HOMECOMING is set for September 22nd, 2023!
Join us for an evening of festivities as we provide our warmest welcome to you, our alumni, throughout our annual Homecoming Celebration! The combined 50 year reunion in honor of the class of 1973 will take place Saturday, September 23rd.
More information will be coming out in our annual newsletter around Independence Day. Keep an eye open!
21st Annual Combined Reunion
This year's reunion was an astounding success! We would like to thank all who attended for their generous donations and delightful presences! Laughs, wisdom, and memories were all shared throughout the night, and though the night did finally conclude, we look forward to seeing everyone again come next year!
Saturday . Sept 25 . 2021
1971 . 50 years
1970 . 51 years
1966 . 55 years
1965 . 56 years
1961 . 60 years
1960 . 61 years
1956 . 65 years
1955 . 66 years
1951 . 70 years
1950 . 71 years
19th Annual Combined Reunion . 10.6.18
18th Annual Combined Reunion . 9.30.17
17th Annual Combined Reunion . 10.8.16
16th Annual Combined Reunion . 10.3.15
15th Annual Combined Reunion . 9.27.14
14th Annual Combined Reunion . 9.28.13
13th Annual Combined Reunion . 9.29.12
Speeches by Honored Classes
Aquin Convent Freeport, IL Chron
Surname Religious Name Baptismal Name Status Years Total Notes
Dowling Eleanor D 1923-24 2 Living at St. Mary's
Durick Reginald D 1924-33 10 Living at St. Mary's
Howe Virginia D 1925-30 6 Living at St. Mary's
Bonn Rose Francis Rose D 1925 1 Living at St. Mary's
Hayden Marie Benedict D 1926-26 1.5 Living at St. Mary's
Holland Charity D 1926-36 11 Living at St. Mary's '26-30
O'Neil Felicia D 1926-32 7 Living at St. Mary's
Hart Hubertine Elizabeth D 1928-29 2 Living at St. Mary's
Sweeney Constantius D 1928-29 2 Living at St. Mary's
Grogan Cyrilla D 1928-30 3 Living at St. Mary's 1930
Maloney Anaclete D 1930-32 3
McKelly Marie Alphonse D 1931-33 3
Allen Marie Immaculate D 1931-32 2
Easter Claretta D 1931-37 7
McGough Luke D 1931-36 5.2 Sept '31 - Oct '36
O'Connor Bernardina Joanna D 1933 0.5 Sept '33-Nov '33
Wagner Alexius D 1933-36 4
Koenig Gregoire Virginia W 1934-35 1.5 March '34-June '35
Matthews Elegius D 1934-37 4
Carey Madeleine D 1934-36;71-73 6
Toomey Joseph D 1934 0.5 Sept-Oct
Havey Petra D 1934-35 2
Fitzgerald Anselmo D 1936-37 2
Moroney Luciola D 1936-37 2
Keating Veronika D 1936-38 1.5 Oct. '36-June '38
McCusker Estelle D 1937-42 6
Wisdom Agnesene D 1937-39 3
Craney Aquinata D 1938-40 3
Van Hecke Lucina D 1938-40 3
Gorman Johnella D 1938-39 2 Taught at St. Thomas Grade School
Perrault Jacqueline Marie Winifred W 1938 1 Taught at St. Thomas Grade School
Durkin Patrizia/Patricia Patricia D 1938 1 Taught at St. Thomas Grade School
Quigley Dympna D 1939 1
Angoli Zachary Julia D 1939 0.5 Sept-Nov '39 Taught at St. Thomas
Lyons Solana D 1939-40 2 Taught at St. Thomas Grade School
Ternes Leonette D 1939-46 8 Taught at St. Thomas Grade School
Reilley Fabian D 1940 1
Gilligan Mary Clare D 1940-50 11
Lukasavitz Cyria D 1940 1
DeMuth Vincentine D 1940-45 6 Taught at St. Thomas Grade School
Murray Samuela D 1941-43 3
O'Callahan Marie Rose D 1941; 55-56 3
Kepler Norita D 1941-49 9
Mulcrone Jarlath D 1941-42 2
Pauloni Chiara D 1941 1 Taught at St. Thomas Grade School
Cramer Louis-Marie D 1942-48 7
Sweeney Aimor Margaret Mary D 1942-47 6
Kellogg Thomas D 1944-48 5
Billion Alphonsine D 1944-50 7
Morrissey Henrietta D 1944 1
Boyle Laurentina D 1944-62 19
Coffey Assumpta D 1944; 63-64 3
Roomey John Paul D 1945-46 2
Delany Lorenz D 1946-48 3 Taught at St. Thomas Grade School
Barden Marie Francis D 1947 1
Alt Hildegard D 1947-48 2
Cole Blanche D 1948-49 2 Taught at St. Thomas Grade School
Maag Aimee D 1948-50 3
McCole Remigius D 1948 1
Spelman Marie Patricia Elizabeth W 1948 1 Taught at St. Thomas Grade School
Bussey Mary Naomi D 1949-54 6
Stander Alexine D 1949-50 2
Dwyer Paulinus D 1949-55 7
Dwyer Eithne D 1949-55 7
Stoher Baptist L 1949 1
Purcell Floriana D 1949 1 Living at St. Mary's
McCaslin Marie Edward Claire L 1949 1 Taught at St. Thomas Grade School
Carey Cecilia L 1950-54 5 Taught at St. Thomas Grade School
McBride Marie Eugene D 1950-53;69-75 11 Living at St. Mary's 1950-51
Keating Eymard D 1951-55 5
Bahl Marie George D 1951-52 2
Shannon Francia D 1951-55 5
Kinder Marie Paul 0 1951-57 7
Derby Chia Ta Liana Milla L 1953 1
Barth Coleta D 1953-62 10
Roden Gaetana D 1954 1
Gavin Agneila D 1955-60 6
Hushek Alphonsus Liguori Joanna W 1955-59; 67-65 7
Fiedler Romana D 1955-56 2
Gilbertson Lucia D 1956-60 5
Mingey Colette D 1956 1
Tracy Winifred Elaine W 1956-60 5
Doherty Alodia D 1956 1
Derus Margit Jean D 1957 0.5 Dec '56-June '57
McNamara Angelina D 1957-60 4
Newman Norbertus Lorraine W 1957-59 3
Anton ich Luciana D 1957 1
Doran Andre D 1958-60 3
Similik Sigrid L 1958-65 8
St. Martin Ernest D 1958-61 4
Cook John Mary D 1960-61 2
Gatti Marie Celeste L 1961-66 6
Morley Amator D 1961-62 2
Flaherty Ambrose D 1961-65 5
Bourbon Augustus Barbara W 1961-63 3
Finnegan Mary Bennet D 1961-64 4
Urban Robertia Virginia W 1961-63 3
Gudgeon Marie Majella D 1962-64 3
Cummingham Edana D 1962 1
Courtney John Eudes L 1963-66 4
Zemaitis Nathan Loretta L 1963-67 5
Stier Joel D 1964 1
Werner Marie Mattias Mary Ellen L 1965-67 3
Smith Marie Albert D 1965-67;72-75 7
Gleason Bertille Mary Jane W 1965-67 3
Dannhausen Milo Barbara L 1966-74 8.5 Sept '66- Nov 74
Knight Marie Victor Phyllis W 1966 1
Colfer Auberte Patricia W 1967-70 4
Doerr Estella Patricia Jean L 1967-71 5
Maxwell Duchesne L 1968-72 5
Pearce Alain D 1968-73 6
Snaer Guillaume Dorothea L 1968-69 2
Waldron Marie Rita L 1968-72 5
McKevitt Mairtin Sharon W 1969 1
Green Mary Ellen L 1968-72 5
Barlow Marie Arthur D 1971-72 3
Klosterman Bonnie W 1971 1 Postulant
Seiberlich Marie Franz Judith L 1972-75 4
King Toman D 1972-78 7
Morgan Arnoul Winifred L 1973 1
Esch Doloretta D 1974-77 4
Creagan Clyda D 1975-76 2
Akers Mary Bernice D 1975-78 4
Feagan Marie Roger Christine L 1976-78 3
Lennartz Constance L 1976-78 3
Soeldner John Fisher L 1976-80 5
Grabovitz Marie Judith D 1975-79 5 St. Francis School
Fox Ora Mary L 1977 1 I n Residence: Prov. Team
Number of Sisters 128
I suppose I could title this chat with you "Down Memory Lane." But after 50 years the memories are dim and indistinct. However, I do have some things to share with you. First of all I want to ask each one of you if you have thought of your teachers in a grateful mood. I'm talking k-12 and beyond, but especially your teachers of freshmen through senior years here at Aquin. We all have poor memories of the great men and women who did their best to teach us some subject matter, to impart values for our future lives, to prepare us for the journey of life which lies ahead of each one of us. I share that failing with you. For all of us the dedication of teachers is largely forgotten. I hope that the good and truthful that you experienced at Aquin will come alive for you this weekend.
Now here is a bit of Aquin as I remember it teaching Latin and French and all the other stuff that came with life at Aquin in Freeport, Illinois. I went to an all-girl high school, non co-ed Rosary College and then to the quiet of convent life at Sinsinawa, Wisconsin. Then I spent four years in Baltimore, MD (a great experience) and five years in Milwaukee, WI. For these nine years I taught junior high boys and girls. Incoming freshmen were not too different from this experience. But those seniors: noisy, loud, big feet, most of them towering over me. This picture was balanced by beautiful, blossoming young women.
Right here, let me say I really enjoyed teaching Latin and French. Am I the only one who remembers we played Bingo in French before Thanksgiving Day with a Hershey Bar for the one who could cry out "Bingo" in French? Before Christmas vacation I read the short story "The Last Lesson". The German conquest of Alsace-Lorraine ended the teaching of French. Shots rang out in Dallas and we heard that President Kennedy had been shot. This ended Vergil for the day as we all dissolved in tears and deep sorrow.
Did you know we followed the British idea of education? Corpus sanum in mente sana. A sound body in a sound mind. We raked leaves after school, ate sloppy joes and bunny hopped. This delightful enterprise came to me as the sophomore class sponsor. Then I moved up in the world and inherited the junior class. You don't mind if I tell you I did groan a bit. That meant PROM. That meant selling concessions at football and basketball games. We made a penny on a candy bar, which left me very anxious about putting on the prom. How we ever earned enough money to put on the prom still eludes me. There were printing costs, the band, refreshments and all those decorations: crepe paper and more crepe paper.
My favorite prom was "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." I remember we had an elevated Golden Bridge crossing the gym. If my memory serves me correctly some of the fathers finished the bridge as we were lacking the expertise to finish it. The following morning about 5 AM we were at the train station for a cultural trip to Chicago. Whose crazy idea was that? Dead tired from a lack of sleep, over excitement, too much food, too many cigarettes, we braved the labyrinth of Chicago.
For years I entertained friends with stories about the Aquin prom. It is absolutely unique. The boys assembled in the gym and the names of the girls had been placed in an ignominious shoe box. Before the pulling of names, the boys exchanged the names of the girls on the dance cards. Bang, bang, boom, boom, whistling, stomping of feet, clapping of hands as a name was taken out of the box, announced, and the escort went to the cafeteria where the young lady was anxiously waiting. I remember being told that in the very early days of Aquin it was not unusual for an escort to bring two young ladies to the prom. I was always impressed by the willingness of ALL to continue this tradition of Aquin.
I came to Aquin in l958 and stayed until 1965. Initially we did not have a car until the parents of Sr. Marie Albert gave us one. It was a big black sedan and only Sr. Marie Celeste and Sr. Marie Albert could drive it. No hard feelings about that--after all we did not have time to go tooling around Freeport or take off for Chicago. The rest of us just kept bumming rides.
I spent nine years at Aquin and lived with some very strong women in the convent. Most of you do not remember Sister Agnella, my first principal there. She was a short woman and I saw her one time jump up and slap a guy who was giving her some lip. Then Sr. Marie Celeste followed. She insisted that the girls cover their knees. Remember that? This was pre-TV days. Sr. Lucia who taught History came after school and buried herself in The Chicago Tribune. Most of the time I spent in Freeport, we took turns cooking. Our housekeeper was a bit temperamental and frequently boarded the bus to Sinsinawa. Oh well, get out the cook book.
When our cook left us we took over the kitchen; everybody got their turn. Skinny Sr. Robertia was a marvelous chef. She introduced me to German Chocolate Cake, made from scratch, three layers oozing with frosting. If you learned to type from Sr. Nathan, you undoubtedly did not get any of her doughnuts, a Saturday specialty. I don't remember Sr. John Mary's specialty, but everybody always said she was SWEET, AND SHE WAS. No one ever said that about me. They probably saw declensions and conjugations and French fish mouth when I appeared.
Fortunately for me, the Russians sent up Sputnik and my next adventure began with the study of Russian. I left for Georgetown University to study Russian language, literature and linguistics. I was in the Soviet Union watching Neil Armstrong bouncing up and down on the moon. All classes were stopped and we gathered around a tiny TV. I went to Rosary College to teach, but the national psyche changed and interest in foreign languages waned and I could not keep the department alive.
I packed my bags again and sojourned in Kansas, Oklahoma, Far West Texas and Central Texas in Austin, where I ministered as a hospital chaplain.
Four of the Aquin Sinsinawa Dominicans left religious life. Sr. Alphonsus Liguori, senior English and later principal, married the former Fr. Earl Ambre, superintendent. They carried on many good works as Peace Corps members in Africa and the Caribbean area. They finally settled in Phoenix, AZ where Earl died from cancer. Joan Ambre lives in a retirement community and is in poor health.
The former Sr. Winifred Tracy, now Elaine Tracy, chemistry teacher, was offered a position at Notre Dame University counseling chem majors. She is now retired and living in South Bend, IN.
Sr. Robertia Urban, by Baptism Virginia, was a gifted music teacher and also taught English. Perhaps her poor health prompted her to leave us. She became a housekeeper for a priest and I bet he had a hard time keeping his weight down.
I remember Sr. Augustus, history teacher, Barbara Bourbon, young, bored, coming over to the gym to help us decorate. She needed more interaction and came looking for it, but I don't think we answered her needs. She moved back to Washington, DC and kept in contact with me for a period of time, but that ended and I know nothing of her whereabouts now.
And we must not forget Sr. John Eudes, senior English teacher, who is very much alive. She has turned her talents to pottery and makes some exquisite pieces.
Sr. Marie Celeste, principal, is living at the Mound and keeps the Sisters informed of what is happening throughout the community with a newsletter called The Grapevine.
128 Sinsinawa Dominicans came to teach at Aquin in Freeport, Illinois. The archives at the Motherhouse indicate that the first Sisters came in 1923 and Sr. John Fisher left in l980. That represents 480 years of endeavor.
Did we leave a Dominican mark on you? Are you an earnest Christian, a civic minded citizen, a caring and disciplined parent, a person conscious of the need to reach out to others? Then the 480 years we spent at Aquin have not been in vain.
Sr. M. Sigrid, O.P.
(from Pat Downing-Vallarta)
Forty-seven students graduated from Aquin in 1957. Seven of the 47 have gone home - Nick Andrus, Mike Sieber, Ed Steffan, Jerry Cassidy, Joe Lamm, Jim Marten and Lynn Jensen.
For those who are here, just in case your memory is getting fuzzy, I am going to remind you of a few major events in your life.
What was happening when you were born?
To begin - your life expectancy was 62 years !!!!
Franklin Roosevelt was President.
The first Social Security checks went out.
The first freeway opened in Los Angeles.
Gone with the Wind premiered.
Wages averaged 30 cents an hour.
A new house was $6550 and a new car cost $800.
And before you would start grade school . . .
Kaiser became the first HMO.
Now you are in grade school - what is happening?
I Love Lucy premieres.
Fibber McGee and Molly are on the radio.
Now you are off to Aquin High School.
Tuition is about $40.
Dwight Eisenhower is President.
The Tonight Show is hosted by Steve Allen.
Rosa Parks incites a Bus Boycott.
Jonas Salk develops polio vaccine.
James Dean is killed in a car accident.
Rock and roll music enters the mainstream and Elvis Presley rises to fame.
Now it is 1957, we are thinking about graduation.
The Soviets launch Sputnik.
The Brooklyn Dodgers move to Los Angeles.
People are now making $1/hour.
A new car costs $2100 and Ford introduces the Edsel.
Now we’ve graduated.
Alaska and Hawaii become states.
John Kennedy, a Catholic is elected US President.
John Glenn orbits the Earth.
Seat belts in cars are recommended.
The women's liberation movement begins.
President Kennedy is assassinated.
The Beatles appear on The Ed Sullivan Show,
The Civil Rights Act outlaws discrimination.
Medicare is enacted.
The Green Bay packers win the first Super Bowl.
Neil Armstrong walks on the Moon.
President Nixon becomes the first President to resign.
Elvis Presley dies.
Sandra Day O'Connor becomes first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.
There is an awareness of AIDS with the death of Rock Hudson.
O. J. Simpson is acquitted of murder.
EBay is founded.
Viagra is produced.
The millennium nears and we prepare for the Y2K bug in computers.
September 11th, terrorists kill 3,000 people. All civilian air traffic is suspended for 3 days.
Barack Obama becomes the first African-American President..
Osama bin Laden is killed.
World’s tallest building is completed in Dubai with over 160 floors.
Queen Elizabeth marks her 60th anniversary as queen.
Curiosity explores Mars.
Aquin High School enrollment is 111 and tuition is $4848.
Salaries are averaging $57,000.
A new car costs $30, 000 and gas is $4/gallon.
Someone born in 2012 has a good chance of living to 100.
So that has been a bit of trivia . . . and if you don’t remember this by tomorrow, no problem. You can just GOOGLE it.
(from Nancy Fishe Robertson)
Wow, all that in 70 some years!
It seems to have gone by sooo fast. So how did Freeport and Aquin participate in all those changes? 1954 to 1957 was a time for working and most of us had a part-time job when we turned 16. The guys had many opportunities: Freeport Hotel, gas stations, drug stores, and the newspaper. A few of the jobs for the girls were in the hospitals and the phone company. And some of us were brave enough and crazy enough to detassel corn.
Many of the girls worked for the phone company. In 1957, when you wanted to call someone, you called the operator and gave her the number you wanted and she would plug you into that number. If you were in a rural area, you were designated a certain ring. There was a long ring and a short ring or a combination of the two. So when the phone rang, you would listen to determine if it was your call or somebody else’s. Other people would also be listening to determine if it was their call. In other words, it wasn’t very private. Fortunately, the phone company hired many Aquin students because we were trustworthy and hard working.
We started with the wall phone that had a handle on the side to ring someone up. Then came the rotary phone on the wall or desk. From the rotary came the push button and then the Princess phone in all kinds of colors. A car/mobile phone device was fitted into our automobiles. The first hand-held cell phone call was made in 1973. At the same time, cable offered Voice over Internet Protocol. All systems are becoming smaller and more intelligent. The latest being the iPhone 5.
And what about the camera? We started with the Kodak Brownie with film that produced black & white pictures. Then color came along. The Polaroid came out when we were in grade school – instant pictures. Real photographers only used 35 millimeter cameras with changeable lenses. Finally, we wanted simple point-and-shoot digital cameras.
Aren’t we fortunate to be living during the Information Age? The IBM Mainframe came out in 1952, but most of us couldn’t really relate. It required a temperature-controlled room and a raised floor to function. The mini-computer was developed and along with it a new term 'multi-tasking'. Bill Gates said that every home would have a computer. Subsequently, the laptop came along and everything keeps getting smaller.
With the computer came applications like email, facebook, twitter and linkedin. Our facebook was going to the JERC and talking face-to-face or dancing face-to-face. Or going to Roy’s Fountain and sitting in a booth drinking a soda, face-to-face.
Now we have the computer, the camera, and the phone all in one small device. When we travel, we no longer carry our laptops, cameras and phones. We only need an iPhone, and we have everything necessary to stay connected. Can you believe all this and much more came about during our lifetime?
Here is a little history for us. Aquin opened in 1923 with 30 students in St Mary’s and was called Freeport Catholic Community High School. The name was changed to Aquin in 1924. The first graduating class was in 1927 - 30 years before we graduated. The class of 1943 decided they needed a mascot and held a contest for suggestions. The Bulldog was selected – it was their tenacity of purpose that won the name.
Here at Aquin, we learned pride. Pride in ourselves, pride in Aquin, and pride in our country. We also learned the value of tradition. Remember the first day you walked through Aquin’s front door? I do. I remember that I thought it was so cool! After all we had waited 3 years. Or how about no uniforms the first and the last month of school? The best tradition of all was the Junior/Senior prom date selection. It is my understanding that each class currently has the opportunity to choose if they want to continue the tradition or not, and so far they have continued. Can you imagine using the latest technology, like texting, to accept the date instead of face-to-face? The screaming and hollering is part of the experience. I’ve told some of my friends about the whole tradition. At first they think I’m kidding, but the more I explain the process, the more they realize it’s an ingenious idea. The tradition was started especially for the kids in the orphanage that was across the street from Aquin. Every junior and senior has the opportunity to go to the prom. I have never heard of any other school that has that tradition. Aquin is unique.
So, let’s lift our glasses to our uniqueness and to the 1957 Aquin Graduating Class. Hurrah!!!
12th Annual Combined Reunion . 9.24.11
Dear Friends and Classmates:
A BULLDOG, as defined on Google, is kind and courageous but has a slow learning curve. All bulldogs have wrinkled faces and develop major arthritis. All bulldog males are an abject failure in love compared to other breeds. Good evening all you Bulldogs.
GREETINGS. It’s great to be here with you tonight. It’s been 50 years since we graduated from this small, co-ed school in the heartland, Aquin Central Catholic. It seems like yesterday. We all have been on our own life journey. We’ve all had good times and we’ve all had some road bumps along the way. Some are no longer with us, but not forgotten. I’m certain they are here in spirit.
Looking back on our high school experience, certainly we all agree that we shared a very special time, as the CLASS of 1961.
Consider that we came here as 13 and 14 year olds full of excitement and yet apprehension. We came as children and left as adults.
At the TIME, our country was at peace. The traditions of family and church were strong. Our parents, mostly veterans of World War II, were part of the GREATEST GENERATION.
THE LATE FIFTIES were a time of great optimism and yet a time of innocence. It was prior to the Vietnam War, prior to the drug era, and prior to the so-called 'sexual revolution'. Growing up seemed easier then.
Partaking in DRUGS at that time meant sneaking a cigarette or, God forbid, an occasional beer.
Unless I was missing something, the closest we got to SEX was slow dancing, holding hands, or a stolen kiss. How lucky we were.
ACADEMICALLY, we as students were still required to take math, science, and language. The SAT exam meant an announcement on Wednesday that a college entrance exam would be given two days later on Friday. THERE WAS NO PREPARATION OTHER THAN THE COURSES WE HAD BEEN TAKING.
As I recall, as a result of that SAT exam, there were 6 out of 63, or 10% of our class, who received National Merit recognition. Additionally, some of our classmates would go on to nationally competitive, prestigious universities such as GEORGETOWN and the U.S. NAVAL ACADEMY. Some of us to this day have graduates from Harvard, Yale, and the Mayo Clinic asking us for jobs.
Apparently that little band of DOMINICAN NUNS who taught us knew what they were doing.
ATHLETICALLY, lead by Coach DeShriver in all sports, we became a small school power in track, basketball, and especially football. What a great undefeated, senior football season led by the leading scorer in the state of Illinois. That football tradition that we started continues 50 years later.
PROM. Who can forget the fun and excitement of that Aquin tradition of drawing for a prom date. How about exchanging dance cards. This PROM tradition continues today and was recently feted on Good Morning America. Thank you girls for being such great sports.
GAMES. How about those post game celebrations at Barcie’s Pizza Parlor. Win, lose, or draw we gave great support to each other. I’m certain that Barcie’s Pizza was the blueprint for the TV series Happy Days.
And HAPPY DAYS they were as we grew up together sharing, challenging, encouraging, and inspiring each other to become more than we otherwise would have been. Congratulations you Aquin Bulldogs.
It’s a privilege to be back here tonight and it’s an honor to share these thoughts with you, my dear classmates.
Especially thank you for the friendships we developed and the memories that we share from that GOLDEN long ago.
God bless you all.