ELLINWOOD — Sunday, April 3 was a sunny spring day with temperatures peaking upper 80s, ideal weather for an anniversary dinner. St. Joseph School celebrated 125 years of Catholic education. During 2010-11 school year, St. Joseph School held various activities to commemorate the 125 years of operation.
"I was thinking, the state of Kansas is also celebrating, and it is 150 years old. It’s amazing to me that 125 of those years, St. Joseph School has been alive," Father Chuck Mazouch said. Father is the pastor of St. Joseph Church. He went on to thank those past and present teachers and staff as well as parents and parish for the continued support of St. Joseph in a ‘Legacy of Learning,’ for without them it would not be.
With Mass being held in the parish center from 10-11 a.m. due to remodeling of the church, the school councils’ prior planning made for a smooth transition. Dinner was to be served by noon. A team of volunteers gathered efforts to change church seating into a tastefully decorated buffet setting for approximately 250 people.
The dining room transition was completed with simple décor, 125th year anniversary of placemats, school colored M&Ms of maroon and gold speckled the tables in tiny handmade packaging. Pencils and note pads were free for the taking.
During the transition in an adjacent room, those attending the dinner were invited to share in a sip of wine while looking over old yearbooks. Also on display, a school time capsule from the 80s, scrapbooks and a power point show of photos from the past to the present put together by Father Mazouch.
"I remember the early yearbooks, and I helped the students put them together. Then it was a class in which the students learned how to layout the photos and articles they wrote." Sharla Thill said. Thill played this active role in St. Joseph School yearbook during her children’s school years. Many now have children of their own in St. Joes as the ‘Legacy of Learning’ is handed down generation by generation.
Several alumni and their families were present which included a few prior and present teachers who graduated from St. Joseph. Current students presented roses to past teachers that were able to attend. Bishop Brungardt attended the mass, and Bishop Gilmore and Father Maez were able to stay for the dinner.
The meal was hosted by St. Joseph School Council. Members include Father Mazouch, Marlene Clayton, Ryan Mountain, Jeff Klepper, Jean Doll, Kim Heinz, Dennis Habiger and Tracy Williams. Wheatland Café catered the event. On the menu was smothered steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls and chocolate cake.
Once the occasion came to a close, many volunteers and children stayed to help in one more transition back to the church setting. Everyone appeared to enjoy the dinner and relaxed atmosphere.