News and Observations from Wapella, Illinois: Home of the Wildcats.

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wapella Academics: A pre-Wildcat History.

Received an email from a friend in Connecticut who is a Knight of Columbus (KC) suggesting Sainthood for a Nun who started the school pictured here, Mallinckrodt Academy, named for Blessed Pauline von Mallinckrodt who started the school in 1915 in Wilmette, Illinois, where I live now.

This got me thinking about these type of institutions, sort of a High School, sort of a Junior College that existed in the US in the early 1900's. Some of them were just about orphan homes, with some good qualities typically ignored by the historians (as well as the documented bad qualities). Others were finishing schools for country schools, and a gateway to a full fledged University.

WHS had it's first graduating class for a 3 year high school in 1917 (correct me if I am wrong), which I think was the year my grandfather Ed Powers graduated. He went to finishing school on the battlefields of France, but also was able to attend St. Bede's Academy in Peru, Illinois at some point. My Uncle Robert Donovan taught at St. Bede's as well.

My Aunt, Madeline Powers (Kelly) went to St. Joseph's (check that name) Academy in Bloomington, which was a girls school located next to Holy Trinity Church, perhaps Holy Trinity High (Central Catholic) was not co-ed at that time. There was also a St. Mary's school associated with Holy Trinity, which was not the same as St. Mary's Church on the West Side.

Kankakee had a St. Viattor's, alma mater of Abp. Fulton Sheen of El Paso, Illinois, now the home of Olivet Nazarene. There must have been others that I am not listing or remembering in Ottawa-Marquette, Peoria, Decatur. Clinton, of course, had St. John's Parochial School, which had more than a few Wapella youth in attendance, though it was more like a grade school or junior high than an academy (or am I mixed up?)

Anyway, looking for some input here on others who made the trek to the glories of Kankakee and Peru to finish their education. I suspect more Wildcats went to Ypres, Bataan, and Inchon than ever made it to an Academy, but nonetheless, would be nice to know, if our grand Wildcat public had some rememberance of these types of institutions.

Hat Tip to the Veeman for historical info on Illinois High Schools. One of the best sites on the internet, bar none, for research on Wapella related educational issues.


Veeman said...

Looks as though you've been looking at the Illinois High School Glory Days site, given the names of the schools you've mentioned. Thanks for the free publicity!

EEP said...

Good article. My Grandmother likely went to the same school in Bloomington (St. Joseph's) and my Dad attended St. John's in Clinton for 1 (maybe 2) years before they closed it, along with a cast of revered Wapella folks (Toohill's, Powers', Gaherty's, Schmid's, etc.)

No attendees in Peru, though, unless my Uncle Jim (Ryan) or some of the Carroll's, Gibbon's or O'Neill's passed though there, which could be likely...

JBP said...

Hat Tip to the Veeman for historical info on Illinois High Schools. One of the best sites on the internet, bar none, for research on Wapella related educational issues.

Anonymous said...

Plenty of St. John's grads around to give you dates and information. Contact James Hull or Gerald F Ryan for details.

JV Ryan attended St. Bede's briefly as well.

By the way, it is St. Viator, with one T, in K3. Used to drive by the old school twice a week on the job.


Anonymous said...

The class of 84 could have gone to St. John's for kindergarten. But it closed the year after, so no 1st grade for them there.

Did RJT go there?

Anonymous said...

John Leo Walsh Notre Dame also the late Verlin Ryan

ATD said...

Went to St. John's, Clinton, Illinois all eight years and traveled to St. Bede's for annual piano contest. Several male cousins attended for first two years of college.

Years ago I would meet alum's from St.Viattor's and the minute they heard my maiden name would start in about Marty Toohill, their tall redheaded classmate who was a notorious basketball player.

JBP said...


Would Marty Toohill be Norine Toohill Maier's father?


ATD said...

The Marty Toohill in question here was Norrine's brother. He was the son of Martin and Jane Toohill. Martin,Sr. was a brother to Ed Toohill and Annie Toohill Powers.

Anonymous said...

Norine's game was sort of a jump hook, like Elgin Baylor if I recall.

Anonymous said...

No - RJT didn't go there. It was a parking lot in 1971. JBP should know that,as he was the first Kindergarden class out of WHS under Elsie Kaufman. ATD should know the last class at St. Johns (Year/People) RJT

ATD said...

St.John's in Clinton, IL functioned as a grade school from 1915 to 1968. The revered Wapella folks parted company around 1960. The building was demolished in 1983.

Jean said...

Clinton School System rented classrooms from St John's for kindergarten for a couple of years. Daughter Mary Kay attended there but not son CDT.

Anonymous said...

CDT would probably be a Cardinal, maybe even the pontiff, had St John's stayed open. That boy had theology written all over him.

Jose Ratzinger

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Kaufman, God rest her soul, is not responsible for JBP's aberrant behavior.

Horace Mann

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