Rah Rah Rah for St. Therese.

I stepped back into my childhood a few weeks ago and I didn’t do it alone.

Just as I rounded my grade school stairs, I spotted three of my old friends standing at the top — Carol, Jeannie and Ann. We’d all come to St. Therese for a final walk-through of the building, which is slated to be torn down this fall.

Even though I’m a member of St. Therese Parish and have been in the old school building a number of times in the years since I graduated, I still hear the echoes of my youth as I walk through those halls. They even smell the same if I breathe in deeply enough — the bread-bag-stuffed snow boots being yanked off on the floor of the old school hall, the white chalk dust clapped between two erasers, those lovely old books that used to crowd the library, the wood pencil shavings, the purple ink on the mimeograph paper.

I can close my eyes and picture us all lined up for lunch with our fingers crossed because, even though we had to eat the fish sticks I loathed almost every Friday, sometimes we had grilled cheese and tomato soup and those were delicious. The best lunches included homemade cream puffs with fresh Wisconsin whipped cream and I couldn’t believe how lucky we were to score those on our trays.

I remember four square games on the playground and dodgeball in the gym. We had a weird dress code back then and girls could only wear pants if their tops came down past their bottoms. Dresses had to hang longer than the end of our hands. The result, as I recall, had us all looking like a cross between various cast members of The Electric Company and Little House on the Prairie.

Once a week, we left our classrooms and marched down one staircase, through a tunnel, and up another to attend our weekly masses and on those days we were supposed to look extra sharp.

No one loved their grade school experience more than my sister Kathy, whose first grade teacher got married toward the end of the year and invited all those squirrelly little six-year olds to her wedding. Then, even better, she taught them all again in third grade with a brand new last name. Kathy liked her teachers so much she became one.

It was fun to walk through that old school one last time with Kathy, too.

We moved to Appleton from Green Bay in November of my second-grade year and I was a very shy kid. So, I also have fond memories of my first teacher at St. Therese, Mrs. Rossmeissl, who assigned me to an outgoing bossypants named Jeannie, still my lifelong friend.

I understand the need to tear down that old school building. It was drafty, not accessible, and not up to code. But I also spent five formative years there, so I really appreciated the opportunity to say good bye.

Thanks for the memories, St. Therese Grade School. I can still sing the old fight song:

St. Theres-a hats off to thee.

To our colors true we will ever be

Firm and strong united are we.

Rah Rah Rah for St. Therese.

Rah Rah Rah for St. Therese.

Rah for our dear old school. Hey!

We ran into the Strobl family when we first arrived. Jenny Strobl was one of the famous three Jennys from the sixth grade class of 1983, which also included Jenny Kostelnik and Jenny Bergman.
At least one of the three Jennys was kind of a handful, but they all three had a great experience at St. Therese.
Grade school bubblers crack me up.
Kathy LOVED this classroom and her sixth grade teacher Miss Kolb.
Notes left in the principal’s office.
Jeannie left me a note. I was assigned to her in 1972.
We made our First Communions that year too. (I see my First Communion ensemble just makes the dress-below-your-hand requirement. My wingspan was a lot shorter back then.)
These were some of my grade school pals and it was really cool to see them standing there when I walked up the stairs.
Jeannie, Ann and I are all in this sixth grade class photo. Can you spot us?
I spent many mornings lined up outside these doors. It was good to walk through them one last time.

5 thoughts on “Rah Rah Rah for St. Therese.

  1. You’re on the bottom full row of the picture next to the boy with the blonde hair? Love the water fountain. Hard returning to our old schools — so full of memories!

  2. Thank you Laura for such a great story about your days at St. Therese. As part of the reunion committee I am happy you attended our event and had a good time with your friends.
    Mary Dexheimer
    STS class of 1969
    Member of the last 8th grade class

  3. That must’ve been a nice walk down memory lane with your sister and friends. I did this several years ago at my old elementary and junior high school—all one campus! It’s fun to go back to where it all began. I love the photo by the fountain—you’ve grown a few inches taller!

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