Memorial Fund is the next step
I
n 1941, 5-year-old Ray Ryan was oblivious to all aroundhim. He was a happy-go-lucky kindergartener at St. Mary’sGrade School, no different thanany of his classmates. He wouldeventually depart St. Mary’s HighSchool in 1955 with a diplomasignifying he had received aneducation delivered throughCatholic formation.Ryan parlayed his talents andskills into a successful careerpossible only through hard work and enduring faith, attributesthat flowered during his years atSt. Mary’s.So, what’s special aboutRyan’s experience? Well, thingscould have turned out differently had St. Mary’s charged a flattuition instead of accepting only tithes from families struggling to make ends meet yet desirousof a Catholic education for theirchildren.
See 
School 
 , page 5 See 
Educate 
 , page 4
 
2
 T
he past couple of years at St. Mary’s-Colgan schools have been fast pacedand exciting. As alumni, you are a partof who we are, so we want to keep youinformed. This alumni newsletter is justone of several ways you can receive SMCnews. With increased technology youcan keep in touch with our schools viathe Internet, on our Web sites (www.stmaryscolgan.org and www.smcboosters.com), by newspaper (www.morningsun.net), by calling or talking to fellow alumni,or by calling the school or rectory. We alsoenjoy hearing from you. As I have said so often, we are a parishfirst and we happen to have a very impor-tant mission, which is to provide Catholiceducation for children K-12. We are not aprivate school but a parish school. We area stewardship parish and therefore we areable to provide a Catholic education formany children whose parents would not beable to afford the strict tuition of a privateschool. This vision began in the very early daysof our parish (the 20s and 30s) and wasreinforced in 1973 when the MemorialFund was established through the visionof John J. Towner, Fr. Edward Steinberger,pastor, and then Fr. Eugene J. Gerber,diocesan chancellor, with the approval of Bishop David M. Maloney. Without theMemorial Fund we would not have beenable to continue our tradition. It has beena blessing and will continue to serve ourchildren and schools inthe future. Another milestoneoccurred several yearsago when we wereoffered the gift of anew elementary school. The donors appreciatethe history and tradi-tion as well as the impact our schools havehad on children over the years. They have witnessed the faith, commitment, sacrifice,and dedication of our parish family andhave chosen to seriously participate in thismission and vision of our parish by theirfinancial gifts. As plans evolved, the scope of theproject increased. As of March 2004 theproject now includes a new elementary school for preschool thru sixth grade anda second building – a competitive gym-nasium. When these very generous gifts were offered to us, we in parish leadershippositions had to consider whether to acceptthe gift.If we accepted the gift, we were accept-ing the challenge to provide quality educa-tion and formation for many generations tocome. We could have settled for just trying to maintain what we have for as long as wecould. Instead, we took the more challeng-ing road and are recommitting ourselves to work continuously to provide the best edu-cational opportunities for our children. TheCatholic identity of our schools is impor-tant, and we will always stress the spiritualformation and education of our students. We are in the process of conducting a study of our schools with the help of an educational consultant group, MeitlerConsultants Inc. By the first of January weshould have completed the study and willhave formalized a long-range plan for ourschools. The implementation of this plan will enable us to carry out the mission and vision for our schools. As in all long-rangeplans, there will be immediate needs andissues that will be addressed and others that will be addressed over the next few years. There is great excitement in construct-ing new facilities, but we are very consciousthat the people who walk through thedoors are most important. Students, teach-ers, staff, sponsors, coaches, and parentsare what we are all about. We must be con-cerned about the total person – body, mindand soul. God has blessed us generously  with good people down through the years.Many of you are numbered among ourbenefactors. I believe that if we continue toprovide Catholic education for all children,no matter what their parents’ social andfinancial status, the Lord will bless all ourefforts. These newsletters help us keep youinformed. We are excited about what’s hap-pening here and hope that you are excitedfor us. There are many of you who belong to parishes throughout the United States who may have exciting happenings as well. We are happy that your time at St. Mary’smay have added to your commitment toyour own parish now. The old adage is so true: “We cannotkeep to ourselves what has been given tous; we must share and pass it on.” May thespirit of St. Mary’s and the love of Jesuscontinue to enrich your life, the lives of your family, and all others you meet in life’sjourney. Mary, Queen of Peace, intercedefor all of us before your Son, Jesus.
– Fr. Tom Stroot 
Fr. Stroot
We took the more challenging road
 T
he 1922 St. Mary’s School will be featured on theofficial Pittsburg, KansasChristmas ornament for 2004. The ornament will be a whitemist glass ball with blue build-ing and gold writing for print-ing.St. Mary’s Home & School Association will sell the ornament for $8 at various schoolevents this fall. Check the Our Lady of Lourdeschurch bulletin or school notes for more details.Ornaments may also bepurchased through the mailand can be mailed to you foran additional $3 shipping andhandling charge.For more information orto order an ornament, pleasecontact Frances Mitchelson,St. Mary’s Home & School President, 209Elmwood Drive, Pittsburg, KS 66762,(620) 231-3485, or contact her via e-mail(fmitch@sunnetworks.net).
1922 school featured on Christmas ornament
New grade school, PastoralPlan, and study of schoolswill help sharpen our parishfocus for years to come
 Tell us about your formerclassmates and fellow alumni. Letus know about their great achieve-ments or the interesting thingsthey're doing, and we'll considerfeaturing them in a future issue of the alumni newsletter.Send a note with a few detailsand contact information to ChrisFlood (6664 NE Liberty Road, Weir, KS 66781, ctflood@ckt.net).
What are your formerclassmates doing?
 
3
Elementary duties an educational experience
 A
man cannot discover new oceansunless he has the courage to lose sightof the shore. The new ocean began, as thepast school year ushered me into the roleof principal at St. Mary’s Grade School.On the surface it appeared to be anuncomplicated extension of the uniqueeducational route traveled by SMC juniorhigh and high school students. The reality  was that the grade school path is a far moredelicate preparatory venue than previously expected. The care, concern, and coaction thatpervade the relationship between teachersand students are examples of the potentialsynergy in the elementary classroom. Theconstant interaction and energy generatedin the overall school day in the elementary environment is refreshing. In addition, thedelight with which the students greet me isa definite positive shot to a withered ego. Their exuberanceis contagious, whichmeans our teachersmust constantly chan-nel this fervor towardlearning experiences.My visits to the class-room convinced methat our collective edu-cational goals are being addressed.It has been an enriching experience forme, and I hope the quality of educationin the grade school has continued to rise.None of the transition would have beenpossible without the excellent coopera-tion of Mrs. Nancy Hicks. Mrs. Hicks wasinvaluable in keeping me apprised of theelementary needs and kept me informed of potential problem areas. Her cognizance of elementary teacher needs has been invalu-able in the planning for the new building.It is obvious why Jesus’ relationship with children was unqualified. He identifiedhimself more closely with children than any other group. In fact, He says if you want tohave a hope of getting to heaven, you mustbe like children. It is for that reason thatgrade school Masses are so invigorating anduplifting. The children love ritual, repeti-tion, redundancy, and like to sing.So it is plausible that at the liturgieschildren have a Christological weight. Where the children are, Jesus is. That wouldseem to indicate that at the liturgy chil-dren are a distinct presence of Jesus in theassemblage. If you haven’t tried attending one of the weekday Masses for the elemen-tary, please consider it. The rest of the day goes much more productively.
– Principal Pat Forbes 
Pat Forbes
 A
s I write this article during thesummer from my home, it doesnot yet seem as though I am retired.It will most likely not “sink in” until August when school resumes and Iam still at home. The decision to retire from teach-ing was a difficult one, but to leaveSMC was absolutely gut wrenching. While it is true I will not necessarily miss grading essays, book reports,and research papers, I will miss theclassroom tremendously. However, Ileave SMC with 33 years of awesomememories that will sustain my heartfor years to come. It has been the greatest honor and pleasure of my life to be a part of this family.Looking back, there is no doubt in my mind that God put meon this earth to teach. More importantly, though, He brought meto St. Mary’s to help me. There are no words eloquent enough toexpress how fortunate I was to connect with this school and parish. The blessings of faith, friendship, love, compassion, and couragehave filled my life. I cannot imagine there is any other school any- where on this earth that would have afforded me the life-changing experiences that I have had at SMC. To sum up my career dating back to 1971, I have had the plea-sure of working with four decades of students, parents, teachers,and administrators. During all of these years the basic philosophy of the school was to build good Christians. This is at the heart of all we do. I have held on to the belief that “people don’t change— the times change.” We have been very fortunate at SMC to accomplish so many feats on the athletic playing fields and in debate, forensics, anddrama. But, to me, this is not our tradition—it is not what we
must
follow and meet. The tradition of SMC is the spirituality. Itis teaching the gospel values and building good Christians basedon those values. It is students, parents, teachers, and administra-tors working together to live as good Christians and to develop ouryoung people into good Christians. This is the true tradition of SMC that allows the achievements to spew forth. This should beour legacy. This is also the tradition that sets our school apart from others. As we continue our journey into the Century of Hope, we will befaced with some difficult challenges—financial, educational, physi-cal, and spiritual. However, as we continue this journey, it is thesegospel values that will propel us forward with strength to meet thechallenges.
– Maggie Ryan
Ryan: ‘The tradition of SMC is the spirituality’
I
came to St. Mary’s-Colgan in August 1991 to fill a position thathad been held by Marcel Normand, some very big shoes to fill.Both of our sons, Mark and Matt, had graduated from Colgan, andour daughter, Michelle, was a junior. We were well aware of the quality of education and dedicationof the staff at SMC. It was a joy to teach in an atmosphere whereyou could practice your vocation and also fulfill your mission toteach and pursue the ideals of our Roman Catholic faith.I had begun my teaching career as a sixth-grade teacher in aCatholic elementary school in South Bend, Indiana, and had taught13 years at Columbus High School. Returning to Catholic educa-tion for 13 years at SMC was truly a privilege.I taught the social sciences: American and world history, sociol-ogy, psychology, and life skills. I have been National Honor Society 
Kaylene Mayerske and Maggie Ryan 
Mayerske carries fondmemories into retirement
See 
Mayerske 
 , page 8 

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