Wednesday, August 13, 2014

You’re a Freshman, 1930

So you are from Cincinnati (not unusual in attendance at NDA) and your parents have seen the ad in the Catholic Telegraph Register for Notre Dame Academy, right across the river on Fifth Street.  The ad looks good, just what their daughter needs!  The selling points are expressed in the Notre Dame Academy Bulletin which, upon request, your parents received in the mail.  They read in the Foreward the following:

The object of Notre Dame Academy is to train its students to realize that the end of man (sic) is the “pursuit of perfection through communion with God, his (sic) fellow-creatures and nature, by means of knowledge and conduct, of faith, hope, admiration and love.”  Its curriculum is adapted to combine breadth and training with free development of individuality in order to make its students serious, purposeful, courageous, strong Catholic women.  Religious influences are brought to bear upon the students to aid in solving the educational problems of the day.

All the needs of the students—physical, intellectual, moral—receive the attention that circumstances require.

The Course of Instruction embraces the Primary, the Intermediate, the Grammar, the Junior High, the Commercial, and the Academic Departments.

Fast forward to 2014, just 84 years later.  Much of the Foreward still rings true—that’s still what we are all about.  The last paragraph really is the only thing that places this piece in the distant past .  The Commercial school discontinued in 1934 and all sections of the grade school in 1937.  By that time the high school, the “Academic Department,” needed much more space and the surrounding Catholic grade schools welcomed NDA’s former “pupils”.
As a sort of post script, note the elaborate ND on this cover of the bulletin—very typical of the identifications used in the period.  Lovely and elegant.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Statley Sentinels Depart

Trees.  Such magnificent things.  There’s the baobab in LITTLE PRINCE, the ”Giving  Tree”story,  Joice Kilmer ‘s poem beginning, ”I think that I shall never see/A poem lovely as a tree.”  Blogger saw some spectacular trees in California not long ago, notably eucalyptus—such grand creations.  Well, the trees we will consider here were once grand, although not in such a spectacular way.  Folks who have long been familiar with the campus as well as current students easily recall the strand of trees along the side of the building.  Planted about 50 years ago, they grew in stateliness as the years passed, providing shade to many cars parked near them and later to soccer fans.  Weather and progress have not been too kind to them, however.  Recall the ice storm that marred the beauty of so many trees a few years ago, and the draught of a few recent summers that took their toll on trees.  Even before that, the excavation for the soccer field with endless moving around of huge mounds of earth managed to expose the roots of some of the trees in the strand and generally disturbed the root systems of all of them.  Earlier still 

 c. 1975

was the extension of blacktop in their direction to provide for a second lane in the driveway.  And so, to make a long story mercifully short, they had reached the point of being about one fourth their fullness and health.  Last week the tree men moved in and took all of them down.  It seemed a sad end, but a necessary one that has made room now for a new strand to be planted in the fall. 
The photos show the side of the building (original front) as it looked in 1963, then the progress of the trees that were planted early on, and finally what the side of the building looks like now.  Promise lies in the future planting.  (Blogger apologizes for the blurred photos of photos.  At least the final photo taken the other day is  sharp.)

Monday, May 12, 2014


So is there really a tunnel to CCH or isn’t there?  That is the question.  Well, if reason prevails (hardly ever any fun), between us and them there is a great gulf (not as big as the original one of c. 40 ft. deep—a.k.a. the gully) and them some--the Heights property, the Dixie, CCH’s parking lot, and a new CCH--to repeat, if reason prevails, a tunnel is an impossibility.  So when/where did the rumor originate?  Ah, one of life’s oft repeated mysteries.  A question that comes to blogger’s mind is if there was such a rumor when both schools were “in town”?  It would actually been more possible there where the two buildings were much closer and measuring the same feet above sea level.  (For the younger reader not so acquainted with local history, NDA was on Fifth St. in Covington and CCH was on Sixth St.—actually very close to each other and the cause of many palpitations when NDA students would walk from school to Mother of God Church which was across the street from Mother of God School, site of CCH.  CCH teachers had to be very engaging or very muscular to keep their students from rushing to the windows as soon as the girls’ chatter was heard.)  Ah, the good old days!

So is there a tunnel.  Well, actually, yes, as the rather blurred photos below show.  It’s hard to navigate in a stooped position (clearance almost all the way through is about four and a half feet) with a flashlight, small dolly to kneel on, and a camera, and still take really good, sharp photos—at least that’s what blogger tells herself.  The tunnels, as any one in construction will tell you, are where one finds pipes and wiring, and maybe storage; so it’s the same in this building.  NDA’s tunnels extend in at least three directions and have a few doors connecting sections.  At one time in her earlier life, blogger went through the whole thing, but age has reduced endurance, so the adventure was a good deal shorter this time.  Is it creepy?  Not to the experienced spelunker.  Is it full of rodent life?  No, there’s nothing to eat down there.  Could one get lost?  Yes, if one is not familiar enough with where one is in relation to the first floor under which the tunnel passes.  How does one get into the tunnel, i.e., where are the entry points?  Ah, reader, that is classified information!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

We've Hit the Big Time!

Curious?  Since we’ve hit many big times over our 108 years (yes, 108.  Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday?!), but we have not had a soccer field until a modest six years ago.  So now what?  Our soccer field with track and field accommodations now has a PRESS BOX!  A real honest-to-goodness press box.  One can just see the fans pressing into it in cold rainy weather.  Just kidding.  Our games are, of course, covered by the press.  One of our own grads, Carrie Cochran of the Enquirer, has come several times to photograph games.  (She's an award winning photojournalist, by the way.)

  Our games are also on radio and television, and thus the press box.  The field is in use frequently even in April.  Our own lacrosse team is “in season” now as well as clubs playing soccer on most weekends.  Soon the track and field folks will be “in season” as one got a preview of shot putting just yesterday (before the snow came again).  So here are a few shots of our newest structure on campus.  It’s above the south side of the field, as one would guess, in line with the top row of bleachers.  Stay posted.  Who knows what may spring up next?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Cheer, Cheer, for Our Notre Dame

Blogger hopes the title of this blog does not cause any trouble.  The last time we used something that sort of looked like something from another institution by the same name (there’s a U. in front of our two significant initials) we were, shall we say, reminded that there could be a law suit.  Of course, we demurred.  Ahem.

Do you remember old cheers from your high school days?  Sr. M. Reina has one that she carries in her memory from her Regina High School days.  The cheer goes like this:
            Aka laka ching
            Aka laka chow
            Aka laka ching ching
            Chow, chow, chow.
(Are you out of your chair yet?)
            (Our school, our school) Rah, rah, rah!
(“Notre Dame, Notre Dame” fits better than “Regina, Regina”, don’t you think?)  This is probably a pretty well known cheer.

One that blogger remembers from somewhere; perhaps it’s familiar too.
            Boom chika boom,
            Boom chika boom;
            Boom chika licka chika,
            Boom chika boom.
            Zis-boom bah, zis-boom bah
            (Our school, our school) Rah, rah, rah!

The faculty has used this a few times at faculty v. students volley ball games.  And a good time was had by all!  (Students won the last such game, but it was not fair, really.  Miss Gunning, our athletic director, came into the game on the side of the students.)

It would be interesting to research these cheers.  Does anyone know when and where they were first used?  (Of course you could ask, does anyone really care?)
You are invited to let blogger know of any cheer you remember from your own days at NDA if there were such, or from CCH since our girls served as their cheer leaders for several years (perhaps you were one of them).  It would be fun to have a blog just on your recollections.  Misspellings are permitted and forgiven (who’s to know anyway?)

 Have a happy spring, yes, SPRING.  They say it will come!
Regarding the picture, yes, that is, no: blogger knows these are not cheer-leaders, but it's a fun photo, don't you think?  Sort of fits.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Regarding the Last Posting...

Oops!  The photo to which you were referred in the last blog was not there.  How is one to imagine the adventure of crossing the roof when one can’t see the reality?  (Blogger remembers crossing it a few times in the blazing sun of summer, and what an adventure that was!)  So here is the photo.

 Now imagine packing up the contents of a building this size and moving it about two miles away as the crow flies.  But, of course, crows the size of moving vans don’t fly anywhere, so now imagine moving all the packed items.  Sr. M. Reina gave a few insights: first, furniture items were sold as they were no longer vital to teaching/living.  Desks were sold for 50 cents.  In the cafeteria a buyer could find, grouped according to category, other memorabilia.

Packing went on along with the teaching, i.e., one taught one’s scheduled classes, then went to the assigned task of packing (everything well organized, of course).  The Sisters worked in partners facilitating the packing, moving, and later unpacking of the boxes.  Everything had to be clearly marked to avoid later mayhem. Boxes of packed items went to the gym (remember the room made from two classrooms and having the ceiling height of every other room in the building).  The library posed a particular challenge.  The packers used trough trays in packing the books shelf by shelf and marking them according to a designated system.  At the Hilton Dr. end the books were put on shelves as they arrived.

And how did the Sisters get all those boxes to the new site?  A huge debt of gratitude goes to the parents and other friends of Notre Dame Academy who generously went back and forth from 5th Street to Hilton Drive until the monumental task was complete.  The librarian was able to recruit about 20 van drivers for the library challenge.  Perhaps you have a “moving experience” to which you can compare this one.  Which would you choose to do again if it were demanded?

Questions still linger as do many, many stories of those days.  What happened to all the statues?  They went to the new home in Park Hills.  Many are still around; one valued statue got damaged over the years and deemed beyond repair—the Sacred Heart statue that stood in the 5th St. cafeteria (blogger thinks) and then in the H. Dr. cafeteria for several years.  A few of the statues are lovingly kept by the Sisters in their 4th floor residence.  Were all the desks sold?  No, a few are still in storage for old time’s sake. 

There’s more grist for the mill on the larger topic here, but this is sufficient for now.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Ups and Downs of Life

Let us now consider the elevator. The elevator at Fifth Street was off limits to the students unless they had a medical need. While that’s the rule here on Hilton Dr. today, it’s a bit easier, to say the least, for students to “bend the rule” since today’s “lift” does not necessitate a call/operate key as the Fifth St. one did. By the way, the old building didn’t get an elevator until the late 1940s. One of the installers asked what was done with the old elevator. We didn’t have one was the reply. Amazement! “You had to climb five floors?” Affirmative. This really applied only to the Sisters, some of whom slept in one of the two large but separate rooms on the roof. Yes, on the roof. Yes, separate. There was a walkway (referred to as “the bridge”) between them. Actually, you can see the walkway on the photo—it’s between the two skylights. One room was a dormitory and had about nine beds. The other was used for storage but visited regularly. Was the dorm cold in winter? Was the walk to the storage room a chilling experience? Does water freeze at 32 degrees F.? The Sherpas of Nepal had nothing on these Sisters.