• Megann Horstead

St. Edward High School celebrating 75 years in Elgin


St. Edward High School marks its 75-year milestone this month as a Catholic-based educational institution in Elgin.

The school doors opened for the first time on Sept. 8, 1941, to 40 sophomores and 42 freshman from local parishes as well as from a number of communities located throughout the Fox Valley.

St. Edward High will commemorate its 75th anniversary with a number of events on Oct. 15.

Business Manager Jan Schroeder said it will bring great meaning to celebrate the school's 75th anniversary.

"It's really a thank you to all of our supporters and friends and brings everybody together to reflect on the past and push for the future," she said.

"It's who we are and we have programs that foster it," Schroeder said. "We have a Respect Life Club, we have Students Against Destructive Behavior club, we have a wonderful retreat club, and we have theology everyday that reinforces it. Is it difficult to grab some kids along the way? Yeah, but they all come along. It's just such a solid program."

In its early years, St. Edward defined its role in the community as an institution of secondary education dedicated to college preparatory, according to school documents. Void from the experience toward the school's start were vocational training and sports programs and facilities.

Still, the campus' attraction to sports and excellence in athletics began to take root early on in school history, documents state. The first football and basketball teams formed in 1941. Under the guidance of Rev. W. F. Boland, the school found its athletic director who selected the green and gold colors to serve as the program's first moniker.

The team embraced a number of names at the time, many of which wouldn't stick, documents state. Rumor has it, that it wasn't until 1945 when a tired sports writer finished a story on a St. Edwards basketball team that it appeared to him the program needed a new nickname: the Green Wave. The inspiration behind the name change arose when the writer glanced at the Fox River and watched as the waves rolled in.

In the fall of 1944, Greg True embarked on the first year of his two decade-spanning tenure as the next head of the athletic department, documents state. His legacy inaugurated practices and a sense of school spirit that continues to resonate among alumni, who would often return to St. Edward sharing stories about True and his lasting impression both inside and outside the classroom.

In 1949, officials held the first of several groundbreaking ceremonies in the school's history to celebrate new additions, documents state. Increased enrollment and community interest also allowed St. Edward High School to expand in November 1950 with the building of a new gymnasium, a chapel in June 1951 and a north-end addition in September 1963.

The student body grew over the years from 84 students to 360 today, according to school records. Staff size grew to account for an increasing student body.

In 1969, the school celebrated the groundbreaking for what the campus community referred to as "Senior Hall." It wasn't until a year later that the new wing was formally dedicated by Bishop Arthur J. O'Neill, documents state.

Around this time, True ended his tenure at St. Edward High School. In honor of his service, the campus community christened the field in honor of his name.

Schroeder said the pathway of success cemented throughout the school's history can be attributed in part to the formation of the St. Edward Foundation, a fund created in 1976 to ensure that the campus continues to educate the students in the school's next 75 years.

For information about the celebration, contact alumni@stedhs.org.

Anniversary events

Open house and tours of the school, 12 p.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on Oct. 15, at St. Edward Central Catholic High School, 335 Locust Street, Elgin

Mass celebrated by the Most Reverend Bishop David J. Malloy, 4 p.m. on Oct. 15, at St. Laurence Catholic Church, 572 Jewett St., Elgin

75th anniversary celebration, 6:30-10:30 p.m. Oct. 15, at Moretti's Ristorante & Pizzeria, 1175 W. Lake St., Bartlett. Cost is $30 per person (Must be 21 or older). RSVP by Oct. 5.

#Elgin

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