Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The belles have rings!

Memories like birds--fleeting.  "Catch us if you can!"


That is the question.  Blogger always assumed that the ring students received back in the mid ‘50s was the school ring.  When what to her wondering eyes should appear but rings and photos of rings from earlier years.  There was some reason to think that the ring of the ‘50s was the traditional ring because it lasted far into the ‘80s and maybe beyond (if only memory were sharper!).  Surely it was not changed in all those years given its history.  Wrong!  It did not have the history blogger assumed it had.   By 1949 the ring had changed at least four times since the early 1920s.  The first two rings above are easily identified as to year; the third ring is dated on the sides 1929, and the fourth, 1939. (It is not known when the high school inaugurated a class or school ring.)  Time marches on and so do tastes and interests.  Around 1990 the company selling rings was offering side panels that indicated the students’ athletic and/or club interests as well as well as ideas for new designs for the top of the ring.  After all, NDA’s design was old after nearly 40 years.  The ring began a new series of changes in the years that followed until a few years ago when a new version of the “old” ring was devised.
The variety and the spacing in years of new styles makes the question that opened this blog a pertinent one.  If individual classes could go to a new style of ring, did it become a class ring rather than one that easily identified the school of the wearer, regardless of year?  If you are an alum, how do you think of your ring?  Is it close to or identical to one you see below?
So here they are, the rings or photos of rings the archive possesses.  Some of the photos are blurry because of camera limitations, but are clear enough to demonstrate changes and give some sense of the ring’s appearance. 

Any addition to the ring collection will find a welcoming home in the school archives, by the way, regardless of year.  Who knows how the NDA ring history will expand!  If anyone knows of a NDA ring earlier than 1921, or any other interesting bit of history, be sure to let us know:


Don't forget to let us know if you know more than we do about the NDA school/class rings!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Memories like birds--fleeting.  "Catch us if you can."

The Fashion Show Goes On

Moving beyond the early 1930s we come next to a modification of the winter uniform, i.e. a sort of shirt dress of any reasonable pattern, short sleeved, but now adorned with white starched collar and cuffs.  The exact year of adoption of this uniform is not known by blogger, but maybe an alum would be able to enlighten her.  The photos of the late ‘30s and early ‘40s do show this somewhat relaxed style, however.  The white collar and cuffs were “in” until 1954 when the navy blue jumper elbowed it out (gradually).  This was worn over a round-collared blouse: probably not the most happily worn, but enduring until the move from Fifth Street in 1963.

Ah, the move from Fifth Street—what a great and earth altering (literally) event.  This certainly called for an equally elevated style of dress (Hilton Drive is at a higher topographical elevation).  Indeed, a new look in building and grounds required an equally “spiffy” new look in garb satisfied by the dark gray skirt and dress jacket.  Oh how they were loved…by very few.  And so that style lasted a very few years, relatively speaking. By the late ‘60s it had already experienced a happy demise. 

 Do read on to the next chapter of this material evolution.

Fashion Show II
And in stepped the gray-skirted lass sporting, of course, a white blouse.  This latter will remain as part of the uniform, and as may be surmised, found its way spilling more and more over the waistband of the skirt.  What’s to be done?  In the 2000’s, the recalcitrant blouse was replaced by the more manageable shirt with waistband and collar.  But let’s revisit the skirt for a moment.

The gray skirt has experienced its own transitions from pleats all the way around to two box pleats in front and two in the back, then back to the original arrangement.  In the early gray years, knee socks were the “in” but soon gave way to the anklets of earlier times. Gray slacks were also permitted, but proved to be unpopular.  This gray look was interrupted for a (very) few years with the appearance of plaid.  One can imagine the chagrin of in-coming freshmen transitioning from plaid to plaid.  It did not enthrall the upperclassmen either, for that matter.  Back to the classic gray.
(Sorry the last as-of-now photo is not too sharp--no reflection of the girls' appearance!)

And so here we are today with what is probably the most familiar look with its almost 50 year history.  That’s actually a pretty good record for a feminine fashion, wouldn’t you say?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Oh Mother, what to wear?" "No problem, dear...

...Just put on the NDA uniform." 
The article below from Vol. 1, #1, Oct. 1926, of NDA’s THE GAVEL accompanied the photos seen in this posting.


             Our Uniform—what does it signify?  What does it symbolize?  Is it merely a dress, a garment to be worn regularly to class?
            Our Uniform symbolizes simplicity and modest of dress in the neat blue skirt and pongee blouse of summer and the stylish dress of winter.  Not only is simplicity and modesty expressed but discipline also.  The disciplinary value consists in the daily and regular wearing of the uniform. 
            Oh? fellow students of Notre Dame, let us wear our uniform as we do our refinement, wear it and think what it symbolizes and always be proud of –Our Uniform.
                                                                                                Esther Bramlage, ’27

Did the young ladies of Notre Dame Academy High School and Commercial School actually feel this way about their uniform in 1926?  Blogger may be mistaken, but she thinks they did, or at least most of them did.  From interviews of alums of the 1930s, blogger found that the sense of pride in the school AND of being seen by the world as students of NDA was strong.
A summer and winter outfit have, of course, been realized over many years but not at notable as they were in the late 20s.  When the change occurred that eliminated the white midi blouse is uncertain, but by the mid 1930’s all of the young ladies seem to have been wearing a dark blue dress.  These dresses could be of any style but the white collars and cuffs were a must.  Long sleeves disappeared also, seemingly sometime in the ‘30s.  The scarf tied in a bow, at first a rather large one seen here in the winter uniform, also changed over the years to a very much smaller version before disappearing in the fall of 1942.  
We will move forward in this vein in the next posting, so do stay posted.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Oh no, Grandpa...

Memories, like birds--fleeting.  Catch us, catch us if you can.

Oh no, Grandpa, you couldn’t have graduated from Notre Dame Academy!

Oh yes, he could have, and if he said he did, he probably did.  The Sisters opened a grade school as soon as the new 5th St. building was completed.  Boys were accepted with the same enthusiasm as the girls.  While the records are sketchy, to put it kindly (maddeningly), there’s plenty of proof that boys were there.  They may not have abounded—the girls always outnumbered them, as far as blogger can determine.  Here are a few photos to attest to their presence. 
The reason for this posting is that blogger realized that many, maybe most, people aren’t aware of gentlemen grads from this august institution.  What brought this to light was a recent  conversation with a  high school alum who said an aging relative told his family that he too had graduated from NDA.  The family was in serious doubt.  Blogger assured the grad that it was quite possible, and was able to verify the assertion from the records that the school does have.  The doubt was understandable; only people in their late 70s or older may remember the fact since the grade school discontinued in 1937.  The last 8th graders to graduate should be around 87 now.  That means there could still be quite a few male alums (properly called alumni) still gracing the area.  Therefore, Gentleman, please stand up and claim your rightful place in our gallery of fame!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

50 Years? Already?

Memories, like birds—fleeting.  One must grasp and hold in heart hands.

Hey, a new look!
Yes.  Do you like it?  Let blogger know.

Apologies are in order, blogger supposes, to all readers who have evinced interest in this blog and have found that it has not been updated for a very long time.  One can update history, blogger must remind herself.
Having said that, she asks herself, “What next?”  To which she responds, “What do you mean, what next?  You have a whole closet + crammed with the school’s history.  Get on it, girl!
Having scolded herself sufficiently by this time, she goes about trying to make up.  Let’s see.  Well, we’ve been on Hilton Dr. for nearly 50 years.  Imagine, those of you who were part of that historic move—50 years!  Maybe the place to start this posting would be to take a look at some of the events surrounding that momentous move.  Hmmm.

Here’s what the CHRONOLOGY looks like, edited to reveal the events around the new academy with a few (historical notes).

Mar 1st:  Sr. Mary Agnetis writes her first letter to Conrad Hilton, the hotel magnate, eliciting his interest in contributing to the building of a new school to replace the 5th St. building.

(Jan. 23rd: Covington Catholic High School dedicates their new building on the Dixie.)

April 16th: Ground breaking takes place for the new school on Hilton Drive, on the St. Joseph Heights property in the south pasture.  The Lourdes grotto has been removed by this time (roughly where the foyer of the new building will be).

Aug. 10th:  NDA Boosters Club forms to aid in the building fund campaign.  Members are from the original campaign and from the PTEL.

Jan. 22nd:  NDA receives word that the state is granting a no-tax status for items for the new building since it will be a not-for-profit institution.

Drives are carried out in the course of this year to earn money for the building campaign: chocolate sale--$2,250; Pepsi cap col.--$516.50

Ap. 4th:  Photo-Reflex of Cincinnati presents the school with a large sepia portrait of Conrad Hilton in a classy Closson’s frame—for the new school’s foyer.

July 2nd:  Friends of NDA (FONDA) is first announced—a fund raising group for the new academy (Friends of Notre Dame—a fundraising group of loyals).

Sept.18th:  The corner stone is laid for the new NDA on Hilton Drive.  See Sisters’ Annals for contents.

(Oct. 11th:  Opening of the Twenty-First Ecumenical Council in Rome.— NDA will not be discussed at the Council.)

Dec. 27th:  Final Open House at 5th Street for the Sisters.  This was the first provincial house well within the memory of many Sisters.

Dec. 30th: Introductory meeting for the FONDA (Friends of Notre Dame).

June 3rd:  Last graduation from the Fifth Street NDA is held at Mother of God Church.
(Also on June 3 Pope John XXIII dies, age 81, having reigned four years, seven months and six days as the 261st pontiff. June 21st:  Pope Paul VI is elected.)

Oct. 14th:  Wrapping up is a two week home study period declared in order to give the Sisters a chance to clean the new facility on Hilton Dr.  The cleaning is completed and the first Mass here celebrated on Oct. 27th Feast of Christ the King.

Oct. 15th:  The first day of school on Hilton Drive--the faculty and students move from 5th St. in Covington to Hilton Drive.

Nov. 13th:  The Stations of the Cross in the new chapel are blessed.

(Nov. 22nd:  President John F. Kennedy is assassinated.  This and subsequent civil unrest and assassinations will affect the mood of the nation which, in turn, will affect the outlook of students well into the ‘70s.)

Dec. 7th:  The Sisters have the first Holy Mass in the 4th fl. chapel which is dedicated to the Infant of Prague.

Dec. 9th:  The final papers for the sale of the old academy are signed.

Dec. 12th: PTEL holds it first meeting in the new building.

Dec. 29th:  Open House for FONDA members and their families is held in the new building.
(Jan. 12th:  Three seniors, among them the future Sr. M. Ethel Parrott, appear on the “It’s Academic” show, and achieve second place.  Prize: set of books Gateway to Great Books.)

Feb. 2nd:  Sr. M. Immacula organizes the group Home Room Mothers.

Feb. 19th:  The school, like many in the area at this time, experiences its first vandalism with the breaking of windows and entrance doors.

Feb. 22nd:  Open House for SNDs and other religious in the diocese.

Mar. 1st:  Formal dedication of the new school takes place.

Aug. 17th:  The property on 5th St. having been sold, demolition of the old school building begins.  Only the chapel building will remain standing and will be used for offices and storage of a car dealership.

(Nov. 29th:  The new Liturgical Reforms are inaugurated, much to the delight of all here.  The Mass will now be said in English among other significant changes.)

Later, of course, the chapel building will come down and two SNDs will be there to rescue the cornerstone of that structure.  The cornerstone can still be seen in Heritage Hall to your right as you enter Hilton Dr. NDA.  In a latter blog posting we will get a glimpse of Sr. M. Agnetis’s first letter to Mr. Hilton—quite interesting and telling.

This is all for now.  Blogger hopes memories were stirred, curiosity piqued, and interest held.

True to our German roots, blogger bids you "auf wiedersehen" (until we meet again). 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

'40s in NDA History

For now, let’s take a parting look at the Annals entries for the 1940’s

Mar. 19, 1940: Every year the girls present their fathers with a gift on the Feast of St. Joseph. They also prepare a spiritual bouquet, and offer Holy Mass for their father in our chapel. This year they gave their fathers Miraculous Medals on untarnishable chains.

November 13-16: This annual event spanning four days recalls at once the German fall festival of Kermess and the American celebration of Thanksgiving. Covered in the prayers of the Sisters, over a thousand turkey suppers are served, and thousands of chances are sold, all for the benefit of St. Joseph Heights and its various ventures.

Feb. 11, 1943: The Victory Corps is inaugurated as the NDA support of the war effort. The girls will be trained as air-raid wardens, nurse’s aids, bandage wrappers, and other tasks that will aid the country in this time of need.

Mar. 26, 1944: Perhaps the first of such programs, the women’s retreat draws over 150 women, probably mostly alums. It is held at the Heights. Father John I. Malone gives the conferences.

Jan. 24-25, 1945: The diocese of Covington and NDA welcome our new bishop, William T. Mulloy. The parade welcoming Bishop Mulloy to Covington meet him at the Kentucky end of the Suspension Bridge and escorts him to the cathedral at 11th. (sic) and Madison. There are four bands in the welcoming parade. The sidewalks were the viewing stands for thousands of school children and local citizens with business suspending operations for the afternoon.

Fall of 1946: NDA gets its second principal in the retirement of Sr. Mary Agnetis who has served the school in that capacity since 1906. The new principal is Sr. Mary Jean Boeh who has been on the faculty as assistant principal, religion, Latin and French teacher and moderator of the student government.

Feb. 15, 1947: An intercom system is installed for the first time.

April 14ff: A six-weeks Courtship and Marriage course is offered by Fr. Paul E. Ryan.

Nov. 23: The Annals give the annual Baby Day its first mention in that record. Alums bring their babies to share/compare cuteness and stories of their tots.

May 11, 1948: NDA looks forward (somewhat optimistically) to the construction of a new gym, never to be realized on 5th St., with the formation of the Guild to build the necessary finances.

Mar. 4, 1949: The near-brush with vandals who had been troubling the area schools is thwarted by Sr. Mary Oliva when they attempt a night invasion of NDA. This story appeared in an earlier Heritage blog: quite an exciting saga.

Summer: The academy gets a walk-in cooler in the conversion of the old ice cellar. Hmm--big deal? It was then.

Thus closes for now the most notable ventures and adventures of that memorable decade, the 1940s.