To commemorate St. Edward Central Catholic High School's 75th anniversary, a celebration was held over the weekend at Moretti's Ristorante and Pizzeria in Bartlett.
A number of alumni in addition to past and current teachers and parents were on hand to honor the private school in Elgin.
As part of the festivities, Mass was held at St. Laurence Catholic Church in Elgin, and an open house and tours took place at the school.
Ann Warner, a class of 1970 graduate and a chairwoman for the celebration, said recognizing the milestone means a lot to the St. Edward community.
"Now it's been 75 years, and the proud tradition of Catholic education and Catholic families is still going strong," she said.
Warner said St. Edward has almost 7,000 alumni and about 40 percent of them still live within about 20 miles of Elgin. The prospect of retaining an alumni base is important to the high school, she said.
"It's not only important, it's the only thing that matters — families, quality education and faith in the lord," Warner said.
Warner and her husband have been involved at St. Edward since they graduated, and both her brother and sister and all of their combined children are also St. Edward graduates.
"We have any number of legacy families where there's second, third, maybe even fourth generation students attending St. Edward, because we all know the value of this faith-based, family education," she said.
Heather Relihan, a class of 1965 graduate, was in attendance for the celebration to honor her alma mater. She said she was enjoying her time spent mingling with members of the St. Edward community.
"We've got a good turnout," Relihan said.
Relihan said she thinks being a part of a group where everyone holds a similar bond is important.
"You run into other Catholic kids who have the same Catholic school experience," she said. "Even as an adult, I have run into people who are the product of Catholic schools, and there is — whatever the area of the country — there are similarities."
John Biggins, a class of 1988 graduate, said it is nice to be among members of the St. Edward community.
"It's great to see so many people, so many friends, so many classmates, teachers," he said. "It's pretty exciting, 75 years is quite an accomplishment."
Biggins said it is important to be a part of the community that is as wholly supported throughout the years as St. Edward.
"My father's an alum, myself, my sister, my nephew, I've got two kids there right now," he said. "It's always important for us to carry on the tradition, the Catholic faith."
Biggins, noting the challenges of guiding children to stick to their traditions in today's world, said that's what makes a St. Edward education significant.
"I think that it starts at home," he said. "It's great to have places like St. Edward to reinforce those teachings. I think from the religious education side, I think they do such a great job with not only theology, but the retreats that they have. It's been a very rewarding experience for my kids as well."
Biggins said if he can offer advice to current students, he would say it all comes down to making the most of one's time at St. Edward.
"Study hard and make sure you take the time to appreciate the four years that you are about to have or about to end, because it's probably the best four years of your life, so take advantage of it both academically and socially," he said.
Warner said the bottom line for holding the high school's 75th anniversary celebration stems from an interest in "making more friends for St. Edward, reminding people how important it is that this is part of their roots and part of where they began, and sometimes remembering where you began helps you get where you're going."