Kenneth Boyer and his classmates still maintain pride in De
Andreis High School, which closed in 1976. Sixty years later, he still
teases someone who went to a different Catholic high school.
and about 50 other members of the De Andreis Class of 1958 met for a
60th reunion recently. They’ve committed to holding reunions every five
years. Ruth Sansone explained why: “We feel that we are very lucky to
have had some great people to go to school with and getting together to
talk about old times. We thank the many Sisters of Loretto, the priests
and lay teachers who helped us begin our adult lives.”
Boyer and two other members of the class also recently met to discuss
their school and the importance of their Catholic education. De Andreis
opened in 1946 as an all-boys school staffed by the Brothers of Mary
until 1952. It became co-educational with a faculty of Sisters of
Loretto and diocesan priests. In 1965, it reverted to a male enrollment.
was nice and intimate, and they knew everything that went on. With that
faculty you couldn’t hide,” Sansone said of her school years.
Boyer, who was class president, said “I felt at home and secure. I felt I could get my questions answered.”
Sansone agreed, “They knew you. You weren’t just somebody in the halls.”
discussion included the differences in education compared to today,
such as having many religious and priests as teachers, diagramming
sentences and studying Latin, all of which they saw as important to
their formation. They also recalled one of the women religious
inspecting the girls’ dresses at dances to ensure they met standards for
decency, with wide shoulder straps a requirement. They all recalled
Father Paul Kersgieter as an excellent educator and referred to a lay
gym teacher as an ex-warden at a prison.
The archdiocese paid half
of the tuition their first three years. It rose from $40 to $50, $60 to
$125 a year when the archdiocesan policy changed. Tuition at a similar
archdiocesan high school, Bishop DuBourg, is $10,700 today.
Andreis, 4274 N. Clarence Ave., closed due to declining enrollment. It
had 350 students in the 1975-76 school year but a 35 percent decline in
freshmen enrollment. Peak enrollment was 830 students in 1954.
said parents in the past almost automatically sent their children to
Catholic schools. She appreciates it. “It’s like building a building
brick by brick. Every year I became more involved in the Church and what
it meant to me and to my prayer life,” she said.
agreed that “it was never a question in our home. They were determined
we would go to a Catholic high school. I consider myself fortunate to
have a Catholic education. I sure do appreciate it now.”
noted that “the fact that we sent our kids to Catholic schools, and the
fact that my grandchildren are all going to Catholic schools says
everything that needs to be said about it. This would be a very dark
world in my mind if I didn’t have my faith. The examples set by the
priests and nuns and the sacrifices — what they give up in their lives.
My wife and I are so happy the kids are going to Catholic schools.”
Wiese remembers being taught by a math teacher how to make rosaries.
Her mother entered the Catholic Church when Wiese was a sophomore, and
she presented her with a handmade rosary.
The school had a lot
going for it, she said, much more than a sports program. “We lost
football to Beaumont all the time, but so what?” Wiese asked.
laughed, pointing out that the team lost a lot of games. “I kept
wishing our cheerleaders would quit cheering, ‘DA, DA can’t be beat’
when we were behind,’” he said.
Another memory of De Andreis was a
phrase students said before each class, taken from a Loretto devotion:
“Oh Suffering Jesus, Oh Sorrowful Mary.”
Class of 1958
Four members of the De Andreis Class of 1958 who reminisced about their school years and growing up in the 1950s are:
a Queen of All Saints parishioner in Oakville who grew up in St.
Engelbert Parish. He taught English for 40 years in public and private
high schools and for 30 of those years he also taught at St. Louis
Jane (Farishon) Farroll,
a member of St. Alban Roe Parish in Wildwood, who grew up in St. Paul
the Apostle Parish in Pine Lawn. She has five children, 20
grandchildren. She was a secretary to the catering manager at the
Sheraton Jefferson Hotel.
Ruth (Votruba) Sansone,
a parishioner at Immaculate Conception in Dardenne Prairie who grew up
in St. Paul the Apostle Parish. She worked at the Sheraton Jefferson
Hotel and Mayfair Hotel as director of sales. She has seven children —
“two after each reunion” her classmates reminded her — 20 grandchildren
and two great-grandchildren and later worked at Brentmoor Retirement
Communities. She now does extensive volunteer work.
a member of Holy Name of Jesus Parish in Bellefontaine Neighbors,
attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish growing up. She worked 40
years for the federal government and 38 years for Dillards. She attended
night school at the University of Missouri-St. Louis for 10 years,
earning a degree in business. Wiese has visited all 50 states, and she’s
the “Sherlock Holmes” of her class, helping find missing classmates for