Monday, November 28, 2011

In the Memories of Alums

In the last few years I have been interviewing graduates from the 1930s and 40s and have shared with you the memories and little treasures of Rosemary Hanneken O’Brien, ‘46 . In reviewing the interviews I am reminded of recurring ideas. “My father really believed in education, and he wanted his girls to have a high school education,” recalled Betty Tuembler Moser, ’34. This fact was repeated in other interviews and certainly agrees with the trend in the first part of the twentieth century to allow and even encourage education for daughters in the family. With Notre Dame Academy grade school expanding its curriculum to include ninth grade classes in 1904, there were enough young ladies interested in continuing their education to establish a separate academy for them in 1906. The curriculum included commercial (commerce) and college prep (classical) courses. By the 1930s then, the commercial and regular high school were well established.

Uniforms have been mentioned by each interviewee. Mrs. Moser recalls that the grade level of any student was clearly seen in the color of her tie: freshmen wore green (no surprise there); sophomores red; juniors corral; and seniors brown (hmmm). The uniform proper was a plain blue shirt dress with white collars and cuffs (both starched!). (Photos show the high school uniform and the grade school uniform.) Also mentioned by those interviewed were the infamous black bloomers worn for gym class. Of course, this was accompanied in the interviews with a hearty chuckle.

Another aspect of interviewees’ lives here at Notre Dame was the fact that most of the teachers were Sisters of Notre Dame whom they dearly loved. Special mention went, as may be expected, to Sr. M. Agnetis who was principal from 1906 to 1946. Others frequently mentioned by name were Sr. M. St. Claire and Sr. M. Jean who taught music and French respectively. Sr. M. Jean replaced Sr. M. Agnetis as principal in 1946.

If you were an NDA student during these years, which memory here strikes the strongest chord with you? In future Heritage Blog entries we’ll revisit these interviews and many other treasures of memory.