Athletics and Extra-Curriculars
We are in need of assistance from an alumnae or area fan of St. Teresa Academy. The school merged with Assumption before
it was required by the IHSA that girls be offered competitive athletics. We are not sure of the St. Teresa competed
There was apparently a great deal of extra-curricular activities and studies offered at the school. Art, drama,
music, all were a part of the St. Teresa experience. As an alum, Janet Corcoran (Class of 1967) wrote
"I have fond memories of St. Teresa Academy in East St. Louis. How many people have a plate
from their high school hanging in the kitchen? Mine is engraved with the letters "STA".
I remember eating dinner at school when I stayed for play rehearsal. My Latin teacher,
Sister Sylvanna, broke her arm bowling in the hallway of the nun's upstairs residence. She used to
fine us "25 cents for the missions" for cussing.
Ambrose Hall of Davenport's St. Ambrose University looks exactly like St. Teresa's.
When I did graduate work there it felt like my old high school. I believe the architect of St. Ambrose was named "Huot".
My class, the class of 1967, will have it's 40th reunion at the Casino Queen in East St. Louis.
It has all been planned through the Classmates website. I believe my sister who graduated in 1974 was in the next-to-last
class to graduate. "We're Loyal to You STA..." ( To the tune of the University of Illinois fight song. Also an
alma mater of mine.)"
From Joanie Smith (Mary Joan Harper):
"My mother attended STA all four years. She was born
in 1912 & graduated in 1930. The school was open at least by 1926. In fact, I was told my grandmother attended
there for a couple of years, before she had to leave school to care for her ailing mother. My grandmother was born in
1892. That would mean the school opened before the late '20s. I was told that the school was originally a boarding
(finishing) school for girls. My mother said some of her classmates were from the "East" -- maybe Cleveland? I am not sure. Local girls lived at home & commuted. I attended STA
from 1964 to 1968. To my knowledge STA never participated in any interscholastic athletics.
The "all-boys" high school, Assumption, was like a brother
school to STA. Students from both schools were High School Band members. The STA girls
were the cheerleaders for Assumption's basketball & football teams (the Pioneer's). Students from both schools performed
in the annual plays/musicals.
I'm the sister of Marci Stephens, and I graduated in 1968.
I just attended my 40th reunion (a combined reunion of STA and AHS) a couple of weeks ago and it was great to see many old
STA had a fine reputation for preparing young ladies for office
jobs, as well as a good prep for college."
From Lolita (Class of 1974)
"Re interscholastic sports, besides the cheerleading, etc., for Assumption (the boys' high school), I do not recall
co-ed sports with Assumption. BUT we certainly (at least up until 1966) had interscholastic sports between ourselves and other
high schools. We also fared very well (although I greatly lament not recalling the exact titles we won or placed). I
played first string on the Volleyball Team for 2 or 3 years. We had great rivalries with some of the other schools,
such as St. Elizabeth's which was just across the street, and of course Notre Dame in Bellevillle.
Perhaps you might clarify that the school OPENED in 1894, but its later incarnation as a four-year secondary
school was in the 1920s.
S.T.A. surely was, as you indicate, "like a "finishing school", and
you can be certain that we were academically prepared not only for office jobs with our college preparatory curriculum but
also for professions.
Quite memorable were, as you note, our "outstanding art and drama departments". I was
a participant in a number of plays, and in interscholastic speech and drama competitions, in which, often, we walked away
with numerous prizes (myself included). A special memory is winning first prize for "oral interpretation" of a passage
from Sophocles' Antigone in which she pleads unsuccessfully
with King Creon (her would-be future father-in-law) to allow burial of her brother who did not support Creon in battle
(while their other brother did so and was to receive a proper interment). Antigone also pled for her life because Creon
had decreed that she should die for her disobedience in burying her brother herself.
These arts-related activities and the interscholastic sports are indeed only two of many areas of extracurricular activites
and opportunities. We often traveled to see operas and plays, and attend bazaars and other events at other
schools and venues. There was also a debate team. In-school activities such as the Student Council (student government).
Community service! Civic-mindedness -- Malcolm X visited S.T.A. and
delivered a lecture to our mostly Caucasian student body and faculty.
The campus was beautiful too. Grassy areas, shrubs, flowers, ringed by trees.
Some years ago I understood that the building was being used as a treatment center. I have not been to St. Louis/East
St. Louis for 5 years now and am not certain of its present condition
Our gold class ring was an elongated oval in the shape of an artist's
palette with S.T.A. on the front and the year of graduation on the sides. E.g. "19" on one side and "74" on
**From Karen Kelly (Class of 1968):
"When my daughter graduated high school (O'Fallon, class of 2001), my sister (Debbie Kelly, class
of 1971) and I began talking about going to STA . My future son-in-law's family was there at the graduation
party and his mom, aunt, and maternal grandmother all went to STA too. We looked through my senior yearbook, talking about
all our teachers. My son-in-law's grandmother noted that Sr. Sylvana was old when she had her as a teacher...and
we thought she was ancient! One of our driver ed teachers, Miss Spitzer, was my mom's PE teacher at the old
Rock Junior High in E. St. Louis in the 1930s!!!
I really appreciated the wonderful education and friendships that I had at STA...and all the laughs!"
**From Rita Sendejas Russell (Class of 1964):
"I graduated from St. Teresa's in 1964. My younger sister, Angela Sendejas Lippert, graduated
in 1971. Our mother, Angela Maldonado Sendejas, graduated from St. Teresa's in 1936. My mother
was one of the last boarders. She lived at the school during her freshman and sophomore years, working at the school
in exchange for tuition.
St. Teresa's provided all three of us an excellent education, not only in the basics,
but also in languages, music, art. I think of my years at STA as something akin to being in the military.
It was hard but made a big difference in my life. The friends I made there have turned out to be friends for life. It was a special experience."
It appears St. Teresa was an excellent place for young ladies to get an education!
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