EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITES
From what we can tell, it appears the school offered interscholastic athletics while it was an all-girls'
school, according to prep historian Robert Pruter. It may have offered others, and this is where we can use your help
if you know. Please contact us at the addresses below.
We are aware that St. Mary was a member of the Catholic High School Girls' Basketball League from 1927-31,
but did not win a conference title. Other schools that competed were St. Catherine (later known as Siena), Visitation, Loretto High, Loretto Academy, Longwood, Mercy, St. Xavier, Alvernia, Aquinas, Evanston Marywood, and Wilmette Mallickrodt. The conference was broken up by the formation of a new league by the Catholic Youth Organization in 1932.
EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES & STUDENT LIFE
We do know from our fact-gathering that the school was big on journalism. It's weekly paper, The Herald,
won awards in the 1930's and '40's, while a later version called The Catalyst from 1968-76 played an important role
in informing parents, students, and faculty alike. In fact, moderator Sr. Ann Christine Heintz was nominated the national
"Educator of the Year" award by the Chicago Tribune in 1971.
St. Mary also took a step away from traditional school practices in the later part of the 1960's as the
country was going thru a great deal of change. For instance, the school did away with uniforms and the BVM order discarded
their habits for a simple dress code, and teacher-student relationships became less formal as both parties were involved in
governing the school thru teams that made everyday decisions about the school, including disciplinary actions and hiring of
Also, alumni, faculty, and other interested individuals were part of fund raising for the school. Television
star Leonard Nimoy ("Mr. Spock" from Star Trek) even came to the school's aid by narrating a television special that
aired on the NBC affiliate in Chicago (WMAQ-TV) called "If the Mind is Free" to help raise funds for St. Mary. Faculty
even took pay cuts as much as 50 percent as well as donating parts of their salaries to help keep the school afloat,
and also helped with maintenance duties around the school.
But in the end, it was simply was not enough as increased tuition made it almost impossible
for middle and lower income students to attend St. Mary as conditions on the 75-year old building had deteriorated
to the point that funds were not available for repairs.
Some of the school's records are now in the hands of the University of Illinois at Chicago's library,
which includes photos, yearbooks, meeting minutes, gradebooks, and much more.
Other activities had to have been offered to students to enhance their educational experiences, such as
chorus, band, dances, and much more. We are hopeful that an alumnus might be able to tell us more about St. Mary extra-curriculars.
Marjhorie Noga added the following memories of St. Mary High School:
"The school colors were blue and white. The school song was titled "The Bells
of St. Mary's." I don't recall any sports teams but there was a Drama club. The first yearbook was
published in 1968."
**From Kathy Skinner Frank:
"I went to St.Mary '60 to '62 and would have been in the class of '63. When I was there my last year, I was
in academy building in the Peoria room. The board job I had was in the dish room."
**From Ofelia Flores (Class of 1968):
"I am a graduate of St. Mary High School - May/June 1968. I have memories of the most wonderful Sisters.
St. Filibert (music & Business Teacher) is the one that left a great impression in my life of St. Mary."
DO YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION ABOUT ST. MARY'S HIGH SCHOOL?
We can use all the help we can get here, folks. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by clicking on this Guest Commentary link. Or just send it to us at the address listed below. Photos of the school, nickname, words to a school
song, any win-loss records of possible athletic teams are welcome. Please contact us at:
Illinois High School Glory Days
6439 North Neva
Chicago, IL 60631